Basic Introduction to Scraping Bot and Web Scraping APIMonday, May 17, 2021
Crawling the web for relevant web data is fast becoming the norm among many businesses. To be at the top of this data game, you need a good scraper bot and web scraping API to make the data crawling and retrieval process easy.
Before we go into details about the practical uses of scraper bots and web scraping APIs, let’s first look into what these two terminologies mean.
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What is a Scraper Bot?
Scraper bots are tools or pieces of code used to extract data from web pages. These bots are like tiny spiders that run through different web pages in a website to extract the specific data they were created to get.
The process of extracting data with a scraper bot is called web scraping. At the final stage of web scraping, the scraper bot exports the extracted data in the desired format(e.g JSON, Excel, XML, HTML, etc) of the user.
As simple as this process might sound, there are a few web scraping challenges you can face that could hinder you from getting the data you want. However, with a good web scraping tool, you can scale through these hurdles.
What is API?
An API is a set of rules that developers follow when interacting with a programming language. In layman's terms, an API is an interface, the intermediary between two applications. While web scraping is used to extract data from a website, an API provides access to the data.
In other words, APIs don't extract data. They only give you access to the data made available by the website owner. That is to say, not all data can be gotten with API. You can only access data the owner of the website wants you to have.
In order to access every data on a site in real-time, you need a web scraper. With a web scraper, you will be able to get more data than what a website’s API can give.
What is Web Scraping API?
After a web scraper has extracted data for you from a website, a web scraping API is needed for you to get you data. The API connection(web scraping API) provided by the web scraping service provider makes it possible for users to download their scraped data into their designated database.
With web scraping API, users can get scraped data into their database automatically once a particular data is updated.
The Practical Uses of Scraping Bots
Scraper bots help people retrieve small-scale data from multiple websites. With these data, online directories like Job boards, Sports websites, and Real estate websites can be built. Aside from these, so much more can still be done with a scraper bot. Some of the popular practical uses we see include:
Market Research: Many online retailers rely on web scraping bots to help them understand their competitors and overall market dynamics. That way, they can develop strategies that will help them stay ahead of the competition.
Stock Market Analysis: For stock traders to predict the market, they need data and many of them get that data with web scraping. Stock price prediction and stock market sentiment analysis with web scraping is becoming a trending topic. If you are a stock trader, this is something you have to know about.
Search Engine Optimization(SEO): SEO companies rely heavily on web scraping for many things. First, in order to monitor the competitive position of their customers or their indexing status, web scraping is needed. Also, to find the right keywords for a content, a scraper bot is used. With web scraping, there are so many actionable SEO hacks that can be implemented to optimize a web page.
The Practical Uses of API
Extracting data from social media platforms
Big social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Stackflow provide their own API for users to access their data. With these web APIs, you can get structured data from the website.
A social media website like Facebook is very strict when it comes to data scraping. It is the biggest social media platform and has the largest social media activity. Therefore, their data is considered to be highly precious. They completely prohibit all automated scrapers from crawling their website because they want to guide their users' data from the eyes of the general public.
However, since data enthusiasts show so much interest in Facebook's data, Facebook has made it possible for developers to access their data with Facebook API called Graph API. In this case, you don't need a web scraper, you can just use Facebook API directly to access your data.
To know more about Graph API and how to use it, check here. The website has provided many simple and easy-to-grasp methods with detailed guidelines for users to learn and access its resources.
The Practical Uses of Web Scraping API
Like we said, web scraping API is an API provided by web scrapers for users to get scraped data into their database. A practical use of this is seen with Octoparse’s API.
Octoparse is a cloud-based web scraping tool that is specially designed for non-coder to extract data from complex websites. Octoparse has two types of API; Standard and Advanced API.
With Standard API, Octoparse is able to send any extracted data from its cloud server into a user’s in-house database.
Advanced API can do all that Standard API does. But in addition to that, Advanced API makes it possible for users to access and manipulate their data stored in the cloud.
If you have found it frustrating to use API, you will be pleased to know that Octoparse makes it very easy for you to integrate its API.
Both webs scraping bots and APIs are very important for you to achieve your web scraping goals. To save yourself a lot of stress and to get the best web scraping experience possible, you should use Octoparse for all your web scraping tasks.