Web Scraping is a technique to extract large amount of data from websites using some programs or applications and save it to your computer or to a database for further use. It is a technique to automate the process of collecting data from any website instead of collecting data manually.
Whenever any website that doesn’t have their API to pull data for the user then web scraping techniques can play an important role. The beauty of web scraping is that you can scrap almost any content that viewed on a web page.
These days’ web scraping solutions are in the range from traditional way of manual effort, semi- automated to fully automated scraping.
Automated web scraping is often done using custom scripting or automation tools. Python is a powerful scripting language for web scraping. Codes written in Python can be connected to website from where we want to pull data. Some big websites like Google, Twitter, Amazon, etc. having different APIs which allows third party tools to pull data from their website with some terms & conditions. So, mining these websites are not a tough call under some finite range of data provided you have an expert support. After completing that range, they charge for extra data. Scraping these websites using hard coding without their API will not be a wise decision. It may be a cause of legal issues or even blocking your IP.
In this article we will mainly focus on second type of websites that haven’t any API to pull data from their websites. To pull data from these types of website we use hard coding or web scraping software. Here we will see about that hard coding and how python is powerful for this purpose.
Python is a scripting language which can be used for various purpose, especially in big data python is used very frequently due to its user friendly characteristics. Python is the most used language for scripting web scrapping. There are many packages available in python which supports web scrapping. Some of them are:
Amazon API Wrapper
This module offers a light-weight access to the latest version of the Amazon Product Advertising API without getting in your way. An object oriented interface to Amazon products which supports both item search and item lookup. Using this package you may pull Amazon product data from Amazon website.
A module to scrape and extract links, titles and descriptions from Google search results.
This module help you in book search on Flipkart.
Scrapy is a fast high-level web crawling and web scraping framework, used to crawl websites and extract structured data from their pages. It can be used for a wide range of purposes, from data mining to monitoring and automated testing.
A powerful python module to find files in the set of paths.
A python module for scrapping data from any page. You may collect all data or some specific data using this pythn module.
This module provides multithreaded crawling, reporting, and mirroring for Web and FTP in one convenient library. Crawling depth, maximum number of URLs to crawl, and maximum number of threads are user-configurable. You may adjust all these attributes according to your requirement.
Today, web scraping is a powerful and economical way for web data mining or as the source of big data. Many specialized companies are focussed only in providing web scraping to clients.