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It is saddening when a third party service your company was totally dependent on shuts down, especially with a short notice of two weeks. Kimono labs, a web scraping tool popular among the big data community was shut down on February 29th, 2016. Users of this popular web scraping framework were devastated and lost when the shutdown happened. Kimono labs was being used by thousands of businesses to gather structured data from the web. Finding an alternative to your go-to tool can be tough. That’s exactly why we compiled a list of great alternatives to Kimono labs. Here are some of the popular alternatives to Kimono labs that could achieve more or less the same results.
Visual Web Ripper
Octoparse is a feature-rich web scraping tool that can fetch data from websites using a point and click interface. Octoparse can work with dynamic web pages and has built in features to solve Captchas, enter text in fields and click on drop down menu items. Using the tool is as easy as clicking on single data points that you want to be scraped and hitting the crawl button. Octoparse will automatically generate the code and crawl your desired data points. The output is in provided in TXT or excel formats which are compatible with most data analysis applications.
Data Scraping Studio
Data scraping studio is a powerful web data extraction tool that can fill the gap created by Kimono labs. Apart from a point and click interface that’s easy to use, it has many great features like the support for anonymous proxy servers for completely anonymous web scraping. The tool comes in two parts- the desktop app with the main engine and a chrome extension with the ‘point and click’ layer. The output from Data scraping studio comes in CSV, TSB or JSON formats and is downloadable via the Chrome extension once the scraping job is completed.
Feedity is a web based application that you can use to create and fetch RSS feed for any website. This tool can be of great use if your web scraping needs are limited to grabbing newer posts/changes from websites. It can also be used as a tool to track changes in websites. However, Feedity doesn’t have any advanced web scraping capabilities like the other tools we discussed above. Apart from automatically generated feeds, you can also refine the feed by adding a start and end block which will be used to determine where a post starts and ends. The premium account from Feedity offers more features like RSS feed merging and data integration.
Web Scraping tools vs Web Scraping services
The above mentioned web scraping tools are great alternatives to Kimono labs, but they are still not complete web scraping solutions. These scraping tools lack in many areas such as speed, accuracy, flexibility and scalability. If your data needs are huge and recurring, it is always a better idea to use a web scraping service instead of these point and click tools. There are many more aspects of web scraping that requires expert handling like maintenance of the crawling setup, legal issues and timely support. With a dedicated web scraping service, you are completely covered on all these aspects and you can use the time you save for better business activities rather than data acquisition. Learn more about why a web scraping service is better than scraping tools.