September 21, 2020

Web scraping with Python-based tools

3 min read

Would you like to access a large amount of data from websites quickly and effortlessly? How can you do this without going to any website manually and getting the data? Ok, the solution is “Web Scraping.” Web Scraping makes this task faster and smoother. In addition, there are a range of scrape webpages available that enable companies efficiently retrieve and transfer data from a single website to a local computer system. Also, proxy scarping makes data mining faster, as it scrapes the website anonymously.

Web scraping is a method by which algorithms are used to scrape web items and data from a website. Unlike screen scraping, which only captures the pixels shown on the screen, web scraping collects the corresponding HTML code and the repository data. The free scraper will then recreate the entire content of the website elsewhere. It’s also essential to choose the right language to scrape webpage because it seems illogical to go with a runtime environment that doesn’t deliver the desired results or waste your time.

What is Python?

Python is regarded as the most influential web scraper tool. It’s more of an all-rounder that can manage most web crawling operations efficiently. Scrape and Beautiful Soup were amongst the commonly used Python-based libraries that make it so simple to scrape using this language. These highly-developed web scraping libraries enable Python the smartest web scraping language. 

Using Python-based web-scraping software has a range of advantages. Each tool has its aspects, respectively. Below is a short overview of a couple that I want to use and what they may help you with when it’s time for the web-scrape.

Scrapy

Scrapy is an open-source, interactive web scraping application, apparently written in Python. According to Scrap’s official documents, “Structured data may be collected and can be used for a wide variety of practical purposes, such as data mining, information retrieval, or chronological archiving.”

One of the key benefits of Scrapy, similar to other web-scraping applications, is that it is designed on top of a warped, distributed networking architecture. In other words, it indicates improved performance when calling for one-by-one data to be extracted without needing to wait for initial queries to be fulfilled. 

Urllib2

The urllib2 is a Python 2 module (called urllib. request and urllib. error in Python 3) that specifies functions and classes that help open URLs in a dynamic environment i.e., simple and digest authorization, redirects, cookies, etc. The most significant benefit of urllib2 is that it is called the main Python library package, which means that you’re ready to go as long as you have Python loaded.

Requests

This module was standard until a unique tool called Requests was introduced. Like urllib2, Requests provides a more robust official specification repository and helps users submit raw, grass-fed HTTP/1.1 requests without manual feedback. Today, Requests is probably the most prevalent module for Python. Unlike urllib2, Requests are not pre-installed with Python, which means that the user would have to load it before using it. 

Beautiful Soup

Beautiful Soup is indeed a Python library developed for quicker response tasks such as screen-scrapping and extracting data sets from configured pages. The Pythonic idioms for browsing, searching, and manipulating the parse tree are noteworthy features. Beautiful Soup can also transform incoming documents to Unicode and outgoing UTF-8 transcripts. Beautiful Soup works on standard Python parsers like lxml and html5lib, which encourage you to explore specific parsing techniques. 

Selenium

Selenium Python bindings is a writing tool that helps you to test web-based applications using Selenium WebDriver. It can easily manage JavaScript-heavy websites, which are becoming wildly influential, also offers a simple way to extract data from JavaScript-based pages.

We also use Scrapy selectors during the scraping process to catch the Markup that Selenium creates. Selenium Python bindings offer a simple API for accessing Selenium Web Drivers such as Firefox, IE, Chrome, Phone, and more. The Python versions currently available are 2.7, 3.5, and above.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know the functions and effectiveness of the various web scraping languages, it’s time to choose the best one for you and start scraping. However, it is necessary to exercise caution and follow the best practices of web scraping, such as reaching servers and scraping within a reasonable timeframe.