Postlight Parser

Extract meaningful content from the chaos of a web page


Postlight Parser - Extracting content from chaos

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Postlight's Parser extracts the bits that humans care about from any URL you give it. That includes article content, titles, authors, published dates, excerpts, lead images, and more.

Postlight Parser powers Postlight Reader, a browser extension that removes ads and distractions, leaving only text and images for a beautiful reading view on any site.

Postlight Parser allows you to easily create custom parsers using simple JavaScript and CSS selectors. This allows you to proactively manage parsing and migration edge cases. There are many examples available along with documentation.

How? Like this.


  1. ``` sh
  2. # If you're using yarn
  3. yarn add @postlight/parser

  4. # If you're using npm
  5. npm install @postlight/parser
  6. ```


  1. ``` js
  2. import Parser from '@postlight/parser';

  3. Parser.parse(url).then(result => console.log(result));

  4. // NOTE: When used in the browser, you can omit the URL argument
  5. // and simply run `Parser.parse()` to parse the current page.
  6. ```

The result looks like this:

  1. ``` json
  2. {
  3.   "title": "Thunder (mascot)",
  4.   "content": "... <p><b>Thunder</b> is the <a href=\"\">stage name</a> for the...",
  5.   "author": "Wikipedia Contributors",
  6.   "date_published": "2016-09-16T20:56:00.000Z",
  7.   "lead_image_url": null,
  8.   "dek": null,
  9.   "next_page_url": null,
  10.   "url": "",
  11.   "domain": "",
  12.   "excerpt": "Thunder Thunder is the stage name for the horse who is the official live animal mascot for the Denver Broncos",
  13.   "word_count": 4677,
  14.   "direction": "ltr",
  15.   "total_pages": 1,
  16.   "rendered_pages": 1
  17. }
  18. ```

If Parser is unable to find a field, that field will return null.

parse() Options

Content Formats

By default, Postlight Parser returns the content field as HTML. However, you can override this behavior by passing in options to the parse function, specifying whether or not to scrape all pages of an article, and what type of output to return (valid values are 'html', 'markdown', and 'text'). For example:

  1. ``` js
  2. Parser.parse(url, { contentType: 'markdown' }).then(result =>
  3.   console.log(result)
  4. );
  5. ```

This returns the the page's content as GitHub-flavored Markdown:

  1. ``` json
  2. "content": "...**Thunder** is the [stage name]( for the..."
  3. ```

Custom Request Headers

You can include custom headers in requests by passing name-value pairs to the parse function as follows:

  1. ``` js
  2. Parser.parse(url, {
  3.   headers: {
  4.     Cookie: 'name=value; name2=value2; name3=value3',
  5.     'User-Agent':
  6.       'Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 10_3_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/603.1.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0 Mobile/14E304 Safari/602.1',
  7.   },
  8. }).then(result => console.log(result));
  9. ```

Pre-fetched HTML

You can use Postlight Parser to parse custom or pre-fetched HTML by passing an HTML string to the parse function as follows:

  1. ``` js
  2. Parser.parse(url, {
  3.   html:
  4.     '<html><body><article><h1>Thunder (mascot)</h1><p>Thunder is the stage name for the horse who is the official live animal mascot for the Denver Broncos</p></article></body></html>',
  5. }).then(result => console.log(result));
  6. ```

Note that the URL argument is still supplied, in order to identify the web site and use its custom parser, if it has any, though it will not be used for fetching content.

The command-line parser

Postlight Parser also ships with a CLI, meaning you can use it from your command line like so:

Postlight Parser CLI Basic Usage

  1. ``` sh
  2. # Install Postlight Parser globally
  3. yarn global add @postlight/parser
  4. #  or
  5. npm -g install @postlight/parser

  6. # Then
  7. postlight-parser

  8. # Pass optional --format argument to set content type (html|markdown|text)
  9. postlight-parser --format=markdown

  10. # Pass optional arguments to include custom headers in the request
  11. postlight-parser --header.Cookie="name=value; name2=value2; name3=value3" --header.User-Agent="Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 10_3_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/603.1.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0 Mobile/14E304 Safari/602.1"

  12. # Pass optional --extend argument to add a custom type to the response
  13. postlight-parser --extend credit="p:last-child em"

  14. # Pass optional --extend-list argument to add a custom type with multiple matches
  15. postlight-parser --extend-list categories=".meta__tags-list a"

  16. # Get the value of attributes by adding a pipe to --extend or --extend-list
  17. postlight-parser --extend-list links=".body a|href"

  18. # Pass optional --add-extractor argument to add a custom extractor at runtime.
  19. postlight-parser --add-extractor ./src/extractors/fixtures/
  20. ```


Licensed under either of the below, at your preference:

- Apache License, Version 2.0
- MIT license


For details on how to contribute to Postlight Parser, including how to write a custom content extractor for any site, see

Unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above without any additional terms or conditions.

🔬 A Labs project from your friends at Postlight. Happy coding!