I have to scrape data from a website, do I need to know some programming language?

2 min read

No, you don’t. Let’s look at this in more detail.

For web scraping, you need to know at least the basics of HTML markup, and it is desirable to have a basic knowledge of Javascript. So if you seriously want to scrape something, you should start with a study of these two technologies.

Nevertheless, many answer this question as follows: “You have to learn some programming language, then download this cool library, then do this and that”. However, programming is not accessible and understandable by all, and the data are still needed. Such is a vicious circle, where the data is still needed, and a person can not scrape it.

So what do I do?

The easiest way is to hire a freelancer, and it’s possible he does everything correctly, but there is always a But! It costs money and sometimes it may be costly. If something goes wrong with the scraper, you have to hire a freelancer again to fix it. You also need a computer or a server, and enough time to set up environment and scraper. It can become a nightmare! – “install that” or “write that in the console”. A person just wants it to work! Now imagine that you have a store, for example, and want to monitor the prices of competitors. You would need 10, 20, or 100 scrapers to do it. Everything starts to become difficult; you have to type these strange commands to the console over and over again.

Is there something not so complicated?

Some services allow you to scrape websites without any knowledge of programming languages. It’s simple. Run the application (or use a built-in application of a service), map data you need to extract using point-and-click mechanics, get the script, run it on the service, and finally download file with data. Such services are useful until you need to do anything more complicated than prices comparison. For example, if you want to get data from a complex nested structure, or you need to normalize the extracted data somehow, most of these services becomes useless because they can not handle it.

Is there a solution?

There is always a solution. Take a look at these three cases:
1) You can learn a programming language (Python, Ruby, Java, C#, PHP, etc)
2) Arm yourself with money and patience.
3) Look no further and use the Diggernaut.com service.

Why Diggernaut.com? I have listed five reasons below:

1) The application Excavator may look a little complicated compared to other services, but the Excavator allows you to solve a much larger range of tasks quickly. There are some tutorials in place that teach you how to use the Excavator with ease.

2) Diggernaut uses a meta-language. This is a very powerful tool. You do not need to know how a scraper works, what libraries it uses, what methods it calls, and when and most importantly why. Abstracting from all this, you are describing only the logic of your scraping job. It reminds me of something as – go there, get it and put it there. The tool is easy to use and user-friendly. All that is needed is a computer and yourself.

3) It’s much faster and easier to develop scraper using meta-language than any programming language.

4) Diggernaut offers a single place for managing and storing all your scrapers. All data is just one click away from downloading it.

5) Do you not have time to develop? You can always hire a developer directly from the control panel when you create a new digger simply selecting “Yes” at the “Hire Developer” option. The development process using the meta-language is much faster and therefore much cheaper than development of a scraper using any existing programming language. You save time and money, and all you have to do is copy and paste config that you receive from the developer to your digger configuration field. The last thing you do is run the digger and get your data.

Still not convinced? Stop by and give it a try, for free!

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