Web Scraping Made Simple!
The purpose of web scraping is to simulate the human browsing experience by replicating computer commands to browse, search, navigate, and ultimately extract specific data fields from a web page. The benefit and value of web scraping lies in the automation of the data collections and the transformation of the data itself from an unstructured format to a structured format such as CSV, TSV, or XML where it can be uploaded, stored and analyzed.
Many companies use web data collection to copy data sets from websites, usually in long lists, or on items that change regularly. This translates into a steady stream of updating data; with Mozenda, as much as every 15 minutes! Applications of this method include:
- Collect product and pricing information on similar goods sold by competitors.
- Gather news, articles, blog posts, etc, and compile into a single RSS feed.
- Monitor account data on a scheduled basis and perform routine actions automatically.
- Monitor changing items on the web and have updates emailed to you.
- Compile and regularly update contact lists.
There are several alternative techniques to web scraping which are human labor intensive or require advanced computer or programming skills. These methods are primarily ad hoc techniques used to find and isolate data elements within the HTML of a web page. Although these techniques can be useful and are still performed by many companies, they are time consuming to develop and difficult to maintain. Some of these techniques include:
- Human Copy & Paste
- Text Grepping
- HTTP Programming
- HTML Parsing
- DOM Parsing
- Computer Vision web page analyzing
Mozenda Training Videos
|Input Text Into a Form||0:44|
|Click the “Next” Button to Load the Next Page of Results||1:58|
|Schedule an Agent to Run Regularly||1:08|
|Combine the Contents of Two Fields||1:16|