Web Scraping Vs. API: A better alternative?

Web Scraping Vs. API: A better alternative
API Application Programming Interface. Information technology and business concept. Movie Clapper on the table

Life has rules. For instance, a baby learns to crawl before he starts walking. This is a simple analogy can help you understand Zenscrape (data scraping API). API stands for Application Programming Interfaces. It serves as an intermediary between one software and another, making it possible for them to talk to one another. If one sends JSON to the API, which will respond by sending back JSON, giving you what you have sent to it. To do this, there are rules.

Like life’s rules, some of the rules that govern the process of sending JSON to API is very strict and will not change out of the blue. Someone has to work on it to see what can be sent on JSON and what can be changed or chosen, therefore bringing more flexibility to what API can send back. Sadly, using API to gather data has its own set of rules which aren’t easy and simple to manipulate. These rules govern it and there is a limit to the data fields available to you.

That’s where web scraping comes in, or, to be more specific, Zenscrape (data scraping API). Web scraping, though complex, is free from governing rules and it is more customizable. With a scraping setup, you can get all kinds of data once you are opportune to view them on the website. For scraping data, there are a number of techniques, the only constraint being your imagination. There is a greater height within your reach if you are very creative. So with a group of experienced people in your team, they can even create new techniques for scraping data from websites with dynamically generated feed. The only thing is that you have to up your game regularly. As websites continue to change layouts day by day, you will need to re-plan, re-strategize the code for your scraping activities if you want to keep on playing and for things to keep working.

What Is The Use Of API?

One thing you can deduce is that web scraping is preferable in many ways to API. If this is true, and people are still using API, then, why? They keep using API for the same reason people are using scraping, to scrape data and from the same place and for meeting their exact needs. At times, these people have contracts with those websites to utilize their API for a specific limit. In this kind of situation, there is nothing that change, so if new information comes and the API must return it – or, say, the names of some field change, you are to add the field names or edit the names of the fields in the request you receive from JSON.

Why Should You Consider Web Scraping?

There are advantages of using web scraping and they are discussed below.

1. There Is No Rate Limiting

With the use of API comes certain limitations. So when you switch to other methods aside API, they cannot limit or even track you. Commonly, most API’s have limited policies for their usage; you can only get more if you pay for their premium version. Depending on your choice, the free version can allow you to send between 10 and a hundred requests in a day. Now if you are working with the API continuously, you are likely to need up to a thousand requests in one day. it will not be possible with the free version and you might need to work on an agreement with the owner of such API which will cost you some money. On the other hand, scraping is legally acceptable and free to derive data on any website. The exception is when you come across a website with the robot.txt explicitly telling you to avoid scraping its data. Nevertheless, a majority of websites allow scraping.

Before a website can pop up on Google search, Google will have to scrape and index it. So, the majority of websites allow web scraping. Either with you or Google, many websites can be scraped. However, check the file of the robot.txt to make sure you are not tampering with some information.

2. Some Data Are Not Available On API

For a start, API works on a kind of website. API never gives all the expected data that is on the web. Daily, an increasing number of fresh websites are developed. This means you will want to follow their data trail and not just use their API blindly.

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