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FAQ 9.4 How do I remove HTML from a string?


This is an excerpt from the latest version perlfaq9.pod, which
comes with the standard Perl distribution. These postings aim to
reduce the number of repeated questions as well as allow the community
to review and update the answers. The latest version of the complete
perlfaq is at http://faq.perl.org .

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9.4: How do I remove HTML from a string?

    The most correct way (albeit not the fastest) is to use HTML::Parser
    from CPAN. Another mostly correct way is to use HTML::FormatText which
    not only removes HTML but also attempts to do a little simple formatting
    of the resulting plain text.

    Many folks attempt a simple-minded regular expression approach, like
    "s/<.*?>//g", but that fails in many cases because the tags may continue
    over line breaks, they may contain quoted angle-brackets, or HTML
    comment may be present. Plus, folks forget to convert entities--like
    "&lt;" for example.

    Here's one "simple-minded" approach, that works for most files:

        #!/usr/bin/perl -p0777
        s/<(?:[^>'"]*|(['"]).*?\1)*>//gs

    If you want a more complete solution, see the 3-stage striphtml program
    in http://www.cpan.org/authors/Tom_Christiansen/scripts/striphtml.gz .

    Here are some tricky cases that you should think about when picking a
    solution:

        <IMG SRC = "foo.gif" ALT = "A > B">

        <IMG SRC = "foo.gif"
             ALT = "A > B">

        <!-- <A comment> -->

        <script>if (a<b && a>c)</script>

        <# Just data #>

        <![INCLUDE CDATA [ >>>>>>>>>>>> ]]>

    If HTML comments include other tags, those solutions would also break on
    text like this:

        <!-- This section commented out.
            <B>You can't see me!</B>
        -->

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The perlfaq-workers, a group of volunteers, maintain the perlfaq. They
are not necessarily experts in every domain where Perl might show up,
so please include as much information as possible and relevant in any
corrections. The perlfaq-workers also don't have access to every
operating system or platform, so please include relevant details for
corrections to examples that do not work on particular platforms.
Working code is greatly appreciated.

If you'd like to help maintain the perlfaq, see the details in
perlfaq.pod.

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