Data Analytics, also known as the Science of Data, has various types of analytical methodologies, But the very interesting part of all the analytical process is collecting data from different sources. It is challenging to collect data while keeping the ACID terms in mind. I’ll be sharing a few points in this article which I think is useful while learning the concept of `Web Scrapping`.

The very first thing to note is not every website allows you to scrape their data.

Before we get into the details, though, let’s start with the simple stuff…

What is web scraping?

Web scraping (or data scraping) is a technique used to collect content and data from the internet. This data is usually saved in a local file so that it can be manipulated and analyzed as needed. If you’ve ever copied and pasted content from a website into an Excel spreadsheet, this is essentially what web scraping is, but on a very small scale.

However, when people refer to ‘web scrapers,’ they’re usually talking about software applications. Web scraping applications (or ‘bots’) are programmed to visit websites, grab the relevant pages and extract useful information.

Suppose you want some information from a website. Let’s say a paragraph on `Weather Forecasting`! What do you do?
Well, you can copy and paste the information from Wikipedia into your file. But what if you want to get large amounts of information from a website as quickly as possible? Such as large amounts of data from a website to train a Machine Learning algorithm? In such a situation, copying and pasting will not work! And that’s when you’ll need to use Web Scraping. Unlike the long and mind-numbing process of manually getting data, Web scraping uses intelligence automation methods to get thousands or even millions of data sets in a smaller amount of time.

As an entry-level web scraper, getting familiar with the following tools will be valuable:

1. Web Scraping Libraries/Frameworks:
Familiarize yourself with beginner-friendly libraries or frameworks designed for web scraping. Some popular ones include:
BeautifulSoup (Python): A Python library for parsing HTML and XML documents.
Requests (Python): A simple HTTP library for making requests and retrieving web pages.
Cheerio (JavaScript): A fast, flexible, and lightweight jQuery-like library for Node.js for parsing HTML.
Scrapy (Python): A powerful and popular web crawling and scraping framework for Python.

2. IDEs or Text Editors: 

Use Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) or text editors to write and execute your scraping scripts efficiently. Some commonly used ones are:
PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, or Sublime Text for Python.
Visual Studio Code, Atom, or Sublime Text for JavaScript.

3. Browser Developer Tools: 

Familiarize yourself with browser developer tools (e.g., Chrome DevTools, Firefox Developer Tools) for inspecting HTML elements, testing CSS selectors, and understanding network requests. These tools are invaluable for understanding website structure and debugging scraping scripts.

4. Version Control Systems: 

Learn the basics of version control systems like Git, which help manage your codebase, track changes, and collaborate with others. Platforms like GitHub and GitLab provide repositories for hosting your projects and sharing code with the community.

5. Command-Line Interface (CLI): 

Develop proficiency in using the command-line interface for navigating file systems, running scripts, and managing dependencies. This skill is crucial for executing scraping scripts and managing project environments.

6. Web Browsers: 

Understand how to use web browsers effectively for browsing, testing, and validating your scraping targets. Familiarity with different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari can be advantageous, as they may behave differently when interacting with websites.

7.Documentation and Online Resources: 

Make use of official documentation, tutorials, and online resources to learn and troubleshoot web scraping techniques. Websites like Stack Overflow, GitHub, and official documentation for libraries/frameworks provide valuable insights and solutions to common scraping challenges.

By becoming familiar with these tools, you’ll be equipped to start your journey into web scraping and gradually build upon your skills as you gain experience.

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