What's Web Scraping?
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
What is web scraping
Web scraping (also termed web data extraction, screen scraping, or web harvesting) is a web technique of extracting data from the web, and turning unstructured data on the web (including HTML formats) into structured data that you can store to your local computer or a database. Usually, data available on the Internet is only viewable with a web browser, and has little or no structure. Almost all the websites do not provide users with the functionality to save a copy of the data displayed on the web. The only option is human’s manual copy-and-paste action. No doubt that it will be time-consuming and boring to manually capture and separate these data you want exactly. Fortunately, the web scraping technique can execute the process automatically and organize them very well in minutes, instead of manually coping the data from websites.
The use of web scraping
Nowadays, web scraping has been widely used in various fields, such as news portals, blogs, forums, e-commerce websites, social media, real estate, financial reports, And the purposes of web scraping are also various, including contact scraping, online price comparison, website change detection, web data integration, weather data monitoring, research, etc.
Web scraping techniques
The web scraping technique is implemented by web-scraping software tools. These tools interacts with websites in the same way as you do when using a web browser like Chrome. In addition to display the data in a browser, web scrapers extract data from web pages and store them to a local folder or database. There are lots of web-scraping software tools on the Internet. Octoparse could be a smart one, the value of which is that you can extract any web data easily and free, even collect a large amount of source data from some very dynamic websites(data that changes very frequently).
Web scraping tools like ours enable you to configure web-scraping tasks to run on multiple websites at the same time, as well as schedule each extraction task to run automatically. You can configure your tasks to run as frequently as you like, such as hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly.
Author: The Octoparse Team
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