Parsing HTML

How to:

C++ doesn’t come with built-in HTML parsing capabilities. You’ll often use a library like Gumbo-parser by Google, or something similar. Here’s a quick example using Gumbo-parser:

#include <iostream>
#include <gumbo.h>

void search_for_links(GumboNode* node) {
    if (node->type != GUMBO_NODE_ELEMENT) {
    if (node->v.element.tag == GUMBO_TAG_A) {
        GumboAttribute* href = gumbo_get_attribute(&node->v.element.attributes, "href");
        if (href) {
            std::cout << href->value << std::endl;
    GumboVector* children = &node->v.element.children;
    for (unsigned int i = 0; i < children->length; ++i) {

int main() {
    const char* html = "<html><body><a href='https://example.com'>Link</a></body></html>";
    GumboOutput* output = gumbo_parse(html);
    gumbo_destroy_output(&kGumboDefaultOptions, output);
    return 0;

Sample output:


Deep Dive

Parsing HTML hasn’t always been straightforward in C++. Historically, programmers would use regex or hand-written parsers, both of which are error-prone and cumbersome. Nowadays, robust libraries like Gumbo-parser handle the intricacies of parsing, making it easier and more reliable.

Alternatives include Tidy, MyHTML, or even integrating C++ with Python’s BeautifulSoup via the C++ system function or embedded interpreters.

Implementation-wise, these libraries convert HTML to a Document Object Model (DOM) tree. Traversing and manipulating the DOM allows users to extract and work with data as demonstrated in the How to section.

See Also