What is web scraping?

Web scraping is a computer software technique of extracting information from websites. This technique mostly focuses on the transformation of unstructured data (HTML format) on the web into structured data (database or spreadsheet).

You can perform web scrapping in various ways, including use of Google Docs to almost every programming language. I would resort to Python because of its ease and rich eocsystem. It has a library known as ‘BeautifulSoup’ which assists this task. In this article, I’ll show you the easiest way to learn web scraping using python programming.

For those of you, who need a non-programming way to extract information out of web pages, you can also look at import.io . It provides a GUI driven interface to perform all basic web scraping operations. The hackers can continue to read this article!

The web scraping converts the unstructured data extracted into a structured data. The conversion process is tedious. Technology, however, created web scraping tools to make extraction readable. Most of these tools provide an API (Application Programming Interface) which allows sharing of two or more applications. API not only give access to data extracted but is programmable to modify the final scraping results.

Web scraping makes use of programming language which relies on the properties and structures the websites use, which may either be HTTP or HTML.

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