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What Is Screen Scraping?

Friday, April 01, 2016


What's screen scraping

Screen scraping would possibly sound like something you are doing to your car windows on a frosty morning, but on the web it means collecting data from a website you plan to crawl. Screen scraping, also known as web scraping or data scraping is the process of collecting screen data from rendered pages on the web, and turning the data into visual formats.

Screen scraping is a very important technique in data integration. It has been widely used in different areas and empower website admins, bloggers , columnist and virtual aides to reap information from a specific site.


About screen scraping software

Now you may find different screen scraping software or open sources to help you grab data from the web. But before screen scraping, the only option is to manually copy and paste the data from websites to a local file in your laptop, which is a very tedious job that takes you hours or even days to complete. And that is where the screen scraping software comes in. A powerful and easy-to-use screen scraping program is needed to scrape large amount of screen display data from web pages or to collect some specific visual data on the web pages 

Software like ours enables you to work with dynamic unstructured data by just clicking on single data points. Some tools are for non-programmers and thus no coding required. Some need you to have basic knowledge about HTML structure or  X path.

By using screen scraping software, you can get screen display data from more complex structured web pages accurately and transform unstructured data into usable structured data. For users who have programming skills will find it easier to grab all the visual data you need from websites.  In our tool,you can use X path or regular expressions to further specify the exact data you are looking for, and grab data that is not visible on the screen but is existed in the html of the web page.



 Author: The Octoparse Team




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