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Beautiful Soup Tag | string property

Programming
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Python
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Beautiful Soup
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Documentation
schedule Mar 10, 2022
Last updated
local_offer PythonBeautiful Soup
Tags

In Beautiful Soup, the string property returns a NavigableString object, which is similar to a typical Python string with additional helper methods and properties to navigate around the HTML document.

To demonstrate how to use the string property, here's a toy HTML document:

my_html = """
   <div>
      <p>Alice</p>
      <p>Bob</p>
      <p id="cathy"></p>
   </div>
"""
soup = BeautifulSoup(my_html)

Examples

To get the text Alice:

soup.find("p").string
'Alice'

If you want to convert this to a standard Python string, simply use str(~) like so:

str(soup.find("p").string)
'Alice'

Case when there are multiple children

When a tag has multiple child elements, then a None is returned:

soup.find("div").string
None

In our HTML document, the root div tag contains 3 p tags, so this is why a None was returned.

Case when there is no inner content

When a tag is empty, then a None is returned:

soup.find(id="cathy").string
None

Note that an empty string "" is not returned.

Converting to standard Python strings

To convert Beautiful Soup's NavigableString to a standard Python string, use the native str(~) method like so:

x_nav = soup.find("p").string
x = str(x_nav)
x
'Alice'

Let's compare their types:

print("before:", type(x_nav))
print("after:", type(x))
before: <class 'bs4.element.NavigableString'>
after: <class 'str'>
WARNING

The potential for memory leaks when using NavigableString

NavigableString holds a reference to the Beautiful Soup library. This means that the system will not be able to free memory even after you finish using Beautiful Soup if you keep hold of NavigableStrings. In order to ensure that memory leaks like this won't happen, convert the final NavigableString to standard Python strings.

robocat
Published by Isshin Inada
Edited by 0 others
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