Renderless Scrapers

Apart from the standard headless-chrome based scrapers, Ayakashi also supports renderless scrapers.
Renderless scrapers are like classic html parsing scrapers and do not run any javascript or render dynamic pages.
They have some super powers though, like full access to domQL and the extraction API.

Renderless scrapers are perfect for pages that are either not dynamic or somehow pre-rendered on the server and can be fetched in their entirety in a single request.
They are also a magnitude faster than standard scrapers since they don’t have to load any resources or run any javascript.

So, before reaching for a standard scraper, take a look in the page’s source (with view-source) to see if everything you need is there. If the html contains everything you need and you also don’t need to perform any dynamic page manipulation (like clicking things, scrolling etc) then renderless scrapers can be the perfect (and much faster!) alternative.

Table of contents

Generating and running a renderless scraper

You can generate a renderless scraper by running the following command either in a new project or an existing project:

ayakashi new --renderlessScraper --name=myScraper

The following file will be generated:

/**
* @param {import("@ayakashi/types").IRenderlessAyakashiInstance} ayakashi
*/
module.exports = async function(ayakashi, input, params) {
    await ayakashi.load(input.page);
    ayakashi
        .select("about")
        .where({itemprop: {eq: "about"}});

    return ayakashi.extract("about");
};

You will notice the code is pretty much the same as the normal scrapers we built in previous sections.
The only difference is that instead of the .goTo() method we use the load() method.

Then let’s register our renderless scraper in our config:

/**
* @type {import("@ayakashi/types").Config}
*/
module.exports = {
    config: {},
    waterfall: [{
        type: "script",
        module: "getPage"
    }, {
        type: "renderlessScraper",
        module: "myScraper"
    }, {
        type: "script",
        module: "printToConsole"
    }]
};

The only difference here, is that renderless scrapers have a type of renderlessScraper instead of scraper in our pipeline.

And then run it as normal:

ayakashi run

What’s available in a renderless scraper

Renderless scrapers have full access to domQL and can use the extraction API as normal.
They also support retries and the yield() methods.
Basically, the only thing they can’t do is use the dynamic core actions available in normal scrapers.

A note about style domQL queries

One final caveat of renderless scrapers is that they won’t be able to find matches with domQL style queries if the style rule is defined in an external stylesheet (since external resources are not available).
Inline styles or styles defined in <style> tags inside the document will work fine.