Web Scraping Software Overview
What is Web Scraping Software?
Web scraping (or data extraction) software is used to extract unstructured data from web pages. The data is then converted into a structured format that can be loaded into a database. Examples of unstructured data might be emails or other contact info, reports, URLs, etc. The data conversion process uses a variety of tools to assess structure, including text pattern matching, tabulation, or text analytics to comprehend the text and link it to other data.
The purpose of the data can be varied. Often tools are used to scrape product pricing and descriptions from ecommerce sites. Others may be dedicated to gathering data on job descriptions or salary, or job qualifications. Some tools can be used to scrape individual background checks. Any text of interest can be the subject of web scraping software.
Features of Web Scraping and Data Extraction Software:
Web scraping/data extraction software offers the following capabilities:
Scrape text from any website (Java, dynamic website, AJAX)
Codeless drag-and-drop web parsing interface for data selection
Track and monitor pricing data
Extract HTML code
Detect data streaming from IaaS, PaaS, and data centers
Optical character recognition (OCR) for extracting text
Scan multiple file formats (e.g. PDF, Word)
Extract images or diagrams from web pages
Scheduled, automated data extraction for selected targets
Export extracted data to a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel), database, or via API
Publish data to BI tools via API
Web scraping software is generally available on a subscription basis billed monthly or annually. Alternately many vendors offer managed services, and data on demand billed per API call. Pricing usually scales by volume of sites and data sources monitored, and number of web crawlers or agents available. Additional factors are number of scheduled scrapes, number of concurrent data extractions, and available extraction speed. High tier plans may also feature live support, and dedicated customer success.