Using regular expressions to extract the first image source from html codes?


Question

I would like to know how this can be achieved.

Assume: That there's a lot of html code containing tables, divs, images, etc.

Problem: How can I get matches of all occurances. More over, to be specific, how can I get the img tag source (src = ?).

example:

<img src="http://example.com/g.jpg" alt="" />

How can I print out http://example.com/g.jpg in this case. I want to assume that there are also other tags in the html code as i mentioned, and possibly more than one image. Would it be possible to have an array of all images sources in html code?

I know this can be achieved way or another with regular expressions, but I can't get the hang of it.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

1
20
7/28/2009 11:42:04 PM

Accepted Answer

While regular expressions can be good for a large variety of tasks, I find it usually falls short when parsing HTML DOM. The problem with HTML is that the structure of your document is so variable that it is hard to accurately (and by accurately I mean 100% success rate with no false positive) extract a tag.

What I recommend you do is use a DOM parser such as SimpleHTML and use it as such:

function get_first_image($html) {
    require_once('SimpleHTML.class.php')

    $post_html = str_get_html($html);

    $first_img = $post_html->find('img', 0);

    if($first_img !== null) {
        return $first_img->src;
    }

    return null;
}

Some may think this is overkill, but in the end, it will be easier to maintain and also allows for more extensibility. For example, using the DOM parser, I can also get the alt attribute.

A regular expression could be devised to achieve the same goal but would be limited in such way that it would force the alt attribute to be after the src or the opposite, and to overcome this limitation would add more complexity to the regular expression.

Also, consider the following. To properly match an <img> tag using regular expressions and to get only the src attribute (captured in group 2), you need the following regular expression:

<\s*?img\s+[^>]*?\s*src\s*=\s*(["'])((\\?+.)*?)\1[^>]*?>

And then again, the above can fail if:

  • The attribute or tag name is in capital and the i modifier is not used.
  • Quotes are not used around the src attribute.
  • Another attribute then src uses the > character somewhere in their value.
  • Some other reason I have not foreseen.

So again, simply don't use regular expressions to parse a dom document.


EDIT: If you want all the images:

function get_images($html){
    require_once('SimpleHTML.class.php')

    $post_dom = str_get_dom($html);

    $img_tags = $post_dom->find('img');

    $images = array();

    foreach($img_tags as $image) {
        $images[] = $image->src;
    }

    return $images;
}
40
10/16/2015 10:42:04 AM

Use this, is more effective:

preg_match_all('/<img [^>]*src=["|\']([^"|\']+)/i', $html, $matches);
foreach ($matches[1] as $key=>$value) {
    echo $value."<br>";
}

Example:

$html = '
<ul>     
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.manfromuranus.com">Man from Uranus</a></li>       
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.thevichygovernment.com/">The Vichy Government</a></li>      
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.cambridgepoetry.org/">Cambridge Poetry</a></li>      
  <img width="190" height="197" border="0" align="right" alt="upload.jpg" title="upload.jpg" class="noborder" src="value1.jpg" />
  <li><a href="http://www.verot.net/pretty/">Electronaut Records</a></li>      
  <img width="190" height="197" border="0" align="right" alt="upload.jpg" title="upload.jpg" class="noborder" src="value2.jpg" />
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.catseye-crew.com">Catseye Productions</a></li>     
  <img width="190" height="197" border="0" align="right" alt="upload.jpg" title="upload.jpg" class="noborder" src="value3.jpg" />
</ul>
<img width="190" height="197" border="0" align="right" alt="upload.jpg" title="upload.jpg" class="noborder" src="res/upload.jpg" />
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.manfromuranus.com">Man from Uranus</a></li>       
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.thevichygovernment.com/">The Vichy Government</a></li>      
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.cambridgepoetry.org/">Cambridge Poetry</a></li>      
  <img width="190" height="197" border="0" align="right" alt="upload.jpg" title="upload.jpg" class="noborder" src="value4.jpg" />
  <li><a href="http://www.verot.net/pretty/">Electronaut Records</a></li>      
  <img src="value5.jpg" />
  <li><a target="_new" href="http://www.catseye-crew.com">Catseye Productions</a></li>     
  <img width="190" height="197" border="0" align="right" alt="upload.jpg" title="upload.jpg" class="noborder" src="value6.jpg" />
';   
preg_match_all('/<img .*src=["|\']([^"|\']+)/i', $html, $matches);
foreach ($matches[1] as $key=>$value) {
    echo $value."<br>";
} 

Output:

value1.jpg
value2.jpg
value3.jpg
res/upload.jpg
value4.jpg
value5.jpg
value6.jpg

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