Spider DataFlex Reference Documentation

Spider

Chilkat Spider web crawler component.

Object Creation

Handle hoSpider
Get Create(RefClass(cComSpider)) to hoSpider

Properties

Function ComAbortCurrent Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComAbortCurrent Boolean value

Introduced in version 9.5.0.58

When set to True, causes the currently running method to abort. Methods that always finish quickly (i.e.have no length file operations or network communications) are not affected. If no method is running, then this property is automatically reset to False when the next method is called. When the abort occurs, this property is reset to False. Both synchronous and asynchronous method calls can be aborted. (A synchronous method call could be aborted by setting this property from a separate thread.)

Function ComAvoidHttps Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComAvoidHttps Boolean value

If set the 1 (true) the spider will avoid all HTTPS URLs. The default is 0 (false).

Function ComCacheDir Returns String
Procedure Set ComCacheDir String value

Specifies a cache directory to use for spidering. If either of the FetchFromCache or UpdateCache properties are true, this is the location of the cache to be used. Note: the Internet Explorer, Netscape, and FireFox caches are completely separate from the Chilkat Spider cache directory. You should specify a new and empty directory.

Caching Web Pages to the Filesystem

Function ComChopAtQuery Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComChopAtQuery Boolean value

If equal to 1 (true), then the query portion of all URLs are automatically removed when adding to the unspidered list. The default value is 0 (false).

Function ComConnectTimeout Returns Integer
Procedure Set ComConnectTimeout Integer value

The maximum number of seconds to wait while connecting to an HTTP server.

Function ComDebugLogFilePath Returns String
Procedure Set ComDebugLogFilePath String value

If set to a file path, causes each Chilkat method or property call to automatically append it's LastErrorText to the specified log file. The information is appended such that if a hang or crash occurs, it is possible to see the context in which the problem occurred, as well as a history of all Chilkat calls up to the point of the problem. The VerboseLogging property can be set to provide more detailed information.

This property is typically used for debugging the rare cases where a Chilkat method call hangs or generates an exception that halts program execution (i.e. crashes). A hang or crash should generally never happen. The typical causes of a hang are:

  1. a timeout related property was set to 0 to explicitly indicate that an infinite timeout is desired,
  2. the hang is actually a hang within an event callback (i.e. it is a hang within the application code), or
  3. there is an internal problem (bug) in the Chilkat code that causes the hang.

Function ComDomain Returns String

The domain name that is being spidered. This is the domain previously set in the Initialize method.

Function ComFetchFromCache Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComFetchFromCache Boolean value

If equal to 1 (true) then pages are fetched from cache when possible. If 0, the cache is ignored. The default value is 1. Regardless, if no CacheDir is set then the cache is not used.

Caching Web Pages to the Filesystem

Function ComLastBinaryResult Returns Variant

Introduced in version 9.5.0.52

The binary data returned by the last (binary data returning) method called. Only available if Chilkat.Global.KeepBinaryResult is set to True. This provides a means for obtaining large varbinary results in the SQL Server environment (where limitations exist in getting large amounts of data returned by method calls, but where temp tables can be used for binary properties).

Function ComLastErrorHtml Returns String

Provides information in HTML format about the last method/property called. If a method call returns a value indicating failure, or behaves unexpectedly, examine this property to get more information.

Function ComLastErrorText Returns String

Provides information in plain-text format about the last method/property called. If a method call returns a value indicating failure, or behaves unexpectedly, examine this property to get more information.

Function ComLastErrorXml Returns String

Provides information in XML format about the last method/property called. If a method call returns a value indicating failure, or behaves unexpectedly, examine this property to get more information.

Function ComLastFromCache Returns Boolean

Equal to 1 if the last page spidered was fetched from the cache. Otherwise equal to 0.

Function ComLastHtml Returns String

The HTML text of the last paged fetched by the spider.

Function ComLastHtmlDescription Returns String

The HTML META description from the last page fetched by the spider.

Extract HTML Title, Description, Keywords

Function ComLastHtmlKeywords Returns String

The HTML META keywords from the last page fetched by the spider.

Extract HTML Title, Description, Keywords

Function ComLastHtmlTitle Returns String

The HTML title from the last page fetched by the spider.

Extract HTML Title, Description, Keywords

Function ComLastMethodSuccess Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComLastMethodSuccess Boolean value

Introduced in version 9.5.0.52

Indicate whether the last method call succeeded or failed. A value of True indicates success, a value of False indicates failure. This property is automatically set for method calls. It is not modified by property accesses. The property is automatically set to indicate success for the following types of method calls:

  • Any method that returns a string.
  • Any method returning a Chilkat object, binary bytes, or a date/time.
  • Any method returning a standard boolean status value where success = True and failure = False.
  • Any method returning an integer where failure is defined by a return value less than zero.

