# CSS Selectors accepted in Feed Creator

For the most flexibility in selecting the desired items on a page, choose 'Advanced selectors' in the main Feed Creator form.

Feed Creator from version 2.2 uses Symfony's CSS Selector to convert CSS selectors into XPath expressions (used internally).

Feed Creator supports a variety of CSS selectors (with some exceptions). You'll find more information about the selectors you can use with Feed Creator on Mozilla's CSS Selectors page. (We cover the main ones below.)

Feed Creator also supports a few additional selectors that aren't part of CSS. They're covered in the last section.

NUMBER OF ELEMENTS SELECTED

CSS selectors can return a number of elements. In Feed Creator, the main item selector should be used to return elements containing the individual items, e.g. div.news-story might return three elements which contain other elements (title, url, date) related to news story 1, news story 2, and news story 3.

The item title, item description, item URL, item date, and item image selectors will then be applied within the context of each of the elements returned from the main item selector, not the whole page. Additionaly, these selectors will only return the first matching element, not all of them. Feed Creator then takes the text content of that element or an attribute value.

# Universal selector

Syntax: *

Examples:

  • * - all elements
  • *[class*="headline"] - all elements containing "headline" anywhere in the class attribute

More information at MDN

# Type selector

Syntax: elementname

Examples:

  • h1 - all <h1> elements
  • div[data-key="headline"] - all <div> elements with a data-key="headline" attribute

More information at MDN

# Class selector

Syntax: .classname

Examples:

  • .headline - all elements with class="headline" attribute
  • h1.headline - all <h1> elements with a class="headline" attribute
  • h1.headline.main - all <h1> elements with both "headline" and "main" in the class list, e.g. class="headline text-lg main"

More information at MDN

# ID selector

Syntax: #idname

Examples:

  • #main - element with id="main" attribute
  • div#main - <div> element with id="main" attribute

More information at MDN

# Attribute selector

Syntax: [attr], [attr=value], [attr~=value], [attr|=value], [attr^=value], [attr$=value], [attr*=value]

Examples:

  • a[title] - all <a> elements with a title attribute
  • a[href*="example"] - <a> elements with an href containing "example"

More examples at CSS-Tricks and more information at MDN

# Descendant selector

Syntax: A B

Examples:

  • div span - all <span> elements that are inside a <div> element
  • div#main .headline - all elements with class="headline" that are inside the <div> element with id="main"

More information at MDN

# Child selector

Syntax: A > B

Examples:

  • div > span - all <span> elements that are direct children of a <div> element
  • div#main > .headline - all elements with class="headline" that are direct children of the <div> element with id="main"

More information at MDN

# :nth-child selector

Syntax: :nth-child(x)

Examples:

  • li:nth-child(2) - selects the second child element if it's an <li> element, otherwise selects nothing

WARNING

In most cases you will probably want the non-CSS 'Element by position' selector covered in the last section. It differs from this in an important way.

More information at MDN

# :nth-of-type selector

Syntax: :nth-of-type(x)

Examples:

  • p:nth-of-type(2) - selects the second <p> child element

WARNING

In most cases you will probably want the non-CSS 'Element by position' selector covered in the last section. It differs from this in an important way.

More information at MDN

# Multiple selectors

Syntax: A, B

Examples:

  • div, span - all <div> and <span> elements
  • .headline, h2 - all elements with class="headline" and all <h2> elements

More information at MDN

# Other selectors

Feed Creator supports the following selectors that aren't part of CSS.

# Element by position

Syntax: [x]

Examples:

  • li[2] - selects the second <li> child element
  • p.info[2] - selects the second <p class="info"> child element

# Difference between [x] and :nth-child(x) and :nth-of-type(x)

Let's say we have the following HTML. A simple <div> element with 5 child elements.

<div>
  <p>Text 1</p>
  <img src="example.jpg">
  <p>Text 2</p>
  <p class="more">Text 3</p>
  <p class="more">Text 4</p>
</div>
  • p[1] selects Text 1 (the 1st p child element)
  • p[2] selects Text 2 (the 2nd p child element)
  • p.more[1] selects Text 3 (the 1st p with class "more" element)
  • p.more[2] selects Text 4 (the 2nd p with class "more" element)

What about nth-child(x)?

  • p:nth-child(1) selects Text 1 (1st child is a p element)
  • p:nth-child(2) selects nothing. (2nd child is img, not p)
  • p:nth-child(3) selects Text 2 (3rd child is a p element)
  • p.more:nth-child(1) selects nothing (1st child doesn't have class "more")
  • p.more:nth-child(2) selects nothing (2nd child is img, not p)
  • p.more:nth-child(3) selects nothing (3rd child doesn't have class "more")
  • p.more:nth-child(4) selects Text 3 (4th child is a p element with class "more")

What about nth-of-type(x)?

  • p:nth-of-type(1) selects Text 1 (the 1st p child element)
  • p:nth-of-type(2) selects Text 2 (the 2nd p child element)
  • p.more:nth-of-type(1) selects nothing (the 1st p child element does not have class "more")
  • p.more:nth-of-type(2) selects nothing (the 2nd p child element does not have class "more")
  • p.more:nth-of-type(3) selects Text 3 (the 3rd p child element has class "more")

# Extracting attribute values

THIS IS NOT CSS

CSS was created for styling elements in browsers. It's useful for selecting elements but there's no way to select attribute values directly (other than specifying that elements should contain a certain attribute value).

In Feed Creator, we use CSS not for styling, but for extracting text content from HTML elements. Sometimes that text content is inside an attribute value. So in addition to the CSS above, many of the Feed Creator fields (item title, item description, item URL, item date and item image) can also take an attribute name at the very end.

If an attribute name is given, Feed Creator will use the attribute value as the content. If an attribute name is not given, Feed Creator will use the element's text content or, in the case of item url, the href attribute, and in the case of item image, the src attribute.

Syntax: @attr

Examples:

  • img @alt - Extract the text from the alt attribute of the first <img> element
  • a @title - Extract the text from the title attribute of the first <a> element
  • time @datetime - Extract the text (date) from the datetime attribute of the first <time> element

Note: It's only possible to specify a single attribute value at the very end. The following is invalid: img @alt, a @title. The following is valid but will result in Feed Creator looking for the title attribute regardless of the element returned: img, a @title.