About web-scraping

Web scraping refers to the process of using bots to extract content and data from a website. This information is collected and then exported into structured data in a spreadsheet or a database so that it can be used in various applications.

Some websites can contain a very large amount of invaluable data: stock prices, product details, sports stats, company contacts and others. If you wanted to access this information, you’d either have to use whatever format the website uses or copy-paste the information manually into a new document. Here’s where web scraping can help.

Some of the main use cases of web scraping include price monitoring, price intelligence, news monitoring, lead generation, and market research among many others. In general, web data extraction is used by people and businesses who want to make use of the vast amount of publicly available web data to make smarter decisions.

First, the web scraper will be given one or more URLs to load before scraping. The scraper then loads the entire HTML code for the page in question. More advanced scrapers will render the entire website, including CSS and Javascript elements. Then the scraper will either extract all the data on the page or specific data selected by the user before the project is run. For example, you might want to scrape an Amazon product page for prices and models.

Most web scrapers will output data to a CSV or Excel spreadsheet, while more advanced scrapers will support other formats such as JSON which can be used for an API.