This document describes the architecture of Scrapy and how its components interact.
The following diagram shows an overview of the Scrapy architecture with its components and an outline of the data flow that takes place inside the system (shown by the red arrows). A brief description of the components is included below with links for more detailed information about them. The data flow is also described below.
The data flow in Scrapy is controlled by the execution engine, and goes like this:
The process repeats (from step 3) until there are no more requests from the Scheduler.
The engine is responsible for controlling the data flow between all components of the system, and triggering events when certain actions occur. See the Data Flow section above for more details.
The scheduler receives requests from the engine and enqueues them for feeding them later (also to the engine) when the engine requests them.
The Downloader is responsible for fetching web pages and feeding them to the engine which, in turn, feeds them to the spiders.
The Item Pipeline is responsible for processing the items once they have been extracted (or scraped) by the spiders. Typical tasks include cleansing, validation and persistence (like storing the item in a database). For more information see Item Pipeline.
Downloader middlewares are specific hooks that sit between the Engine and the Downloader and process requests when they pass from the Engine to the Downloader, and responses that pass from Downloader to the Engine.
Use a Downloader middleware if you need to do one of the following:
process a request just before it is sent to the Downloader (i.e. right before Scrapy sends the request to the website);
change received response before passing it to a spider;
send a new Request instead of passing received response to a spider;
pass response to a spider without fetching a web page;
silently drop some requests.
For more information see Downloader Middleware.
Spider middlewares are specific hooks that sit between the Engine and the Spiders and are able to process spider input (responses) and output (items and requests).
Use a Spider middleware if you need to
post-process output of spider callbacks - change/add/remove requests or items;
handle spider exceptions;
call errback instead of callback for some of the requests based on response content.
For more information see Spider Middleware.
Scrapy is written with Twisted, a popular event-driven networking framework for Python. Thus, it’s implemented using a non-blocking (aka asynchronous) code for concurrency.
For more information about asynchronous programming and Twisted see these links: