Text Mining: Extracting and Analyzing all my Blogs on Machine Learning

Recently I have started working on Natural Language Processing at work and at home. So I decided to apply some of the techniques I had come across, to create a word cloud of the words extracted from all of my blogs.

I have published my first article on Feb 15, 2019. 2 months into writing, I was selected as the top writer on Medium in Artificial Intelligence. The recognition motivated me to continue sharing my knowledge with the data science community. Since then I have written more than 25+ articles on the topics related to machine learning, deep learning on Medium and Marktechpost.

In this article, we will scrap the contents of all the articles and process the data using the NLTK Package for further analysis. To scrap the data, we will be using Selenium and BeautifulSoup.

Before you start with scrapping the data from any website, please check the Terms and Conditions of that website.

Setting Up Environment

Download and Install the Anaconda package manager. Anaconda distribution contains a collection of many open source packages. Apart from the packages present in the Anaconda, we will be using new packages to extract the content from the webpages.

To install the new packages, you can use Anaconda’s package manager, conda or pip to install those packages.

pip install selenium
pip install beautifulsoup4

Inspect the Webpage

To find out which elements of the webpage that we need to extract using python, we need to first inspect the webpage. To inspect any webpage you need to right-click on the webpage and select inspect or Fn + F12. This brings up the HTML code inspect tool where we can see the element that each field is contained within.

For example, if I inspect the marktechpost author page you can see that the article links and article title are present inside the <a> tag. The <a> tag has href attribute which specifies the URL of the page the link goes to and it also has title attribute which defines the title of the document.

On inspecting further all the articles that are under the author page follow the same pattern of href and title. The <a> tag for all the articles has relattribute, which is used to specify the relationship between the current and the linked document. Using these attributes, we can easily scrape the relevant information from the webpage HTML code using BeautifulSoup Package. (I will discuss how to extract using BeautifulSoup down below)

Similarly, we can inspect the medium author page and find out under which tag the relevant information like article links and article title is present.

All the code discussed in the article is present on my GitHubNiranjankumar-c/DataScienceBlogAnalysis_NLPThis repository contains the code to scrap the contents all of my articles and process the data using the NLTK Package…github.com

Scrapping Medium WebPage using Selenium

First, we will scrape the links of all the published articles under my account from Medium. Since Medium website uses javascript to load the page we can’t use BeautifulSoup directly to scrape the data. Instead of BeautifulSoup, we will use the Selenium web driver to open the webpage, search for the links of the articles and return the results.

from selenium import webdriver
import timemedium_profile_link = "https://medium.com/@niranjankumarc"

In this tutorial, I will be using Chrome as my browser, so we need to download the Chrome WebDriver. You can download the WebDriver from here. If you are using any other browser then you need to download the specific WebDriver. Once you downloaded the WebDriver, run the Chrome WebDriver by pointing the executable path as the downloaded file path.

#create the driver for chrome browser with executable.driver = webdriver.Chrome(executable_path = 'C:\\Users\\NiranjanKumar\\Downloads\\chromedriver.exe')

Now, we can connect to the webpage and search for the links of the articles. When we load the webpage in a browser often it will take a while to load the entire page and also may not even load until we scroll down towards the end of the page. To handle this problem, we will execute a javascript code that helps to load the entire webpage.

#load the webpage and scroll till the bottom of the page
driver.get(medium_profile_link)# Get scroll height
last_height = driver.execute_script("return document.body.scrollHeight")while True:
# Scroll down to bottom
driver.execute_script("window.scrollTo(0, document.body.scrollHeight);")# Wait to load page
time.sleep(30)# Calculate new scroll height and compare with last scroll height
new_height = driver.execute_script("return document.body.scrollHeight")
if new_height == last_height:
last_height = new_height

Once you execute the above script, Chrome will open the URL specified and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Next, we need to get the content of the webpage. To find all the elements of interest, we will create a BeautifulSoup Object and extract all the relevant div tags.

Use inspect webpage option to find out where the relevant links of the articles and article titles are present. Using the findAll command in the BeautifulSoup object, we will extract the relevant tags.

