Item Pipeline

After an item has been scraped by a spider, it is sent to the Item Pipeline which process it through several components that are executed sequentially.

Each item pipeline component (sometimes referred as just “Item Pipeline”) is a Python class that implements a simple method. They receive an Item and perform an action over it, also deciding if the Item should continue through the pipeline or be dropped and no longer processed.

Typical use for item pipelines are:

  • cleansing HTML data
  • validating scraped data (checking that the items contain certain fields)
  • checking for duplicates (and dropping them)
  • storing the scraped item in a database

Writing your own item pipeline

Writing your own item pipeline is easy. Each item pipeline component is a single Python class that must implement the following method:

process_item(item, spider)

This method is called for every item pipeline component and must either return a Item (or any descendant class) object or raise a DropItem exception. Dropped items are no longer processed by further pipeline components.

  • item (Item object) – the item scraped
  • spider (BaseSpider object) – the spider which scraped the item

Additionally, they may also implement the following methods:


This method is called when the spider is opened.

Parameters:spider (BaseSpider object) – the spider which was opened

This method is called when the spider is closed.

Parameters:spider (BaseSpider object) – the spider which was closed

Item pipeline example

Price validation and dropping items with no prices

Let’s take a look at the following hypothetic pipeline that adjusts the price attribute for those items that do not include VAT (price_excludes_vat attribute), and drops those items which don’t contain a price:

from scrapy.exceptions import DropItem

class PricePipeline(object):

    vat_factor = 1.15

    def process_item(self, item, spider):
        if item['price']:
            if item['price_excludes_vat']:
                item['price'] = item['price'] * self.vat_factor
            return item
            raise DropItem("Missing price in %s" % item)

Write items to a JSON file

The following pipeline stores all scraped items (from all spiders) into a a single items.jl file, containing one item per line serialized in JSON format:

import json

class JsonWriterPipeline(object):

    def __init__(self):
        self.file = open('items.jl', 'wb')

    def process_item(self, item, spider):
        line = json.dumps(dict(item)) + "\n"
        return item


The purpose of JsonWriterPipeline is just to introduce how to write item pipelines. If you really want to store all scraped items into a JSON file you should use the Feed exports.

Activating an Item Pipeline component

To activate an Item Pipeline component you must add its class to the ITEM_PIPELINES list, like in the following example:


Item pipeline example with resources per spider

Sometimes you need to keep resources about the items processed grouped per spider, and delete those resource when a spider finishes.

An example is a filter that looks for duplicate items, and drops those items that were already processed. Let say that our items have an unique id, but our spider returns multiples items with the same id:

from scrapy.xlib.pydispatch import dispatcher
from scrapy import signals
from scrapy.exceptions import DropItem

class DuplicatesPipeline(object):
    def __init__(self):
        self.duplicates = {}
        dispatcher.connect(self.spider_opened, signals.spider_opened)
        dispatcher.connect(self.spider_closed, signals.spider_closed)

    def spider_opened(self, spider):
        self.duplicates[spider] = set()

    def spider_closed(self, spider):
        del self.duplicates[spider]

    def process_item(self, item, spider):
        if item['id'] in self.duplicates[spider]:
            raise DropItem("Duplicate item found: %s" % item)
            return item