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Course Content

Web Scraping with Python

Opening HTML FileOpening HTML File

Now that you're acquainted with the fundamental aspects of HTML, let's explore the initial method of working with it in Python.

One of the modules you can employ to handle HTML files in Python is urllib.request. You'll need to import the urlopen method to access web pages. Simply provide the URL of the page you wish to open as a parameter to this method.

As seen in the example above, you receive an http.client.HTTPResponse object as a result, which differs from what we intended. To obtain the HTML structure, you should apply the .read() and .decode("utf-8") methods to the object you've acquired.


The decode("utf-8") part is used to convert the raw binary data into a human-readable string, assuming that the webpage's content is encoded using UTF-8. This conversion enables us to work with the text data contained in the webpage in a meaningful manner, such as parsing or analyzing its content.

As a result of applying the .read() and .decode() methods, you obtain a string. This string contains the HTML structure in a well-formatted manner, making it easily readable and allowing you to apply string methods to it.

If the .decode() method weren't applied, you would receive a bytes object with the entire HTML page represented as a single string with specific characters. Feel free to experiment with it!

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Section 1. Chapter 8