What Is Screen Scraping?

5 min read

What Is Screen Scraping?

Screen scraping, does it sound like something you are doing to your car windows on a frosty morning? But on the internet, 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. It empowers website admins, bloggers, columnists and virtual aides to reap information from a specific site.

About Screen Scraping Software

You may know that there are 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. That is where the screen scraping software comes in.

A powerful and easy-to-use screen scraping program is needed to scrape a large amount of screen displayed data from web pages or to collect some specific visual data on the web pages. 

Screen scraping software like Octoparse 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 is required. Some need you to have basic knowledge about HTML structure or  Xpath.

How can We Benefit from Screen Scraping Software?

By using screen scraping software, you can get screen display data from complex structured web pages accurately and transform unstructured data into usable structured data. Users with programming skills will find it easier to grab all the visual data you need. In Octoparse, you can use Xpath or regular expressions to further specify the exact data you are looking for, and grab data that is not visible on the screen but exists in the HTML of the web page.

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