Languages for Web Scraping

5 Best Languages for Web Scraping

Web scraping is one of the most popular tools in any modern company’s arsenal. Be that as it may, web scraping is far different than it used to be. From a simple process with simple programming, we’ve come a long way.

These days, web scraping can be done through many software solutions, through a selection of proxies, and created with a range of coding languages.

In this article, we’ll talk a bit about web scraping, the coding languages that enable the process itself, as well as outline a couple of factors for choosing the right language for your specific needs.

What is web scraping?   

web scraping

Web scraping is the process of putting a bot on the world wide web that’s tasked with scraping relevant websites for valuable data. The benefits of web scraping are many, and they’re mostly centered around gathering as much relevant data as possible in the shortest time frame. 

Web scraping is done by web scraping software, and it’s enabled through the use of proxies. Depending on the web scraping bot’s sophistication, it can either collect huge amounts of relevant data or even larger amounts of raw data.

Sophisticated web scraping bots can get through many firewalls and content filters, allowing them to collect data that isn’t readily available.

This process used to be done manually. It was arduous, not that productive, and not nearly as efficient as it is today. With the advent of AI developments, data scraping as a whole has reached new levels of sophistication – making it a priceless tool in any data-driven organization’s toolkit. 

Different web scraping coding languages 

Web scraper bots do web scraping. Bots need to be preprogrammed to do their task unless AI drives them. If AI drives them, they’ll still need some basic infrastructure programmed into them to make them viable data harvesting tools. The most prominent languages for programming web scraper bots are Python, Node.JS, C++, Ruby, and PHP. 

1. Python

Python is a high-level and general-purpose programming language and is one of the world’s most popular programming languages. It’s used to program web scraper bots due to its ability to create simple yet efficient web scraper bots with relative ease.

Using Python for web scraping is efficient, fast, and streamlined. This makes Python one of the most popular coding languages for web scraping. 

2. Node.JS

Node.JS is a javascript-based programming language and is used to program javascript pages and web scraping bots. It’s one of the less popular coding languages, but it makes a great web scraping tool.

Not only is Node.JS relatively simple to use and open source. It’s renowned for its speed which allows web scraper bots to operate at a faster and thus more efficient pace than most other coding languages allow. 

3. C++

C++ is the world’s most popular coding language, and it’s used for almost every application. From intricate programming systems to make a “Hello world” type application, C++ is heralded as the most malleable, sophisticated, and complex programming language that developers readily use.

It makes a decent web scraping programming option and can build highly sophisticated bots for larger corporate applications. While not the easiest out of the lot, C++ is one of the more sophisticated.

4. Ruby

Ruby is a relatively easy to use, general-purpose coding language used for a lot of things, one of which is web scraping. What makes ruby a good option for web scraper bots is the fact that there is quite a lot of tutorial on how to make one, as well as an existing framework to do so – and it allows you to search HTML documents by CSS selectors, a feature that’s very popular in web scraping solutions. 

5. PHP

PHP is a very prominent coding language that isn’t used a lot in web scraping. PHP is one of the more complicated coding languages, and its features aren’t well suited for most web scraping bots.

Nevertheless, several web scraping bots are made with PHP, and that’s due to the speed and simplicity that PHP offers for web scraping purposes.

Factors for choosing the right scraping language  

If you’re looking to create an in-house data harvesting bot, you’ll need to pick a language. We’ve outlined five popular options, but there are many more to choose from. The best all-around option, in our opinion, is probably going to be Python. 

Python is one of the most popular coding languages globally, and it gives web scrapers fantastic speed, a good range of features, and a selection of other sought-after capabilities. Python web scraping is easy, streamlined, and straightforward. 

Conclusion 

Web scraping is one of the most important tools in any business toolkit, and that’s for a good reason. In this data-driven world, the company that owns the most data can make the best decisions on their business, marketing, and a range of other things.

The quality of your data and its amount are both dictated by the way you collect them, and this means that if you want everything to run as smoothly as possible, you’ll need to invest in a good web scraping bot. 

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Marko is a software engineer, web developer, and student currently living in the United States. His interests range from technology to web development. He also interested in Cybersecurity. He is currently working as a full-time writer at Techlectual.com.

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