#get the html content of the page
html = driver.page_source#create a soup object
medium_soup = BeautifulSoup(html)#finding the divs with class = 'r s y'
soup_divs = medium_soup.findAll("div", {'class' : 'r s y'})

Once we got the div tags, we iterate through each tag and get the article link and article title. The article link is present inside a tag and the article link is insideh1 the tag.

title_lst = []
links_lst = []for each_div in soup_divs:

article_link = each_div.find("a").get("href").split("?")[0]
article_title = each_div.find("a").find("h1").text.strip()

if article_link.startswith("https") == False:
article_link = "https://medium.com" + article_link #appending the address for links (eg. hackernoon: moved out of medium)

#append the values to list
links_lst.append(article_link)driver.quit() #stop the driver

Now that we have all the links and titles of the articles, we will execute the driver.quit() to ensure the browser closes.

Scrapping Marktechpost WebPage using BeautifulSoup

To scrape the data of the marktechpost author page we can use selenium as shown in the previous step. In this step, we will use requests and BeautifulSoup libraries to scrape the data.

Once we have the URL of the webpage that we want to scrape the data. We then make the connection to the webpage using requests and parse the webpage using BeautifulSoup, storing the object in the variable ‘mark_soup’.

import requests#creating a variable
mark_url = requests.get('https://www.marktechpost.com/author/niranjan-kumar/')#create a beautifulsoup object
mark_soup = BeautifulSoup(mark_url.content)#print soup

As discussed in the previous section — inspect the webpage, we need to search the soup object to find the relevant tags. Once we got the div tags, we iterate through each tag and get the article link and article title.

#iterate the articles and get the links and titles
for eachitem in mark_soup.findAll("a", {'rel': 'bookmark'}):

Add the results of the search operation to the lists of article links and article titles. we can make use of that by saving the data we have scraped to a data frame. We can print the data frame to view the content.

#create a dataframe
titles_df = pd.DataFrame(list(zip(title_lst, links_lst)), columns = ["Title", "URL"])titles_df.head()

Extracting Content

Now that we have links to all the articles published, let’s get the content of these articles. Since we are extracting the whole content from the webpage including the HTML content, we will be using html2text package to convert a page of HTML into clean, easy-to-read plain ASCII text.

To install html2text package

!pip install html2text

html2text gives multiple options like ignoring links, ignoring images, ignoring tables in the extracted data to get a clean and easily readable text.

import html2texth = html2text.HTML2Text()#ignoring all the links, tables and images in the blog
h.ignore_links = True
h.ignore_images = True
h.ignore_tables = True

Iterate over each link and extract the HTML content append it to the new column in the titles_df data frame.

content_lst = []#iterating through all the links 
for ind in titles_df.index:

#content request object
request_content = requests.get(titles_df["URL"][ind])

main_content = h.handle(str(request_content.content)) #get the text from the html content


The resultant data frame should look like this,

Final DataFrame

Text PreProcessing— Cleaning Data

In this section, we will discuss how to pre-process (clean) the content of the webpage, so that we can extract useful information from the cleaned data.

Import Packages

Before we start mining the data, first we need to import the required libraries. We will nltk tokenize the text and also remove the stopwords from the corpus and wordcloud package to generate the word cloud.https://medium.com/media/f75f49c200c8f2b0659dead92ac778de

Let’s clean the data.

Photo by Sophie Elvis on Unsplash

1. Removing Links

Even though we have set the option to ignore the links using html2text package, it is possible some of the links might be present in the content of the webpage. The first preprocessing step is to remove the links present in the content. We will do this by using regex.

def remove_links(text):    
return re.sub(r'https?://[^\s]+', '', text)

The remove_links function takes text as an input and replaces the URL with empty value in the text. We will apply this function across the data frame for all the contents using lambda function.

# 1. Remove all the links if present in the contenttitles_df["content"] = titles_df.content.apply(lambda content: remove_links(content))

2. Removing Extra Spaces and Tab

Before removing extra spaces, we will join all the contents in the data frame using “\n\n” and make it a single string. Using regex we will replace the extra spaces and tab with a single space.

