Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers, 2nd Edition

There’s a wealth of data online, but sorting and gathering it by hand can be tedious and time consuming. Rather than click through page after endless page, why not let bots do the work for you?

Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers will show you how to create simple programs with PHP/CURL to mine, parse, and archive online data to help you make informed decisions. Michael Schrenk, a highly regarded webbot developer, teaches you how to develop fault-tolerant designs, how best to launch and schedule the work of your bots, and how to create Internet agents that:

  • Send email or SMS notifications to alert you to new information quickly
  • Search different data sources and combine the results on one page, making the data easier to interpret and analyze
  • Automate purchases, auction bids, and other online activities to save time

Sample projects for automating tasks like price monitoring and news aggregation will show you how to put the concepts you learn into practice.

This second edition of Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers includes tricks for dealing with sites that are resistant to crawling and scraping, writing stealthy webbots that mimic human search behavior, and using regular expressions to harvest specific data. As you discover the possibilities of web scraping, you’ll see how webbots can save you precious time and give you much greater control over the data available on the Web.

Table of Contents
Part I: Fundamental Concepts and Techniques
Chapter 1. What’s in It for You?
Chapter 2. Ideas for Webbot Projects
Chapter 3. Downloading Web Pages
Chapter 4. Basic Parsing Techniques
Chapter 5. Advanced Parsing with Regular Expressions
Chapter 6. Automating Form Submission
Chapter 7. Managing Large Amounts of Data

Part II: Projects
Chapter 8. Price-Monitoring Webbots
Chapter 9. Image-Capturing Webbots
Chapter 10. Link-Verification Webbots
Chapter 11. Search-Ranking Webbots
Chapter 12. Aggregation Webbots
Chapter 13. FTP Webbots
Chapter 14. Webbots That Read Email
Chapter 15. Webbots That Send Email
Chapter 16. Converting a Website into a Function

Part III: Advanced Technical Considerations
Chapter 17. Spiders
Chapter 18. Procurement Webbots and Snipers
Chapter 19. Webbots and Cryptography
Chapter 20. Authentication
Chapter 21. Advanced Cookie Management
Chapter 22. Scheduling Webbots and Spiders
Chapter 23. Scraping Difficult Websites with Browser Macros
Chapter 24. Hacking iMacros
Chapter 25. Deployment and Scaling

Part IV: Larger Considerations
Chapter 26. Designing Stealthy Webbots and Spiders
Chapter 27. Proxies
Chapter 28. Writing Fault-Tolerant Webbots
Chapter 29. Designing Webbot-Friendly Websites
Chapter 30. Killing Spiders
Chapter 31. Keeping Webbots out of Trouble

Appendix A. PHP/CURL Reference
Appendix B. Status Codes
Appendix C. SMS Gateways

Book Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 2nd Edition (March 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593273975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593273972
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