Note: Methods that do not fit the above requirements will always set this property equal to True. For example, a method that returns no value (such as a "void" in C++) will technically always succeed.

Function ComLastModDate Returns DateTime

This property is deprecated. It will be removed in a future version.

The last-modification date of the last URL spidered.

Function ComLastStringResult Returns String

Introduced in version 9.5.0.52

The string return value of the last (string returning) method called. Only available if Chilkat.Global.KeepStringResult is set to True. This provides a means for obtaining large string results in the SQL Server environment (where limitations exist in getting long strings returned by method calls, but where temp tables can be used for string properties).

Long Strings Returned by ActiveX Methods in SQL Server

Function ComLastStringResultLen Returns Integer

Introduced in version 9.5.0.53

The length, in characters, of the string contained in the LastStringResult property.

Function ComLastUrl Returns String

The URL of the last page spidered.

Function ComMaxResponseSize Returns Integer
Procedure Set ComMaxResponseSize Integer value

The maximum HTTP response size allowed. The spider will automatically fail any pages larger than this size. The default value is 250,000 bytes.

Setting a Maximum Response Size

Function ComMaxUrlLen Returns Integer
Procedure Set ComMaxUrlLen Integer value

The maximum URL length allowed. URLs longer than this are not added to the unspidered list. The default value is 200.

Setting a Maximum URL Length

Function ComNumAvoidPatterns Returns Integer

The number of avoid patterns previously set by calling AddAvoidPattern.

Function ComNumFailed Returns Integer

The number of URLs in the component's failed URL list.

Function ComNumOutboundLinks Returns Integer

The number of URLs in the component's outbound links URL list.

Function ComNumSpidered Returns Integer

The number of URLs in the component's already-spidered URL list.

Function ComNumUnspidered Returns Integer

The number of URLs in the component's unspidered URL list.

Getting Started Example

Function ComPreferIpv6 Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComPreferIpv6 Boolean value

If True, then use IPv6 over IPv4 when both are supported for a particular domain. The default value of this property is False, which will choose IPv4 over IPv6.

Function ComProxyDomain Returns String
Procedure Set ComProxyDomain String value

The domain name of a proxy host if an HTTP proxy is used.

Function ComProxyLogin Returns String
Procedure Set ComProxyLogin String value

If an HTTP proxy is used and it requires authentication, this property specifies the HTTP proxy login.

Function ComProxyPassword Returns String
Procedure Set ComProxyPassword String value

If an HTTP proxy is used and it requires authentication, this property specifies the HTTP proxy password.

Function ComProxyPort Returns Integer
Procedure Set ComProxyPort Integer value

The port number of a proxy server if an HTTP proxy is used.

Function ComReadTimeout Returns Integer
Procedure Set ComReadTimeout Integer value

The maximum number of seconds to wait when reading from an HTTP server.

Function ComUpdateCache Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComUpdateCache Boolean value

If equal to 1 (true) then pages saved to the cache. If 0, the cache is ignored. The default value is 1. Regardless, if no CacheDir is set then the cache is not used.

Caching Web Pages to the Filesystem

Function ComUserAgent Returns String
Procedure Set ComUserAgent String value

The value of the HTTP user-agent header field to be sent with HTTP requests. The default value is "Chilkat/1.0.0 (+http://www.chilkatsoft.com/ChilkatHttpUA.asp)"

Function ComVerboseLogging Returns Boolean
Procedure Set ComVerboseLogging Boolean value

If set to True, then the contents of LastErrorText (or LastErrorXml, or LastErrorHtml) may contain more verbose information. The default value is False. Verbose logging should only be used for debugging. The potentially large quantity of logged information may adversely affect peformance.

Function ComVersion Returns String

Version of the component/library, such as "9.4.1.42"

Function ComWindDownCount Returns Integer
Procedure Set ComWindDownCount Integer value

The "wind-down" phase begins when this number of URLs has been spidered. When in the wind-down phase, no new URLs are added to the unspidered list. The default value is 0 which means that there is NO wind-down phase.

Methods

Procedure ComAddAvoidOutboundLinkPattern String pattern

Adds a wildcarded pattern to prevent collecting matching outbound link URLs. For example, if "*google*" is added, then any outbound links containing the word "google" will be ignored. The "*" character matches zero or more of any character.

Avoiding Outbound Links Matching Patterns

Procedure ComAddAvoidPattern String pattern

Adds a wildcarded pattern to prevent spidering matching URLs. For example, if "*register*" is added, then any url containing the word "register" is not spidered. The "*" character matches zero or more of any character.

