Why Customization is the Key Aspect of a Web Scraping Solution
Every web data extraction requirement is unique when it comes to the technical complexity and setup process. This is one of the reasons why tools aren’t a viable solution for enterprise-grade data extraction from the web. When it comes to web scraping, there simply isn’t a solution that works perfectly out of the box. A lot of customization and tweaking goes into achieving a stable setup that can extract data from a target site on a continuous basis.
This is why freedom of customization is one of the primary USPs of our web crawling solution. At PromptCloud, we go the extra mile to make data acquisition from the web a smooth and seamless experience for our client base that spans across industries and geographies. Customization options are important for any web data extraction project; Find out how we handle it.
The QA process
The QA process consists of multiple manual and automated layers to ensure only high-quality data is passed on to our clients. Once the crawlers are programmed by the technical team, the crawler code is peer reviewed to make sure that the optimal approach is used for extraction and to ensure there are no inherent issues with the code. If the crawler setup is deemed to be stable, it’s deployed on our dedicated servers.
The next part of manual QA is done once the data starts flowing in. The extracted data is inspected by our quality inspection team to make sure that it’s as expected. If issues are found, the crawler setup is tweaked to weed out the detected issues. Once the issues are fixed, the crawler setup is finalized. This manual layer of QA is followed by automated mechanisms that will monitor the crawls throughout the recurring extraction, hereafter.
Customization of the crawler
As we previously mentioned, customization options are extremely important for building high quality data feeds via web scraping. This is also one of the key differences between a dedicated web scraping service and a DIY tool. While DIY tools generally don’t have the mechanism to accurately handle dynamic and complex websites, a dedicated data extraction service can provide high level customization options. Here are some example scenarios where only a customizable solution can help you.
Sometimes, the web scraping requirement would demand downloading of PDF files or images from the target sites. Downloading files would require a bit more than a regular web scraping setup. To handle this, we add an extra layer of setup along with the crawler which will download the required files to a local or cloud storage by fetching the file URLs from the target webpage. The speed and efficiency of the whole setup should be top notch for file downloads to work smoothly.
If you want to extract product images from an Ecommerce portal, the file download customization on top of a regular web scraping setup should work. However, high resolution images can easily hog your storage space. In such cases, we can resize all the images being extracted programmatically in order to save you the cost of data storage. This scenario requires a very flexible crawling setup, which is something that can only be provided by a dedicated service provider.
Extracting key information from text
Sometimes, the data you need from a website might be mixed with other text. For example, let’s say you need only the ZIP codes extracted from a website where the ZIP code itself doesn’t have a dedicated field but is a part of the address text. This wouldn’t be normally possible unless you write a program to be introduced into the web scraping pipeline that can intelligently identify and separate the required data from the rest.
Extracting data points from site flow even if it’s missing in the final page
Sometimes, not all the data points that you need might be available on the same page. This is handled by extracting the data from multiple pages and merging the records together. This again requires a customizable framework to deliver data accurately.
Automating the QA process for frequently updated websites
Some websites get updated more of than others. This is nothing new; however, if the sites in your target list get updated at a very high frequency, the QA process could get time-consuming at your end. To cater to such a requirement, the scraping setup should run crawls at a very high frequency. Apart from this, once new records are added, the data should be run through a deduplication system to weed out the possibility of duplicate entries in the data. We can completely automate this process of quality inspection for frequently updated websites.
At PromptCloud, we have an extensive and highly flexible web scraping infrastructure that can be customized to handle any level of complexity in web data extraction. This customizable nature of our solution is what makes us the one-stop shop for web data extraction requirements irrespective of the scale and complexity.