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Tools to Work with the ‘Postlight’ ‘Mercury’ ‘API’


The ‘Postlight’ ‘Mercury’ ‘API’ takes any web article and returns only the relevant content - headline, author, body text, images and more - free from any clutter and including only minimal markup. Tools are provided to access the ‘API’ and also further clean up retrieved text through the the application of ‘XSLT’ style sheets. An ‘RStudio’ ‘Addin’ is also provided which makes it possible to preview the cleaned content from a ‘URL’ on the clipboard.

You need an API key which you can get from here.

What’s inside the tin?

The following functions are implemented:

  • just_the_facts: Retrieve parsed content of a URL processed by the Postlight Mercury API
  • clean_text: Remove all HTML/XML tags from an HTML document/atomic character vector





# current verison
## [1] '0.3.0'
story <- ""

doc <- just_the_facts(story)

## List of 12
##  $ title         : chr "Aircraft Carrier Wasn’t Sailing to Deter North Korea, as U.S. Suggested"
##  $ content       : chr "<div><article id=\"story\" class=\"story theme-main   \">\n\n    \n\n                        \n    \n\n    \n\n"| __truncated__
##  $ author        : chr "Mark Landler and Eric Schmitt"
##  $ date_published: POSIXct[1:1], format: "2017-04-18 17:57:41"
##  $ lead_image_url: chr ""
##  $ url           : chr ""
##  $ domain        : chr ""
##  $ excerpt       : chr "The saga might never have come to light had the Navy not posted a photograph of the Carl Vinson sailing through"| __truncated__
##  $ word_count    : int 1499
##  $ direction     : chr "ltr"
##  $ total_pages   : int 1
##  $ rendered_pages: int 1
##  - attr(*, "row.names")= int 1
##  - attr(*, "class")= chr "hgr"
substr(doc$content, 1, 100)
## [1] "<div><article id=\"story\" class=\"story theme-main   \">\n\n    \n\n                        \n    \n\n    \n\n  "
plain <- clean_text(doc$content)

substr(plain, 1, 100)
## [1] "WASHINGTON — Just over a week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carri"

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