Avoid URLs Matching Any of a Set of Patterns

Procedure ComAddMustMatchPattern String pattern

Adds a wildcarded pattern to limit spidering to only URLs that match the pattern. For example, if "*/products/*" is added, then only URLs containing "/products/" are spidered. This is helpful for only spidering a portion of a website. The "*" character matches zero or more of any character.

Must-Match Patterns

Procedure ComAddUnspidered String url

To begin spidering you must call this method one or more times to provide starting points. It adds a single URL to the component's internal queue of URLs to be spidered.

Crawling the Web

Function ComCanonicalizeUrl String url Returns String

Canonicalizes a URL by doing the following:

  • Drops username/password if present.
  • Drops fragment if present.
  • Converts domain to lowercase.
  • Removes port 80 or 443
  • Remove default.asp, index.html, index.htm, default.html, index.htm, default.htm, index.php, index.asp, default.php, .cfm, .aspx, ,php3, .pl, .cgi, .txt, .shtml, .phtml
  • Remove www. from the domain if present.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Canonicalize a URL

Procedure ComClearFailedUrls

Clears the component's internal list of URLs that could not be downloaded.

Procedure ComClearOutboundLinks

Clears the component's internal list of outbound URLs that will automatically accumulate while spidering.

Procedure ComClearSpideredUrls

Clears the component's internal list of already-spidered URLs that will automatically accumulate while spidering.

Function ComCrawlNext Returns Boolean

Crawls the next URL in the internal list of unspidered URLs. The URL is moved from the unspidered list to the spidered list. Any new links within the same domain and not yet spidered are added to the unspidered list. (providing that they do not match "avoid" patterns, etc.) Any new outbound links are added to the outbound URL list. If successful, the HTML of the downloaded page is available in the LastHtml property. If there are no more URLs left unspidered, the method returns False. Information about the URL crawled is available in the properties LastUrl, LastFromCache, and LastModDate.

Crawling the Web

Getting Started Example

Function ComCrawlNextAsync Returns cComChilkatTask

Creates an asynchronous task to call the CrawlNext method with the arguments provided. (Async methods are available starting in Chilkat v9.5.0.52.)

How to Run an Asynchronous Task

Function ComFetchRobotsText Returns String

Returns the contents of the robots.txt file from the domain being crawled. This spider component will not crawl URLs excluded by robots.txt. If you believe the spider is not behaving correctly, please notify us at support@chilkatsoft.com and provide information detailing a case that allows us to reproduce the problem.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Fetch robots.txt for a Site

Function ComFetchRobotsTextAsync Returns cComChilkatTask

Creates an asynchronous task to call the FetchRobotsText method with the arguments provided. (Async methods are available starting in Chilkat v9.5.0.52.)

How to Run an Asynchronous Task

Function ComGetAvoidPattern Integer index Returns String

Returns the Nth avoid pattern previously added by calling AddAvoidPattern. Indexing begins at 0.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Function ComGetBaseDomain String domain Returns String

To be documented soon.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Convert a Domain Name into a "domain base"

Function ComGetFailedUrl Integer index Returns String

Returns the Nth URL in the failed URL list. Indexing begins at 0.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Function ComGetOutboundLink Integer index Returns String

Returns the Nth URL in the outbound link URL list. Indexing begins at 0.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Function ComGetSpideredUrl Integer index Returns String

Returns the Nth URL in the already-spidered URL list. Indexing begins at 0.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Function ComGetUnspideredUrl Integer index Returns String

Returns the Nth URL in the unspidered URL list. Indexing begins at 0.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Function ComGetUrlDomain String url Returns String

Returns the domain name part of a URL. For example, if the URL is "http://www.chilkatsoft.com/test.asp", then "www.chilkatsoft.com" is returned.

Returns True for success, False for failure.

Procedure ComInitialize String domain

Initializes the component to begin spidering a domain. Calling Initialize clears any patterns added via the AddAvoidOutboundLinkPattern, AddAvoidPattern, and AddMustMatchPattern methods. The domain name passed to this method is what is returned by the Domain property. The spider only crawls URLs within the same domain.

Crawling the Web

Getting Started Example

Function ComRecrawlLast Returns Boolean

Re-crawls the last URL spidered. This helpful when cookies set in a previous page load cause the page to be loaded differently the next time.

Function ComRecrawlLastAsync Returns cComChilkatTask

Creates an asynchronous task to call the RecrawlLast method with the arguments provided. (Async methods are available starting in Chilkat v9.5.0.52.)

How to Run an Asynchronous Task

Procedure ComSkipUnspidered Integer index

Moves a URL from the unspidered list to the spidered list. This allows an application to skip a specific URL.

Procedure ComSleepMs Integer numMilliseconds

Suspends the execution of the current thread until the time-out interval elapses.