Screen Scraping Tips for Programmers
The main objective of screen scraping is to mine information from different web resources. Not only is this process wearisome but it is also made more complicated by various factors including the way in which a particular data is preserved. The process of harvesting information is made much more efficient by screen scraper software. In addition, with the help of such tools, the gathered information is also presented in a manner and format that is understandable and useful to most end users who may not exactly have a background in programming. With this said, it is safe to say that these particular tools are not only designed to work with much efficiency but also with utmost effectiveness and accuracy.
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What to look for in a screen text scraping software?
Although you may have the capability and knowledge as a programmer to harvest data using other ways including APIs, RSS feeds as well as various traditional methods, it can be particularly daunting especially if your client requires bulk and continuous stream of information. If this is the case then you will have to force yourself to work doubly hard to meet your client's requirements. But why do so when you can scrape text off the screen with much ease using reliable software.
Consider choosing one with a user-friendly interface.
Aside from being well designed and well equipped with advanced functionality, the software you choose has to be versatile enough to work well with any type of format. This is why it is necessary that you look for something that is designed in an interface which is easy to use.
Assess the recording capability of the tool.
Automation is important especially when you are dealing with bulk requests from your client. In which case, you have to consider the software's recording capability. This way, you can perform a one-time input and let the screen text scraping application perform the task continuously. This can certainly save you much more time and energy.
Check out the available options.
Clients require different things. This is why you will have to think about what kind of download options the tool must come with. There are particular options that allow you to scrape text off the screen directly from the source into a specific location.
Look into OCR capability of the software.
If you may need to translate images into readable text format, optical character recognition capable screen scraping software is essential. Again, this shall depend on the kind of work or requirement your client has.
Make sure multitasking is allowed.
Your job as a programmer requires you to resort to multitasking more often than not. When you run the screen text scraping software, does in have to process without interference or is it also equipped with non-intrusive features which will allow you to scrape text off the screen and use other applications at the same time?
All these things and more have to be duly considered when making a selection among the various screen scraping tools made available today. Ultimately, you have to understand your requirements as a programmer and that of your clients' to figure out the most suitable tool for the job.
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