Businesses widely use the web scraping technique to reshape unstructured web content into a definite and structured form.
In a nutshell, web scraping runs on the principle of extracting data from websites. Furthermore, there are different web scraper tools available in the market. The primary job of a web scraper tool is to carry the piece of code that is designed to scrape the data. It looks for the specific data you require on the website or document and converts it to the desired format.
Requirements to Build a Web Scraper
Building your own web scraper requires the utilization of extensive tools and techniques. It can become tiring and an expensive business at the same time. The article throws light on momentous reasons why building your own scraper can be a bad idea.
The idea of building your own web scrapers can seem intimidating. In-spite of the fact that scraping helps organizations earn profits, web scraper tools can prove to be much more benefiting.
Most of the websites these days use web scraper tools. One of the biggest examples demonstrating this is that of the search engine Google.
Google uses web scraping to derive exponential use of basic data. Most parts of the data that we come across while pondering over the internet is as a result of crawlers or web scraper tools on Google. Web scraping can be, therefore, considered as the tool for the abundance of information over the internet.
However, as amenable as building your own web scraper might seem, it is a job of great responsibility. Undoubtedly, there’s a promise of valuable data in web scraping, but that doesn’t guarantee to find the right information as soon as you start scraping. Building your own scraper and not choosing the web scraper tools can lead to far more perilous consequences than profits for a business.
Why building your own web scraper is a bad idea?
Here we tell you five important reasons why you should not build your own web scraper:
1. Regular maintenance
Scrapers require regular maintenance, just like any website or application.
For example, if you’re digging a hole into the ground to find treasure, there is a strong possibility that the hole will collapse eventually. Therefore, you must keep it open at all times to keep digging further.
It is a similar case while building your own web scraper. Keen observations state that the maintenance costs exceed the initial cost of building a web scraper. It exerts a huge financial burden on businesses and organizations.
Websites and applications often keep on reforming their structures, which is why it becomes even more difficult for organizations to maintain their web scraper tools.
2. Cost Issues
One of the significant implications of a web scraper is concerning the costs while building your own.
The investment cost is much higher in building your own web scraper rather than using a market web scraper tool.
Even if you take care of the initial investment, there is a substantial cost incurred in the maintenance of web scrapers.
The process of web scraping may seem less complicated but usually ends up taking everything.
It takes up a large portion of time and money in fixing bugs and improvements. This practice surpasses the initial expectations of cost, time, and energy.
Consider, for example; you have to dig up land to find treasure. You’re never sure where you might find a treasure or how deep you might have to dig. This process of excavation is similar to implementing web scrapers, where you end up spending a lot of money on its implementation. Moreover, you might not even know how far you need to go scraping to find the information valuable to you.
3. Finding the right data
Web scraping lets you find the information that is valuable to you on relevant websites or pages. But when you build your own scraper, this process might end up in a never-ending cycle.
Websites often have their own encoding to safeguard their interests and shield them from deleterious web agents. It may make your web scraper entirely dysfunctional for the utility. Furthermore, you have to spend much time fixing the bugs and make it customizable for a particular website.
From the example of excavation for treasure, there is no perfect guarantee of finding the right data.
The cost, time, and energy function for a particular excavation, (here scraping into a website) always outdoes the initial estimates.
The presence of ads, navigation elements, comments, etc. on the website can also hinder web scraper tools.
4. Merging Data
Yet another challenge of building your own web scraper can arise regarding merging data.
The desirable data might be present in various forms on the website where you intend to send scrapers. It is important to distinguish this data, and the scraper must be customized to get exactly the desired output.
For example, there are different sizes of the same image present on the website, such as thumbnail image, full-sized image, etc. The web scraper must be able to find the right data as requested.
The information that you’re looking for might not be available on any one website. In such cases, the scrapers have to find data from a couple of websites and merge them. Furthermore, this leads to merging issues.
Merging data also accounts for comparison and normalization.
5. Layout issues
Websites have specific layouts or change layouts depending on usage and other relevant factors.
Layout issues are the most common issues when building your own scraper.
For example, going back to the excavation scenario, where you dig for treasure, you may not know when the hole might collapse. You can understand the collapse as a change of layout concerning web scrapers.
Building your own web scraper is not just a challenging idea, but also a wild one. You end up investing tremendous amounts of money without a sense of guarantee in most situations. The web scraper tools, on the other hand, provide comprehensive features without huge costs concerning money and workforce.
However, do write your suggestions or query to me in the comment section.
Thank You for reading!!!