# 2. Join all the contents in the dataframe using "\n\n" and make it a single stringmain_content_string =  "\n\n".join(titles_df.content)# Remove all whitespaces (\n and \t) with spacemain_content_string = re.sub('\s+',' ',main_content_string).strip()

3. Expanding Contractions

contraction is a word or phrase that has been shortened by dropping one or more letters. Examples of contractions are words like “ain’t”, “aren’t”, don’t. We leverage an existing set of functions written by Rahul Agarwal to expand contractions. Check out the original post here.

# 3. expand contractionsdef _get_contractions(contraction_dict):
contraction_re = re.compile('(%s)' % '|'.join(contraction_dict.keys()))
return contraction_dict, contraction_recontractions, contractions_re = _get_contractions(contraction_dict)def replace_contractions(text):
def replace(match):
return contractions[match.group(0)]
return contractions_re.sub(replace, text)# Usage
main_content_string = replace_contractions(main_content_string)

4. Removing Punctuation and Special Characters

Punctuation and special characters are non-alphanumeric characters which don’t give any information while mining data. Therefore removing these characters will give us the cleaned data for analysis.

To remove punctuation we will make use of string package which we imported earlier.https://medium.com/media/40dc376bcd0743c03c52bf4ac6249dcf

5. Lowercase

We need to transform all our tweets to lowercase to eliminate the duplicate occurrence of words like ‘USA’, ‘usa’ and ‘Usa’.

# 5. Lowercasemain_content_string = main_content_string.lower().strip("b").strip()

6. Tokenization

Tokenization is a process of dividing the text into words or sentences. Since we have only one big sentence, we will split this tokenize the sentence into words using word_tokenize from NLTK Package.

# 6. Tokenizationword_tokens = word_tokenize(main_content_string)

7. Removing StopWords

Stopwords are the words that occur frequently in the corpus and have little or no significance to the features extracted from the text. Typically, these can be articles, conjunctions, prepositions and so on. Some examples of stopwords are aantheand.

We will make use of the stopwords list present in the NLTK library to remove those words from our tokens.

# 7. remove stop words
stop_words = stopwords.words('english')#remove stopwords
main_content_tokens = [w for w in word_tokens if not w in stop_words]

8. Removing AlphaNumeric Words

The words which contain both alphabets and numbers don’t give any extra information regarding the text. So we will remove all the words that contain numbers.

# 8. Remove all words containing numbersmain_content_tokens = [word for word in main_content_tokens if word.isalpha()]

9. Removing Frequently Occurring Words in the Corpus

First, we will check the most frequently occurring words in the corpus. I felt like these words will not affect the analysis, we will be doing on the data. So I have removed these words from the corpus.

# 9. Remove frequently occuring words in the corpusfreq = pd.Series(main_content_tokens).value_counts()[:10]
data 659
network 483
function 460
learning 447
nnnn 441
xexx 394
neural 355
model 309
input 306
using 290#removing words
main_content_tokens = [word for word in main_content_tokens if word not in list(freq.index)]

10. Removing Rare Words Removal

We will remove the 1000 rare words from the corpus, these rare words will not make any impact on the analysis. These words are so rare that they act as the noise for the analysis.

# 10. removing the least frequent words in the corpusfreq = pd.Series(main_content_tokens).value_counts()[-1000:]
freq#removing words - less frequent words
main_content_tokens = [word for word in main_content_tokens if word not in list(freq.index)]

11. Removing Miscellaneous Words

On further inspecting the cleaned tokens that we got so far, I found out that there are miscellaneous words which make no sense to keep to them in our corpus. For example ‘rnrn’, ‘rntt’ and ‘xcxb’. So I have removed all the tokens that contain these words.

#11. Removing miscellaneous wordsmain_content_tokens = [word for word in main_content_tokens if not 
any([phrase in word for phrase in ["rnrn", "rntt", "xcxb", "xx"]])]#miscellaneous words
main_content_tokens = [word for word in main_content_tokens if len(word) >= 4]

Cleaned Corpus

Up to this point, we have done all our text cleaning or pre-processing steps, now we will merge our cleaned tokens into a single sentence so that we can the cleaned corpus to identify the top topics using WordCloud.

