Best Ways to Learn Web Scraping: With Best Recommendations!

If someone wants to learn web scraping well, they must first identify the right resources from which they can learn data science in an easy way. In this article, we've covered the methods and resources you need to learn web scraping, as well as how to get started.

September 9, 2022
Best Ways to Learn Web Scraping: With Best Recommendations!

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Best Ways to Learn Web Scraping: With Best Recommendations!

Overview

When a person copies any piece of information from a website and saves it in another file, they have actually done what a regular web scraper would do. The biggest difference between manual copy-paste and automatic web scraping is that the manual process takes place on a smaller scale. When it comes to web scraping, intelligent and automated automation must be used to extract data from hundreds or even millions of data points.

As one of the basic elements of web scraping, a web scraper loads multiple URL addresses and then ensures that the entire HTML code for these selected pages is loaded, so the process is extremely complicated. For websites that contain elements such as JavaScript and CSS, web scraping will become even more complex as a more advanced web scraper is required. Due to the complex nature of web scraping, web scraping is an extremely difficult skill to learn. If someone wants to learn web scraping well, they must first identify the right resources from which they can learn data science in an easy way. In this article, we've covered the methods and resources you need to learn web scraping, as well as how to get started.

Web scraping is not something that an ordinary person can easily perform. In order to obtain properly designed, structured and accurate data in line with the web scraping project, it is necessary to be an expert in this field. We at Scrape.do offer you a web scraper tool created by our expert developers. Moreover, since your transaction takes place over the cloud, it will not use your internet or the power of your computer. Contact us to get the best service at the most affordable prices!

 

What You Should Know Before You Start Learning Web Scraping

There are web scrapers available in the form of browser extensions, software, or a cloud-based service that you can access over the Internet. It is quite natural that you do not have any information about which of these web scrapers you want to use and how to use them, there is no need to hesitate. In this section, we told you about the best web scraping libraries you can choose for your project:

  • BeautifulSoup: BeautifulSoup, which is the easiest tool you can choose among the libraries and tools we mentioned in this section, also has some disadvantages. When you use BeautifulSoup, you must additionally use a request library to make requests to the website, and you must have a parser to extract data. Because of such features, code transfer between web scraping projects becomes extremely complex.
  • Selenium: You do not need to use an extra parser like BeautifulSoup in Selenium, which also allows you to extract data from websites that use JavaScript to create dynamic content on the page. However, one of the most important disadvantages of Selenium is that it is an extremely slow library. The reason for this is that all the scripts on the website will be run and scanned.

Learn also: The Components of Web Scraping

How Should You Start Learning Web Scraping?

Learning web scraping may seem extremely complicated as there are a lot of programming languages ​​and libraries you can learn, but it is also possible that you can learn it in an easier way. In this section, we've given you five different tips on how to get started learning web scraping the easiest.

1. Level Up Starting Easy

If you have decided to create your first scraper to run a web scraping project, you should not lose your enthusiasm by trying to collect the most complex collections of data from the most complex web pages, but instead, you should start with simpler methods.

There are also websites that are specially designed for people to learn web scraping more easily, you should make maximum use of these websites as the sole purpose of these websites is for people to practice. For example, Quotes.toscrape.com would be a good starting practice. However, you should not only use websites designed for web scraping, but after you have mastered the basics of the process, you should go after data that match your interests. If you go after websites that will interest you, you will feel motivated and will enable you to search for new solutions and approaches on your own.

Whatever software language you use, as long as you follow this first recommendation, you will be extremely productive. In addition, this method will be extremely useful for you whether you use a programming language or not. If you want to get used to the basics of books like BeautifulSoup and Scrapy, going very slowly will get better results.

2. Master BeautifulSoup

If you are confident that you have learned the basics, have practiced enough, and have chosen the Python programming language, the next step should be to master the BeautifulSoup library. Mastering BeautifulSoup, a very powerful parsing tool with many different possibilities, can take a long time. After mastering this tool, you will know all the arguments in the find and find_all methods, the concept of parents, children, and siblings, and the attributes in HTML tags as well as an expert software engineer. You will also be able to learn some HTML knowledge after mastering BeautifulSoup.

3. Get Interested in JavaScript

If you have followed the steps correctly and have mastered BeautifulSoup, there is no obstacle for you to scrape a lot of data now. However, when you eventually parse the HTML document on a page, you may encounter pages and content that are unexplainable. The most important reason for this is that some pages have been created in the JavaScript programming language that the libraries you have worked with so far cannot handle. At this stage, you will see Selenium. Preventing you from accessing all the content of the page because you've loaded everything, Selenium is actually like an automated browser that lets you interact with the page like a real person.

