Html Agility Pack get all elements by class

c# html html-agility-pack

Question

I am taking a stab at html agility pack and having trouble finding the right way to go about this.

For example:

var findclasses = _doc.DocumentNode.Descendants("div").Where(d => d.Attributes.Contains("class"));

However, obviously you can add classes to a lot more then divs so I tried this..

var allLinksWithDivAndClass = _doc.DocumentNode.SelectNodes("//*[@class=\"float\"]");

But that doesn't handle the cases where you add multiple classes and "float" is just one of them like this..

class="className float anotherclassName"

Is there a way to handle all of this? I basically want to select all nodes that have a class = and contains float.

**Answer has been documented on my blog with a full explanation at: Html Agility Pack Get All Elements by Class

Accepted Answer

(Updated 2018-03-17)

The problem:

The problem, as you've spotted, is that String.Contains does not perform a word-boundary check, so Contains("float") will return true for both "foo float bar" (correct) and "unfloating" (which is incorrect).

The solution is to ensure that "float" (or whatever your desired class-name is) appears alongside a word-boundary at both ends. A word-boundary is either the start (or end) of a string (or line), whitespace, certain punctuation, etc. In most regular-expressions this is \b. So the regex you want is simply: \bfloat\b.

A downside to using a Regex instance is that they can be slow to run if you don't use the .Compiled option - and they can be slow to compile. So you should cache the regex instance. This is more difficult if the class-name you're looking for changes at runtime.

Alternatively you can search a string for words by word-boundaries without using a regex by implementing the regex as a C# string-processing function, being careful not to cause any new string or other object allocation (e.g. not using String.Split).

Approach 1: Using a regular-expression:

Suppose you just want to look for elements with a single, design-time specified class-name:

class Program {

    private static readonly Regex _classNameRegex = new Regex( @"\bfloat\b", RegexOptions.Compiled );

    private static IEnumerable<HtmlNode> GetFloatElements(HtmlDocument doc) {
        return doc
            .Descendants()
            .Where( n => n.NodeType == NodeType.Element )
            .Where( e => e.Name == "div" && _classNameRegex.IsMatch( e.GetAttributeValue("class", "") ) );
    }
}

If you need to choose a single class-name at runtime then you can build a regex:

private static IEnumerable<HtmlNode> GetElementsWithClass(HtmlDocument doc, String className) {

    Regex regex = new Regex( "\\b" + Regex.Escape( className ) + "\\b", RegexOptions.Compiled );

    return doc
        .Descendants()
        .Where( n => n.NodeType == NodeType.Element )
        .Where( e => e.Name == "div" && regex.IsMatch( e.GetAttributeValue("class", "") ) );
}

If you have multiple class-names and you want to match all of them, you could create an array of Regex objects and ensure they're all matching, or combine them into a single Regex using lookarounds, but this results in horrendously complicated expressions - so using a Regex[] is probably better:

using System.Linq;

private static IEnumerable<HtmlNode> GetElementsWithClass(HtmlDocument doc, String[] classNames) {

    Regex[] exprs = new Regex[ classNames.Length ];
    for( Int32 i = 0; i < exprs.Length; i++ ) {
        exprs[i] = new Regex( "\\b" + Regex.Escape( classNames[i] ) + "\\b", RegexOptions.Compiled );
    }

    return doc
        .Descendants()
        .Where( n => n.NodeType == NodeType.Element )
        .Where( e =>
            e.Name == "div" &&
            exprs.All( r =>
                r.IsMatch( e.GetAttributeValue("class", "") )
            )
        );
}

Approach 2: Using non-regex string matching:

The advantage of using a custom C# method to do string matching instead of a regex is hypothetically faster performance and reduced memory usage (though Regex may be faster in some circumstances - always profile your code first, kids!)

This method below: CheapClassListContains provides a fast word-boundary-checking string matching function that can be used the same way as regex.IsMatch:

private static IEnumerable<HtmlNode> GetElementsWithClass(HtmlDocument doc, String className) {

    return doc
        .Descendants()
        .Where( n => n.NodeType == NodeType.Element )
        .Where( e =>
            e.Name == "div" &&
            CheapClassListContains(
                e.GetAttributeValue("class", ""),
                className,
                StringComparison.Ordinal
            )
        );
}

/// <summary>Performs optionally-whitespace-padded string search without new string allocations.</summary>
/// <remarks>A regex might also work, but constructing a new regex every time this method is called would be expensive.</remarks>
private static Boolean CheapClassListContains(String haystack, String needle, StringComparison comparison)
{
    if( String.Equals( haystack, needle, comparison ) ) return true;
    Int32 idx = 0;
    while( idx + needle.Length <= haystack.Length )
    {
        idx = haystack.IndexOf( needle, idx, comparison );
        if( idx == -1 ) return false;

        Int32 end = idx + needle.Length;

        // Needle must be enclosed in whitespace or be at the start/end of string
        Boolean validStart = idx == 0               || Char.IsWhiteSpace( haystack[idx - 1] );
        Boolean validEnd   = end == haystack.Length || Char.IsWhiteSpace( haystack[end] );
        if( validStart && validEnd ) return true;

        idx++;
    }
    return false;
}

Approach 3: Using a CSS Selector library:

HtmlAgilityPack is somewhat stagnated doesn't support .querySelector and .querySelectorAll, but there are third-party libraries that extend HtmlAgilityPack with it: namely Fizzler and CssSelectors. Both Fizzler and CssSelectors implement QuerySelectorAll, so you can use it like so:

private static IEnumerable<HtmlNode> GetDivElementsWithFloatClass(HtmlDocument doc) {

    return doc.QuerySelectorAll( "div.float" );
}

With runtime-defined classes:

private static IEnumerable<HtmlNode> GetDivElementsWithClasses(HtmlDocument doc, IEnumerable<String> classNames) {

    String selector = "div." + String.Join( ".", classNames );

    return doc.QuerySelectorAll( selector  );
}

Popular Answer

You can solve your issue by using the 'contains' function within your Xpath query, as below:

var allElementsWithClassFloat = 
   _doc.DocumentNode.SelectNodes("//*[contains(@class,'float')]")

To reuse this in a function do something similar to the following:

string classToFind = "float";    
var allElementsWithClassFloat = 
   _doc.DocumentNode.SelectNodes(string.Format("//*[contains(@class,'{0}')]", classToFind));



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