Semalt Expert Explains How To Work With Screen Scrapers
Screen scrapers are data mining tools that extract data from sites and provide it to users in almost any format. The data format could be API, CSV, MySQL, MS SQL, Access and, Excel. There are several synonyms for screen scrapers, including website rippers, HTML scrapers, automated data collectors and web extractors.
In the past, people used to work on mainframe computers. They had to use text-based or green-screen interfaces to work with important business information. And they used screen scraping to read text from a computer terminal screen. Today, however, screen scraping refers to obtaining data from websites to make use of it for other purposes. Screen scrapers can crawl data from multiple sites on the web to gather required data.
So how does a screen scraper work? A screen scraper can be compared to search engine crawlers or spiders. These crawlers access millions of sites, which contains multiple webpages. The spider systematically crawls or scans through these pages to collect and index data it is looking for. The collected and indexed data is then presented to the end Internet user as search engine results. Such data is normally presented in an organized manner, tailored specifically for human use.
With that said, a screen scraper will search through the code of a site and filter out the unwanted code. Therefore, the primary function of a screen scraper is to search for useful data. It extracts this data and presents it as a simple database without additional features.
There are various uses for screen scrapers, but essentially a screen scraper is used by businesses to mine relevant information from a range of keyword-related sites to generate comparison data, spreadsheets, charts, and graphs – to be used in presentations or reports. Screen scraping tools save a great deal of time because it extracts large data from the web in only a fraction of the time. An individual performing the same assignment would have to search for relevant websites, click on links, and browse each webpage to find the important information he/she needs. It can be extremely tiring and time-consuming.
While screen scrapers can become a blessing to web surfers and webmasters, they can also be used for selfish purposes. Individuals or companies who use spam as one of their advertising techniques, for instance, can take advantage of screen scrapers to illegally mine email addresses from sites.
Are there any legal ramifications of scraping other people sites without permission? Despite the fact that a screen scraper is an important computer program, it's important to keep in mind the legalities and ethics when using it. There are legal and illegal forms of screen scraping. Extracting data from someone else's website without permission may infringe copyright