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Using git-history to build a web scraper in less than a minute

Simon Willison describes in his blog post git-history, a python tool which leverages a pattern, previously described by Simon to scrape web content via Github actions. Basically it saves every different version of a web resource.

I wanted to try this pattern on a to this date static source of open data, to supply the future with a time series of this former static source. So I did with the parking data of Frankfurt and you can inspect the data in this repository.

In the following plot you see the occupancy of parking space in Frankfurt, for the last 1000 rows generated out of the repositories history.

Also if you feel weird about the concept of time series, which is the default for git-history, you can import also non-different version via the following flag ---TBD---.

# TODO this could also be imported via class definitions from remote namespace

git-history file ffm-parking.db parkdaten_dyn.xml --convert 'tree = xml.etree.ElementTree.fromstring(content)
areas = []
facilities = []
strict = False

def e(el, k):
    _r = el.find("{http://datex2.eu/schema/2/2_0}" + k)
    if _r is None:
        raise ValueError("No value for " + k)
    return _r

# TODO don t skip whole batch, when attribute error is invoked
    if len(tree) < 2 or len(tree[1]) < 4 or len(tree[1][3]) == 0:
        print("No value in xml contents")
        if strict:
            raise ValueError("No value in xml contents")
        return areas + facilities
    for el in tree[1][3][0].findall("{http://datex2.eu/schema/2/2_0}parkingAreaStatus"):
            areas.append({"id": e(el, "parkingAreaReference").get("id"),\
            "type": "area",\
            "statusTime": e(el, "parkingAreaStatusTime").text,\
            "occupancy": e(el, "parkingAreaOccupancy").text,\
            "totalParkingCapacityLongTermOverride": e(el, "totalParkingCapacityLongTermOverride").text,\
            "totalParkingCapacityShortTermOverride": e(el, "totalParkingCapacityShortTermOverride").text,\
            "vacant": e(el, "parkingAreaTotalNumberOfVacantParkingSpaces").text})
        except ValueError as e:
            if strict:

    for el in tree[1][3][0].findall("{http://datex2.eu/schema/2/2_0}parkingFacilityStatus"):
            facilities.append({"id": e(el, "parkingFacilityReference").get("id"), \
            "type": "facility", \
            "statusTime": e(el, "parkingFacilityStatusTime").text, \
            "occupancy": e(el, "parkingFacilityOccupancy").text, \
            "totalNumberOfOccupiedParkingSpaces": e(el, "totalNumberOfOccupiedParkingSpaces").text, \
            "totalParkingCapacityLongTermOverride": e(el, "totalParkingCapacityLongTermOverride").text, \
            "totalParkingCapacityShortTermOverride": e(el, "totalParkingCapacityShortTermOverride").text, \
            "vacant": e(el, "totalNumberOfVacantParkingSpaces").text})
        except ValueError as _e:
            if strict:

except (AttributeError, IndexError) as e:

return areas + facilities
' --id id --id type --import xml.etree.ElementTree

Feel free to download the data of the repository and visualize it.