Selenium, which you can use for other tasks besides collecting data generated by JavaScript, is a tool that will help you interact with the page on the website just before collecting data. Since the term interaction here may confuse you, let's explain it with an example. You create interaction when you click a button on a website, fill out a form, tick a box, scroll up or down, or press any key on the keyboard.

4. Thoroughly Understand APIs

If you have come this far, we can easily say that you have all kinds of information about scraping websites. However, if you are still not satisfied with where you are and want to improve yourself more, you can try interacting with APIs. API, short for Application Programming Interface, is used by many websites and the general purpose is to connect the front ends of the website to the back ends.

Gathering data from a website's APIs can be much faster and simpler than parsing and scraping the HTML using BeautifulSoup, or simply using the Selenium library to extract data from a website content created with JavaScript. Moreover, you can get the data on the website in a complete and structured way, just as the website itself gets from the backend just before the website shows it to you. Although it is not easy to implement this at first, there is no doubt that you can learn this if you have reached this stage.

5. Learn About More Tools

Although you know all about web scraping and have done a lot of practice, the truth is that every time you start scraping more complex websites, you will face new challenges to overcome. However, you should not let this make you lose your motivation, because there will be many new tools you can use to meet these challenges.

 

Best Resources for Learning Web Scraping

We have already mentioned that web scraping is of an extremely complex nature, so learning web scraping can also be extremely difficult. Assuming you are a student, we have listed the best resources for you to learn web scraping.

1. Online Courses

The internet has been flooded with tons of online courses lately, as almost everyone is starting to learn something online. That's why the best place to start learning web scraping is the internet. It is possible to find many online courses with both paid and free versions on the Internet, and sometimes you can get a certificate by completing the course completely free of charge. The following courses we have provided for you were the best courses to refresh your knowledge, whether you are a beginner or an expert:

  • Web Scraping By DataCamp in Python: This course is ideal for people who want to fully explore the concept of website scraping. This online course will also cover information such as HTML structures, XPath syntax, selectors, CSS locators, and responses. You will be able to apply all the techniques you will learn in this course to other Python libraries as well as to Scrapy. The first few parts of the course are completely free and you can complete the course in four hours.
  • Web Scraping in Nodejs By Udemy: In the Web Scraping course on Node.js, which you can access via Udemy, you first learn how to scrape the web with Nodejs, Puppeteer, and Cheerio. Next, you will be taught other methods you need to know to scrape a website. Although this course is a paid course, it is lifetime access and is only a 10-hour course.

2. Books

In addition to the internet, where you can access a lot of information as soon as possible, you should also consider making use of books. In the web scraping area, you can find books on Python web scraping, PHP web scraping, Java web scraping, and more. Many of these books have been covered by experts, many are also available in e-book form, and some are completely free. Here are the best books you can use to improve your web scraping knowledge:

  • Web Scraping with Python by Richard Lawson: This book, which describes a web scraping process by combining real-life problems and solutions, is an extremely valuable book written by a real-life web scraping practitioner. After reading this book, you will learn in detail about Scrapy, learn how to deal with CAPTCHA, see how dynamics are handled, and learn what simultaneous downloads are. Let's also say that this book is a book that anyone with basic Python knowledge can read.
  • Web Bots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers by Michael Schrenk: This book describes how you can automate your purchases, and also explains how to interpret and analyze information you get from a website. Since all the codes in this book are extremely simple, we can say that this book can be read and used without difficulty by people who are new to web scraping.

3. Videos

We have said that the internet is one of the fastest places to learn about a subject. Although it is claimed that there is a lot of worthless information on the Internet, the number of valuable resources is also quite high. If you want to get started with web scraping, you can also use videos, which can be an excellent resource for learning a new topic. You should also remember that a video helps a student gain the visual understanding necessary to understand a topic. In addition, if a student wants to understand the process better, they can watch the parts they want again.

4. Blogs

Since data is obtained with web scraping and data is a serious need for companies from all industries, it has become popular day by day and everyone has started researching on the internet about web scraping. The result was blogs that gave clear information about web scraping and tried to explain the process accurately. While most of these blogs are ideal for beginners, some content has advanced information that can be used by experts as well. Access to these blogs is mostly completely free, and if a student has a question on a topic, the student will also be able to start a discussion with the author.

If you don't want to go through the hassle of learning web scraping addition to the hassle of web scraping, we have a great offer for you. At scrape.do, we want to help you with the web scraping project you want by offering the best performance at the most affordable prices. To contact us, simply use the contact information on our website.

Learn more: Large Scale Web Scraping

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