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screen scraping – PHP CSS Selector Library?

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


Is there a PHP class/library that would allow me to query an XHTML document with CSS selectors? I need to scrape some pages for data that is very easily accessible if I could somehow use CSS selectors (jQuery has spoiled me!). Any ideas?

How to&Answers:

After Googling further (initial results weren’t very helpful), it seems there is actually a Zend Framework library for this, along with some others:


XPath is a fairly standard way to access XML (and XHTML) nodes, and provides much more precision than CSS.


Another one:


A great one is a component of symfony 2, CssSelector\Parser­Introduction. It converts CSS selectors into XPath expressions. Take a look =)

Source code


For jQuery users most interesting may be port of jQuery to PHP, which is phpQuery. Almost all sections of the library are ported. Additionally it contains WebBrowser plugin, which can be used for Web Scraping whole site’s path/processes (eg accessing data available after logging in). It simply simulates web browser on the server (events and cookies too). Latest versions has experimental support for XML namespaces and CSS3 “|” selector.


I ended up using PHP Query Lite, it’s very simple and has all I need.


For document parsing I use DOM. This can quite easily solve your problem if you know the tag name (in this example “div”):

 $doc = new DOMDocument();

 $elements = $doc->getElementsByTagName("div");
 foreach ($elements as $e){
  if ($e->getAttribute("class")!="someclass") continue;

  //its a div.classname

Not sure if DOM lets you get all elements of a document at once… you might have to do a tree traversal.


I wrote mine, based on Mootools CSS selector engine http://selectors.svn.exyks.org/. it rely on simplexml extension ability (so, it’s read-only)