Web scrapers are used for websites’ data extraction and analysis. They can be implemented as browser extensions, desktop programs, or cloud solutions. The range of their applications is as wide as all human activity on the Internet. A custom web-scraper is a web program that collects some specifically chosen data from a chosen website, organizes it, and saves it in a readable for people format, so it could be used by the user manually. It consists of the analyzed website’s HTML, the web scraper’s soft itself (it can be implemented via different platforms), and a database for the scraped data. As web scrapers work with websites there is no wonder that many of them are built with PHP. But what a perfect web scraper should look like?

Technologies to use or building a web scraper

You can use lots of programming languages, libraries, and frameworks for web scraper development. The three most popular and relevant are PHP, Python, and Node.Js. Technically you can write a scraper with anything but there are advantages and disadvantages of any approach in practice. For example, Node.js is a great web platform for web scraping and data crawling. Based on JavaScript, Node.js is mostly used for web-pages indexing and can simultaneously support both distributed crawling and data scraping. Nevertheless, this language is only suitable for some basic web-scraping projects and doesn’t cope well with complex large-scale tasks. Another programming language – Python is probably one of the most efficient and comfortable languages to build a web-scraper. It provides you a great set of tools to make the most advanced scraping and crawling software. Such great frameworks like Scrapy and BeautifulSoup are available. Both are probably the best and most used libraries for web-scrapers. Scrapy is one of the most well-known scraping frameworks today and offers many useful tools for the most advanced projects, while BeautifulSoup is simpler in use and works out for less demanding projects.

Last but not least is PHP. It is known to be one of the best and most efficient web software development languages. Unlike Node.js, PHP perfectly suits developers, who want to create advanced scrapers and crawlers. PHP developers may count on a great tool while working: Gouette. Gouette is a great open-source library suitable for building web scrapers. This platform deals with web-crawling, making it essential when creating a complex scraper. A very important thing about making your web scraper with PHP is interoperability. It is well-known that 4 out of 5 websites globally are built with PHP. Naturally, to scrap these websites you need a PHP-based scraper for faster execution and better performance.

What a perfect scraper has to cope with

If you are to make the best web scraper you have to make sure that it is capable of acting under aggressive conditions. What can endanger your web scraper’s work?

  1. Diversity of the websites you parse. Every website is individual: developers use different programming languages, frameworks, and approaches. This mostly forces web scraper developers to make separate scrapers for single sites or groups of sites. More websites your scraper can deal with – more it will cost to you. So our perfect scraper can deal with one or a few websites and the websites you parse have to similar in terms of their functionality and structure.
  2. Countermeasures. The web-arms race never stops, so the team that is developing your web scraper must be aware of all the latest methods of anti-scraping protection that are implemented mostly by commercial websites. So a perfect scraper is always updating to keep up with overwhelming obstacles.
  3. Dynamic websites. Dynamic websites are harder to parse because you cannot access their data right away. Overcoming this simple, yet very effective measure won’t be an impossible task to do, however, it will take more time to build a scraper that is capable of parsing dynamic websites.

Final word

Building such a piece of software as a web scraper is a very specific task. It demands great skill and experience, not to mention that the team working on it has to track updated information regarding anti-scraping tools all the time. SapientPro is a perfect team to work with if you want to build and exploit your own web scraper. Our company has worked on numerous projects, built Internet bots for lots of purposes. Our web scrapers can parse up to 25 million high-demand goods simultaneously, updating the data every 36 hours. Our systems can automatically buy high-demand products within a few seconds after they become available! We offer advanced cloud solutions and all the maintenance services. Choose future, choose SapientPro!


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