PHP IMDB Scraper

By  on  

It's been quite a while since I've written a PHP grabber and the itch finally got to me. This time the victim is the International Movie Database, otherwise known as IMDB. IMDB has info on every movie ever made (or so it seems). Their HTML source code is easy to parse so this one was a piece of cake.

The PHP

//url
$url = 'http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367882/';

//get the page content
$imdb_content = get_data($url);

//parse for product name
$name = get_match('/<title>(.*)<\/title>/isU',$imdb_content);
$director = strip_tags(get_match('/<h5[^>]*>Director:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content));
$plot = get_match('/<h5[^>]*>Plot:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);
$release_date = get_match('/<h5[^>]*>Release Date:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);
$mpaa = get_match('/<a href="\/mpaa">MPAA<\/a>:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);
$run_time = get_match('/Runtime:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);

//build content
$content.= '<h2>Film</h2><p>'.$name.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Director</h2><p>'.$director.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Plot</h2><p>'.substr($plot,0,strpos($plot,'<a')).'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Release Date</h2><p>'.substr($release_date,0,strpos($release_date,'<a')).'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>MPAA</h2><p>'.$mpaa.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Run Time</h2><p>'.$run_time.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Full Details</h2><p><a href="'.$url.'" rel="nofollow">'.$url.'</a></p>';

echo $content;

//gets the match content
function get_match($regex,$content)
{
	preg_match($regex,$content,$matches);
	return $matches[1];
}

//gets the data from a URL
function get_data($url)
{
	$ch = curl_init();
	$timeout = 5;
	curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_URL,$url);
	curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1);
	curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT,$timeout);
	$data = curl_exec($ch);
	curl_close($ch);
	return $data;
}

As with my other grabbers, the trick is always in the regular expressions. Note that the most important part of the URL is the string after "/title/". That string uniquely identifies the movie.

Recent Features

  • By
    Send Text Messages with PHP

    Kids these days, I tell ya.  All they care about is the technology.  The video games.  The bottled water.  Oh, and the texting, always the texting.  Back in my day, all we had was...OK, I had all of these things too.  But I still don't get...

  • By
    Page Visibility API

    One event that's always been lacking within the document is a signal for when the user is looking at a given tab, or another tab. When does the user switch off our site to look at something else? When do they come back?

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Build a Calendar Using PHP, XHTML, and CSS

    One of the website features my customers love to provider their web users is an online dynamic calendar. An online calendar can be used for events, upcoming product specials, memos, and anything else you can think of. I've taken some time to completely...

  • By
    MooTools Text Flipping

    There are lots and lots of useless but fun JavaScript techniques out there. This is another one of them. One popular April Fools joke I quickly got tired of was websites transforming their text upside down. I found a jQuery Plugin by Paul...