Automation of data collection through the use of a web scraper
Web scrapers (or parsers) are made to automate tasks related to data gathering from websites. Parsers are used in a big variety of fields. Some of them are:
- searching for contact details (a parser allows to speed up the process of searching for new clients and partners);
- filling up of online-stores (after setting up a parser on several different sites, you will forget about routine manual work, related to filling your online-store with content);
- announcements monitoring (you will know about new announcements as soon as they arrive at websites);
- filling a website with content (a parser allows to automate loading of a big amount of information on your blog or website).
Benefits and drawbacks of a free web scraper
If someone need a parser, they are most likely to download a free one, since there are no guarantees that a paid version will meet the challenges. However, when choosing a free parser, we can face some troubles. Such troubles are described below as well as the example solutions realized in the Datacol parser.
Of course, you can download a free parser, but first, have a look at the list of risks you can face.
- Lack of generality. Usually, a free parser is created for one specific website, but you may need several sources to be processed. It is highly uncomfortable to use a separate parser for each site. Datacol allows you to parse all required websites.
- Lack of setting up assistance. Far from everybody can figure out all the facilities of a parser on the first try. The emerged questions you face while setting up a free-downloaded parser are unlikely to be answered. It’s no wonder that nobody maintains the program, which nobody pays for. Datacol developers support users through the forum on the official website, where they can ask anything they would like to know.
- Lack of export flexibility. A free-downloaded parser usually extracts collected data in a single format, whereas you may need to export collected information directly on your website, into a file format or a database. With the help of Datacol you can export collected information in any format you need.
- Lack of updates. Developers of free parsers update their programs very seldom. But since websites tend to change their layouts sometimes, a parser soon won’t be able to work anymore. Datacol developers check settings efficiency on the systematic basis and release regular updates.
As you can see, you may have a lot of problems, if you decide to download a parser for free. If the quality of completed tasks affects your work or business, downloading a free parser is not the best option. On the other hand, the good idea is checking out the demo version of a program before the purchase. The demo version of the Datacol program includes all the functions of the full one, besides the data export (export is being carried out in test mode.) You can download the demo version of Datacol at this link, in order to test it and see whether you need it or not.