It’s not always easy to understand the differences between data scraping and data parsing. After all, they both seem to involve extracting information from data sources, right? Well, as it turns out, there are a few key distinctions between these two processes. In this article, we’ll take a look at the main differences between data scraping and data parsing, and explore when each approach is most appropriate.
What is Data Scraping?
Data scraping is the process of extracting information from websites in an automated fashion. It can be used to collect data that is publicly available, such as product reviews. Web scraping can also be used to extract data that is not easily accessible, such as contact information or pricing data.
It is true that data scraping is an effective tool for gathering data, but website owners don’t much like it. As a result, many websites take measures to protect themselves against web scraping. Some of the common techniques are CAPTCHAs, rate-limiting, and honeypot traps. To bypass the sophisticated protection, web scrapers do their best to pretend that they’re regular internet users surfing the web. This can be accomplished with residential proxies, which hide your IP behind a pool of real end-user IP addresses.
Data Scraping Process
In most cases, web scraping involves the following steps:
- Select target websites
- Identify the desired data
- Write a scraper – a program to automatically collect the needed data.
- Alternatively, you can use a web scraping tool, such as Selenium or Scrapy, without writing code.
- Set up a proxy network to stay anonymous and avoid getting blocked.
- Test and improve the scraping process to effectively bypass websites’ protection.
What is Data Parsing?
Data parsing is the process of taking raw unstructured data and organizing it into a format that can be easily understood and analyzed. There are many different data parsing methods, and the most suitable method depends on the type of data that you want to parse. For example, data that is in the form of text can be parsed using text mining techniques, while data that is in the form of numbers can be parsed using statistical methods.
Data Parsing Process
Data parsing involves the following steps:
- Receiving data in a raw format, for example, as a set of HTML strings
- Data cleaning: removing irrelevant information
- Identifying patterns,
- Creating a readable structure that can be used for further analysis in the desired format (JSON, CSV or a table)
These steps can be accomplished whether by programming your own parser, or buying a ready solution. You can build your own – but it takes a lot of time and resources. Particularly if you want to develop sophisticated parsers to handle large volumes. Maintaining one will take more time and resources, and you’ll need a lot of highly-skilled developers to do it.
Data parsing is an important step in data analysis, and it is crucial for ensuring that data is accurate and reliable. It can be a time-consuming process, but it is essential for deriving insights from data.
Data Scraping vs Data Parsing: Key Differences
So here are the most important differences between web scraping and data parsing that you should know:
- Data scraping is about collecting data, whilst Data parsing is about analyzing it;
- The result of data scraping is usually raw HTML strings. After parsing the data, you should receive structured data in a more readable format, such as JSON or CSV
- Data scraping requires accessing the web and bypassing blocks, while Data parsing can be performed on a single device without going online.
Overall, the scraping and parsing of data are two of the most important aspects of any data analysis project. Since unstructured data has no use, parsing always comes together with scraping. If you set up your data collection process in a way that effectively combines these two techniques, you’re on the right track.
Data Collection Made Easy
The only way to collect data from advanced websites is to efficiently change your IP address pretending to be a regular Internet user. Without streamlining this process and addressing the challenges of web scraping, you may not even get to the stage of parsing your data.
With our residential proxies, you can get the most accurate and up-to-date data possible. If you’re interested in getting a 7-day free trial of our services, talk to our team today. We would be more than happy to help you get started with our residential proxies and answer any questions on collecting and parsing web data.
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