#merge all the tokens
cleaned_content = " ".join(main_content_tokens)


Now we are ready to create a WordCloud to identify the top topics in the corpus. To create a WordCloud we will make use of wordcloud library.

# Create stopword list:
stopwords = set(STOPWORDS)wordcloud = WordCloud(width = 800, height = 800, max_font_size=50,min_font_size = 10,
stopwords = stopwords, background_color = "black", colormap="plasma").generate(cleaned_content)

# plot the WordCloud image
plt.figure(figsize = (12, 12))
plt.imshow(wordcloud, interpolation="bilinear")
plt.tight_layout()# store to file
plt.savefig("av_wordcloud.png", dpi=150)


Once we execute the above script, WordCloud will be generated and saved into the local directory as av_wordcloud.png .

From the WordCloud, we can clearly see some of the top words such as “Gradient Descent”, “Output”, “Loss”, “Decision Boundary”, “Hidden Representation” etc.. indicates that the corpus mainly talks about Neural Networks and Deep Learning Techniques. This is expected because most of my articles are structured around Deep Learning starting from basics like Perceptron to Encoder-Decoder Models.

Most Frequent Words

Another way to visualize the top words is by using bar plots. We will use Counter from collections package to count the frequency of words and plot the top 10 words and their frequency.

#frequent wordscounted_words = Counter(main_content_tokens)
most_common_df = pd.DataFrame(counted_words.most_common(10), columns=["words", "count"])#plot the most common words
sns.barplot(y = "words", x = "count", data = most_common_df, palette="viridis")
plt.title("Top 15 Most Occuring Words in the Corpus")

The barplot generated would look like this,


Instead of creating simple and boring WordCloud, we will use stylecloud package to generate stylistic WordClouds, including gradients and icon shapes!.

stylecloud is a Python package that leverages the popular word_cloud package, adding useful features to create truly unique word clouds!

To install the package

pip install stylecloud


Using stylecloud we can generate WordClouds of any shapes and sizes. For example, let’s try to create a WordCloud in the shape of a dog with a dark-themed background.

To get the shape of the dog, we just need to change the icon_name to ‘fas fa-dog’ and by setting background_color to ‘black’ we will get the dark theme.

import stylecloud#dog wordcloud
stylecloud.gen_stylecloud(text = cleaned_content,
icon_name='fas fa-dog',
gradient='horizontal', output_name='stylecloud_dog.png')
Cute Dog

If you want to change the WordCloud to look like a twitter icon or LinkedIn icon, we can do that too just by changing one line of code.

#can also generate linkedln wordcloudsstylecloud.gen_stylecloud(text = cleaned_content,
icon_name="fab fa-linkedin-in",
gradient='vertical', output_name='stylecloud_li.png')
#can also generate twitter wordcloudsstylecloud.gen_stylecloud(text = cleaned_content,
icon_name="fab fa-twitter",
gradient='vertical', output_name='stylecloud_tw.png')
Twitter Icon

Niranjankumar-c/DataScienceBlogAnalysis_NLPThis repository contains the code to scrap the contents all of my articles and process the data using the NLTK Package…github.com


In this article, we have discussed two different ways to scrap the data from two different websites based on whether the website is using javascript to dynamically load the site or not. We have seen how to use selenium web driver to scrap the data. After that, we have discussed various techniques in cleaning the data before analyzing it for insights. From there, we went to create a WordCloud and Barplot to identity the top topics from the corpus. Finally, we have seen how to create a stylish WordCloud using stylecloud package.

Feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn or twitter if you face any problems while implementing the code present in my GitHub repository.

Until next time Peace 🙂


Author Bio

Niranjan Kumar is Senior Consultant Data Science at Allstate India. He is passionate about Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Apart from writing on Medium, he also writes for Marktechpost.com as a freelance data science writer. Check out his articles here.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter for updates about upcoming articles on deep learning and machine learning.


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