In this online world it is vital to be able to communicate data online, quickly and easily. Web scraping and APIs allow you to automate this process.
Using the Power of Web Scraping and APIs
As the world goes more and more online, it is not uncommon to find we spend more and more time querying websites and copying the results into our own systems. This can be a long, laborious and error-prone process.
Web scrapping applications can automate this process for you. They can;
- Open a website and log on
- Perform queries such as searches
- Navigate the results following a given logic
- Extract data from the site
- Enter data into the site
- Log out of the site again
The software does this by identifying elements in the browser window and simulating mouse clicks and keypresses. When in operation, RPA just looks like a human doing the work, just a lot quicker.
The software can perform these tasks at set times of the day, at set time intervals or on a more ad hoc basis.
To speed up the process even further, we can use API’s and bypass the web pages altogether.
What Are APIs?
APIs, or to give them their full title “Application Programming Interfaces”, is a system that allows one application to access and operate another application.
By using APIs, we completely bypass the need to download complete web pages, that we then need programming to interpret and manipulate. Instead we communicate directly with the websites back ends.
A lot of online services offer free access to their APIs, some will need you to register for access and some will charge you for access.
Advantages of Web Scraping Software and API Services
In this online world there are many advantages to connecting to websites and online data sources – especially if you can automate the whole process. Here are some major advantages;
Automate Data Extraction
The biggest benefit of data scraping and API services is you can fully automate the extraction of data from online services.
Data scraper and API services free you from the laborious, time-consuming tasks of searching online, copying records, pasting data and so on. Saving your time and money.
Data scraping software can access websites a lot quicker than any human. If APIs are used, web pages are by passed making things even faster.
Automate Data Entry
Data scraping is not just a one-way flow of data. Data scraping software and API services can also be used to enter data into online systems.
Once set up, a web scraping / API service is very low maintenance. Should a website change its layout, updating the web scraping / API service is quick and easy.
Everything is fully automated so there are no opportunities for human errors to creep in. It can also detect and cope with problems with web pages not loading correctly.