What is web scraping?
Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites. It can be done manually, but it is usually done using software that automates the process.
There are many reasons why you might want to scrape data from a website. For example, you might want to collect data about products from an online store, or scrape data from a news site in order to create your own news aggregator.
In order to scrape data from a website, you will need to have some understanding of HTML and CSS, as well as the Python programming language.
Selenium is the most popular tool for web scraping, and for good reason. It’s easy to use and can handle just about anything you throw at it. The downside is that it can be slow, and it doesn’t always return the results you want.
Web Scraping API is another popular option, and it’s known for being fast and lightweight. However, it can be a bit tricky to use, and it doesn’t always give you the best results.
lxml is the last of the three options, and it’s known for being fast and reliable. However, like Web Scraping API, it can be a bit tricky to use.
Tools and libraries needed
There are many different headless browsers available, but for this tutorial we will be using Selenium. Selenium is a well-established headless browser that can be controlled with Python through the selenium package.
pip install selenium
Pros and cons of web scraping
Web scraping can be a great way to gather data from sources that don’t have an easy-to-use API. However, there are some drawbacks to consider before you start scraping.
One potential downside of web scraping is that it can be slow and resource-intensive. Scraping a large website can take a long time and use a lot of memory and CPU cycles. Additionally, if the website you’re scraping changes frequently, you’ll need to update your scraper code frequently to keep up with the changes.
Another consideration is that web scraping can sometimes be considered “scraping” content from a website without the owner’s permission. This can potentially lead to legal issues if you’re not careful about how you use the data you’ve scraped. Be sure to check the terms of service for any site you’re planning on scraping, and only scrape publicly available data.