What Is Web Scraping (And What Is a Web Scraping API?)

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Automation software connects all the different pieces of the internet and digital processes together in an easy-to-use way. Web scraping and API technology combine to make automation more efficient with big returns when it comes to data.

What is web scraping? Think about that college dissertation that you had to spend hours in the library compiling materials for. What if you could have just sent a bot to get all that data for you, and even collate it? That is web scraping.

Now, imagine if there was another bot working with the first one that helps you send the materials to your professor’s mail so you don’t have to go to his office? That is a web scraping API.

In business, personal, professional, and even academic activities, there are a lot of applications for a piece of software that can source data, compile it, and then integrate it directly into another piece of software. In fact, such software is invaluable.

The world revolves around data now and the faster and easier you can get data, the better you will most likely perform in any number of fields–especially digital enterprises.

In this article, we’ll discuss the components of web scraping, a web scraping API, its applications, and why you should consider investing in a web scraping API. Feel free to explore the article with the table of contents below.

What Is Web Scraping?

So you ask again, what is web scraping? Humans scrape data from the web all the time, usually without even realizing it. When you copy and paste certain information from another site (citing it appropriately, of course), that’s scraping.

When you conduct research by recording the number of posts and followers on your competitors’ social media accounts, that’s scraping.

This process of deciding what information you need from a website and recording it is exactly what web scraping bots do. The main difference is that they can do it much more quickly and efficiently, which saves you a whole lot of time and money.

But why are web scrapers able to do this? Web pages are built with something called HTML, or hypertext markup language. Web developers use this programming language to create, change and edit page features and functions.

HTML contains all the useful information about a website’s content, which is why web scrapers are built to extract data from HTML. As the scraper interacts with a page’s HTML elements, it “parses” through the data on the page to give you the exact data you’re looking for. The scraper gathers this information and organizes it into an easy-to-read document for your own use.

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