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Gisle Aas


HTML::Parser - SGML parser class


 require HTML::Parser;
 $p = HTML::Parser->new;  # should really a be subclass
 $p->eof;                 # signal end of document

 # Parse directly from file
 # or
 open(F, "foo.html") || die;


The HTML::Parser will tokenize a HTML document when the $p->parse() method is called. The document to parse can be supplied in arbitrary chunks. Call $p->eof() the end of the document to flush any remaining text. The return value from parse() is a reference to the parser object.

The $p->parse_file() method can be called to parse text from a file. The argument can be a filename or an already opened file handle. The return value from parse_file() is a reference to the parser object.

In order to make the parser do anything interesting, you must make a subclass where you override one or more of the following methods as appropriate:


This method is called when a markup declaration has been recognized. For typical HTML documents, the only declaration you are likely to find is <!DOCTYPE ...>. The initial "<!" and ending ">" is not part of the string passed as argument. Comments are removed and entities have not been expanded yet.

$self->start($tag, $attr, $attrseq, $origtext)

This method is called when a complete start tag has been recognized. The first argument is the tag name (in lower case) and the second argument is a reference to a hash that contain all attributes found within the start tag. The attribute keys are converted to lower case. Entities found in the attribute values are already expanded. The third argument is a reference to an array with the lower case attribute keys in the original order. The fourth argument is the original HTML text.


This method is called when an end tag has been recognized. The argument is the lower case tag name.


This method is called when plain text in the document is recognized. The text is passed on unmodified and might contain multiple lines. Note that for efficiency reasons entities in the text are not expanded. You should call HTML::Entities::decode($text) before you process the text any further.


This method is called as comments are recognized. The leading and trailing "--" sequences have been stripped off the comment text.

The default implementation of these methods does nothing, i.e., the tokens are just ignored.

There is really nothing in the basic parser that is HTML specific, so it is likely that the parser can parse many kinds of SGML documents, but SGML has many obscure features (not implemented by this module) that prevent us from renaming this module as SGML::Parse.


You can instruct the parser to parse comments the way Netscape does it by calling the netscape_buggy_comment() method with a TRUE argument. This means that comments will always be terminated by the first occurence of "-->".


HTML::TreeBuilder, HTML::HeadParser, HTML::Entities


Copyright 1996 Gisle Aas. All rights reserved.

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


Gisle Aas <aas@sn.no>