There is an abundance of data on the internet, and the amount flooding the web today is considered more than what has ever been generated.
For instance, it is currently understood that over 90% of all the data on the web was created in the last two years.
And as the rate of data being produced continues to increase, companies have to find easier and more effective ways to collect this data.
Tools such as Puppeteer and Node can now be applied to scrape data using headless or non-headless browsers and APIs.
And today, we will find out what these tools are and how they can benefit a company when used to extract data from the web.
What Is Web Scraping?
Web scraping can be defined as using automated tools to collect an unlimited amount of data from the internet repeatedly.
The process of automating scraping ensures that the stress and pushback associated with manually scraping the web are removed.
This also ensures data is collected faster and more accurately. Manually collecting data is slow, and this can lead to several challenges.
For instance, when it takes too long to harvest a dataset, the data can easily become outdated and less likely to represent the information in the market at any given time.
Automated web scraping is, therefore, a necessity, and tools such as Node.js and Puppeteer help you develop an application or script that can be easily used to collect data from any corner of the internet.
What Is Puppeteer and Puppeteer Tutorial?
Puppeteer can be described as a library designed by Google used for operating headless and non-headless browsers and developing APIs.
This means that you can use Puppeteer to remotely control a protocol or program or use its API to connect to DevTools that support the API.
This makes it possible for anyone with little or no programming and coding to collect data from the internet effectively.
Also, web scraping with Puppeteer has become increasingly important and popular largely due to how modern websites are developed.
Puppeteer, on the other hand, can scrape data from websites built with JS or scrape regular data from regular websites and then convert and store them as JSON files.
What Is Node?
Node is best described as an open-source programming environment that can be used with Puppeteer to build a web scraping tool.
It is usually the framework upon which the Puppeteer library functions, which makes it a very important ingredient in the development of certain web scraping tools.
How to Setup A Scraper Built With Puppeteer and Node
Browsing websites and extracting their content is easy and fast with Node and Puppeteer; however, you will need first to understand how to set the system up, which is where the Puppeteer tutorial comes in.
While you can take your time to go through the full tutorial, the step-by-step guide below highlights the key things you need to take note of and do if you want to develop web scraping tools from this framework and library.
- Starting the Web Scraper
The first step when developing a scraping program with Puppeteer is first to set up the environment. To do this, you will need to download and install the Node.js before installing any other dependency.
Next, you will have to create a folder for the scraping process. The Puppeteer comes included in the package, but you will need to initialize npm to proceed.
- Setting Up The Browser
Once the scraping script is ready, the next step is to prepare the browser used to harvest the data.
Using a headless browser such as Chromium requires adding some programmatic codes as it works without a Graphical User Interface.
The browser also needs to be able to scale and expand to handle more tasks and data as your scraping grows and becomes more sophisticated.
- Scraping the Data
Once your scraper and browser are ready, the next step is to jump right in and harvest the data you want.
To do this, you need to provide the URL of the target destination. You can scrape from a single page, multiple pages, or scrape the data based on category.
You can also scrape a single category or several categories before storing them as JSON files.
Benefits of Using Puppeteer and Node in Web Scraping
Several ways using Node and Puppeteer for web scraping can benefit any business, and below are some of the most common benefits:
The tools built with this framework and library help to ensure automation, and anyone who has ever tried to harvest data from the internet knows the importance of having tools that function with little or no human interference.
Automation eliminates the mundane nature of manually extracting data and gives the final out more believability and accuracy.
Web scraping is an important alternative to extraction through API. It helps you get data even when connecting with an API is impossible.
And you can easily do this using Puppeteer and Node tools. However, these programs can also develop APIs that make data extraction even more specific and convenient.
The tools built with Puppeteer work automatically also means they are fast and can help you extract large quantities of data quickly.
This speed does not only make the data more relevant and current,t but also translates to time saved.
Puppeteer and Node can be used for web scraping, but they can also be used for automating applications and testing software.
For whichever reason you decide to use them, they guarantee speed, simplicity, stability, and automation which are important features while developing or buying tools.