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What is Web Scraping and Why Do You Need This?

By Jayan Thomas Subscribe to RSS | May 18th 2012 | Views:

Web harvesting or web scraping, a method of collecting data online from various websites is a widely popular system among e-business associates. This method is basically performed by a computer program which extracts web content (or data in computer language) from the display output of other sites or other programs. Computer programs which are designed to extract web content are called as web scraper or web content extractor. Now, you may ask what the reason is for extracting data from websites.

There are numerous online businesses which need a pull of information for their core business purposes. Like if you are into any sort of e-commerce, say in e-gifting, you need to collect information regarding different gift items of different companies or brands. From product name, description to the features and price, you need to put together all such information in your e-gift portal. If you are thinking this sounds such an easy job, then I must tell you that you don't collect information about 1 or 2 products, may be you have to collect as many as 10,000 products of different categories. Now, you can assume how much time consuming the procedure can be and why people are going for the extract web content software.

The procedure of website data collection does not end here. You also have to save the data systematically in an excel sheet. This is what makes this whole process quite troublesome. Copying data from numerous websites and pasting the same properly in another excel sheet is very much taxing and you cannot rule out the chance of human error. Even a slight error cannot be rectified, or if rectified, it will consume another mammoth amount of time. To solve all such issues related to web data collection, the computer programs come to rescue. Web scraping has become the need of the day as human data entry sometimes fail to meet the requirements.

A web scraping software is built to meet the core requirements of the business persons or people who need a huge data resource. For error-free data mining, you must take help of a program which will extract web content quickly, appropriately and in an organized way. Website scrapers are designed in a way that they can navigate through multiple websites, extract web content from the sites and copy into excel sheet or other kind of database securely for future use.

For a business, it is very crucial to collect and store important data. Every company feels the need to extract web content. Either for analyzing in-house growth or reviewing competitors’ performance, you must need a web scraping software which will extract web content, data and information and store them collectively in main database. For a cosmetics firm, it is highly important to maintain a proper and regularly updated product catalogue. But manually maintaining a database and updating regularly can be taxing as I said before. Hence you need to take help of an automated system. There comes the need of extract web content tools.

Jayan Thomas - About Author:
To know more about how to extract web content through a web scrapper, you can contact Adam Phillips, the author of this article who has been researching on different web scraping tools and methods for years.

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