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When Nokogiri fails: Web Driver to the rescue

As I mentioned in my previous post I wanted to add televised games to my football graph and the Premier League website seemed like the best case to find out which games those were.

I initially tried to use Nokogiri to grab the data that I wanted…

> require 'nokogiri'
> require 'open-air'
> tv_times = Nokogiri::HTML(open('http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/matchday/broadcast-schedules.tv.html?rangeType=.dateSeason&country=GB&clubId=ALL&season=2012-2013&isLive=true'))

…but when I tried to query by CSS selector for all the matches nothing came back:

> tv_times.css(".broadcastschedule table.contentTable tbody tr")
=> []

I was a bit surprised but read somewhere that I should check if there were any errors while parsing the document. In fact there were quite a few!

> tv_times.errors
=> [#<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, #<Nokogiri::XML::SyntaxError: Element script embeds close tag>, ...]

I ran the document through the W3C markup validation service and it didn’t seem to find any problem with it.

Next I tried stripping out all the script tags using loofah before manually removing them but neither of those approaches helped.

I’ve previously used Web Driver to scrape web pages but I’d found that Nokogiri was much faster so I stopped using it.

Since my new library wasn’t playing ball I thought I’d quickly see if Web Driver was up to the challenge and indeed it was:

require "selenium-webdriver"
 
driver = Selenium::WebDriver.for :chrome
driver.navigate.to "http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/matchday/broadcast-schedules.tv.html?rangeType=.dateSeason&country=GB&clubId=ALL&season=2012-2013&isLive=true"
 
matches = driver.find_elements(:css, '.broadcastschedule table.contentTable tbody tr')
matches.each do|tr| 	
  match = tr.find_element(:css, "td.show a").text
  broadcaster = tr.find_element(:css, "td.broadcaster img").attribute("src")
  tv_channel = broadcaster.include?("sky-sports") ? "Sky" : "ESPN"
 
  puts "#{match},#{tv_channel}"
end
 
driver.quit


$ ruby tv_games.rb 
Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur,ESPN
Wigan Athletic vs Chelsea,Sky
Manchester City vs Southampton,Sky
Everton vs Manchester United,Sky
Swansea City vs West Ham United,Sky
Chelsea vs Newcastle United,ESPN
...

Ideally I’d like to use Nokogiri to do this job but it’s decided that the document is invalid and it can’t parse it properly so Web Driver is a pretty decent replacement I reckon!



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