What to Do When You Get Parsing Errors in Python?
Gleb Lepeshkin
Gleb Lepeshkin Published: 2023/05/31

You may be familiar with the concept of human language grammar, syntax, and interpretation. The same principles apply when we are talking about a computer language with one fundamental difference: here you need to be understood by the machine and its configuration, so that your commands would be “interpreted” properly to get the expected or desired results on the output.

These days, thousands and thousands of programmers are getting themselves familiar with Python and its functionality. For some it will be a transition from other languages that they became familiar with in the past, and for the budding geniuses it can be yet another language to learn to code. Anyway, we are here to help you in resolving some of the pesky problems caused by parsing errors that you may have in your program prior to executing it.

In the event that you want to create a Python script that will have IP address rotation in it with datacenter rotating proxies involved in scraping, you want to eliminate any parsing errors before such script becomes executable. So, read on to have a better idea on how to avoid errors in creating your bots and scripts in Python.

Now, let’s consider the most common parsing errors that you may come across. And here, we traditionally start with definitions and basic principles that relate to the subject. 

Parsing Errors in Python: What Are They?

Computing languages can be subdivided into these two major groups: compiled and scripting languages (also known as interpreted languages). Now, in case of compiled languages, the code that you write can be executed only upon compilation. Basically, you get an executable file once the compilation is complete. And in scripting languages such as Python, JavaScript, or Ruby that gained popularity in recent years, the code is executed line by line after being translated into machine code.

The object of our review is parsing errors. This is a type of error that can stop your code from execution until the error is resolved. This is similar to speaking a foreign language to a stranger while getting clear feedback about failed communication. Your opponent might frown, raise his voice or laugh depending on the type of mistake you make. Similarly, Python’s interpreter is there for you to spot such an error in code to prompt you on fixing it prior to execution, except maybe for the fact that Python will not have as acute mimics as a live person. 

Main Causes of Parsing Errors in Python

Now, let’s consider the things that can lead to parsing errors inside Python. Most of such problems occur due to the presence of syntax errors, such as incorrect indentations, extra or missing brackets, or using reserved keywords for variables. All of this information should help you avoid parsing errors, while building your bots for web scraping in Python

The general outline of causes of parsing errors include the following: 

Inconsistent Indentation Inside the Code

For the code to be properly executable, it needs to have consistent indentation. Failure to do so can result in parsing errors during interpretation caused by improper alignment.

Presence of Mismatched Brackets

All types of brackets (or parentheses) used in the code need to be matched, with no exception. In case of mismatched parentheses (this includes square brackets, curly braces, or square brackets) you are likely to have parsing errors.

Invalid Characters in the Code

Should you have any invalid characters in the code files (including some ASCII characters) can cause parsing errors during execution. 

Improper Use of Quotes 

Both single and double quotes are used in Python. In case of mismatched quotes you can also get a parsing error just like in the event of mismatched brackets.

Invalid Use of Operators

This may sound obvious, but if any of the Python’s operators are not used correctly, then a parsing error would occur. This relates to such cases as using comparison operators instead of assignment operators.

Extra or Missing Commas

And, finally, let’s talk about commas. Lists or tuple strings are separated by commas in Python. An extra or missing comma breaks the code syntax and can trigger a parsing error when encountered.

There also may be a case of parseerrors caused by class or type mismatch during parsing of pages by a script written in Python. Such errors are detected inside the parser when an integral module (e.g. html.parser) fails to fetch a value based on the data that you parsed. This usually happens when you import a class, initialize it, and then work with the functions of this class. So, when Python html parsing strings catch errors during online missions, it may be due to things like type or class mismatch.  

What Is SyntaxError in Python?

You will get a SyntaxError in Python in case there is a problem with syntax of the code you want to execute. Some of the most common syntax errors include incorrect punctuation, improper use of operators or spelling mistakes in the keywords. 

When Python catches a SyntaxError contained in the code, it highlights it with an error message and the line number where the error appeared. During execution, it will look something like this: 

Python source:

# people.py 2 ages = { 3    ‘pete’: 30, 4    ‘mike’: 32 5    ‘john’: 43 6 } 7 print(f’Pete is {ages[“pete”]} years old.’)


$ python people.pyFile “people.py”, line 5    ‘john’: 43            ^SyntaxError: invalid syntax

Here, you see the interpreter catching a syntax error in line 5, however, the missing comma is actually in line 4. It implies that up until this moment everything appeared to be syntactically normal. So, you need to go to the code prior to the highlighted line to trace the error. 

In terms of the information you can get from the SyntaxError message, you will have the filename, the exact number of the line where the error was detected (the whole line is also displayed), the caret sign (^) pointing at the error, and the type of SyntaxError that the interpreter identifies. 

What is IndentationError in Python?

IndentationError is a type of SyntaxError that marks out mistakes made in code related to mismatched indentation. This is an important parameter, since Python uses spaces and tabs for denoting blocks of code. So, when the interpreter detects an incorrect number of spaces in code, the following type of situation may occur. 

Python source:

​# example.py 2 def foo(): 3    for i in range(10): 4        print(i) 5  print(‘complete’) 6 7 foo()


$ python example.py  File “example.py”, line 5    print(‘complete’)                ^IndentationError: unindent does not match any outer indentation level

Here, we see the indentation error that points out that the print command is not properly aligned with the loop that it is a part of. 

You can fix this error by adding spaces to indent the line properly to include the print(‘complete’) line into the loop.

What to Do with Parsing Errors in Python

Well, like with all types of computer-related errors, getting parsing errors in Python can be an unexpected and even stressful experience to handle. However, there are some tips that you can follow to minimize the amount of hassle and time required to eliminate such errors.   

First, you should read the error message carefully to identify the reason for the error. The type of error should prompt you where to look for, since, in some cases, the caret may not be pointing at the exact problem. You may need to trace the code back to reveal the real cause of the error. 

Secondly, you will need to make proper corrections in the code that you have written so far. Yes, handling this may appear as a tedious task, but this way you will correct the error on the spot to clean the code. 

And, finally, re-run the interpreter to validate your code until the end of the file is reached. With proper Python code free from all parsing errors, you will be able to ensure flawless execution of your project. 

What Proxies We Offer For Python Scripts

We at PrivateProxy have over a decade of successful execution of proxy solutions involving all sorts of bots and scripts written in Python. We offer both high-end residential proxies, and datacenter proxies for you to be able to use them for web scraping and parsing missions. Our proxies will also help you in avoiding geo blocks and restrictions imposed by HTTP cookies of the target sites that you will be accessing on a regular basis. And should you have any questions about the use of our IPs with your custom-made applications, please do not hesitate to start a conversation with us using the chat-box below. We are known for great customer care, but we want you to experience it for yourself!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please read our Documentation if you have questions that are not listed below.

  • What should I do to avoid parsing errors in Python?

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  • Are all parsing errors – syntax errors?

    With no exceptions for a parsing error to occur, some improper syntax should be present in the code. It can be a missing comma, bracket or misaligned code. So, all syntax errors are parsing errors, but not all parsing errors are based on problems with syntax only.

  • What do I do, when a parsing error occurs?

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