Web scraping, also known as data extraction and web harvesting, is a technique of extracting data from different sites. Web scraping software access the internet either through the web browser or via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Web scraping is usually implemented with the help of automated bots or web crawlers. They navigate through different web pages, collect data and extract it as per users' requirements. The content of a web page is parsed, reformatted and searched, while the data is copied to spreadsheets once fully processed in accordance with instructions.
A web page is built with the text-based markup languages such as HTML, Python, and XHTML. It contains the wealth of information and is designed for the humans, not for web scraping bots. However, different scraping tools are able to read these pages like humans and get useful information in the CSV or JSON formats.
Is Python the best web scraping language?
Python is basically a programming language that offers a "shell" to scrape data in the form of plain text. It helps users extract information from different web pages. Python is useful when the digital marketers or programmers decide to scrape data manually. With this language, we can easily enter the code line and see how the data is being scraped. However, Python is not the best web scraping language.
Python has hundreds of useful options designed to save our time. For instance, it is famous among the academic and data research experts. Python makes it easy for us to search useful data and academic papers online. But when it comes to web scraping, Python is not as effective as C++ and PHP. Python is best known for its built-in support and saves data in common formats such as JSON and CSV.
The best programming languages for web scraping:
It's now clear that Python is not the best language for web scraping. Instead, a lot of programmers and data scientists prefer C++, Node.js, and PHP over Python.
It is good at scraping and crawling different sites. Node.js is suitable for dynamic websites and supports distributed crawling on the internet. This language is useful for scraping data both from the basic and advanced websites.
C++ offers great performance and is cost-effective. This language is far better than Python and ensures quality results. However, it is not recommended to enterprises due to its complicated codes.
PHP is the best language for web scraping. Unlike Python and C++, PHP does not create problems while scheduling tasks and scraping content from different websites. It's like an all-rounder and handles most of the web crawling and data extraction projects on the internet. Import.io and Kimono Labs are the two powerful data scraping tools based on PHP. They have great features and can scrape a large number of web pages in an hour or two. Unfortunately, Beautiful Soup and Scrapy (which are based on Python) do not provide any support as the PHP-based data extraction tools.
Now it's clear that all programming languages have their own advantages and disadvantages. PHP, however, is far better than Python and is the best web scraping language. It provides better facilities to the users and can handle large-sized projects easily.