Web scraping article, episode 1

Hi all,

Once upon the time I wrote a silly little article on web scraping with


The article got very popular somehow, so I have decided to continue with
it - and since a lot of people kept me asking for the next installment
that I promised at the end of the first part, I would like to announce
it also here:


The article is quite different from my original plans, (and hence I
guess from the expectations) because something happened in between -
well, read the article and you will see what :slight_smile:



Try Dapper (http://www.dappit.com/), it may turn your screen scraping
problem into an xml parsing problem.


wooops ignore my last comment, it was to the completely wrong thread

many thanks for both of your replies

Parker T. wrote:

Try Dapper (http://www.dappit.com/), it may turn your screen scraping
problem into an xml parsing problem.

I have been playing around with dapper, and while I liked the idea, and
also the GUI (scRUBYt! currently does not have any kind of GUI, so
dappit is a clear winner here) I found several problems.

First of all I could not reliably scrape everything I wanted as I wanted
(i.e. 100% accuracy, every records found ect) nearly on any page I tried

  • which is not the case with scRUBYt!. Of course there are bugs and
    problems and needed enhancements in scRUBYt! too, but I have total
    control over these (and anybody who is able to hack with Ruby on an
    intermediate level). Besides this, I have the extractor - I know what’s
    happening all the time. And if this is still not enough I can sprinkle
    the whole stuff with pure Ruby code.

Then I don’t really like the model that your extractor is on the server

  • what if you would like to scrape confidential data, or you are logging
    in to sites with passwords, or to your banking account or …

The idea is really neat and I am sure dapper has a lot of use cases, but
it’s quite a different product with different philosophy and target
audience compared to scRUBYt! Shortly, you should use the right tool for
the right job - and for the things I would like to scrape, scRUBYt! is
much better suited. I am sure dapper is great for other kind of things,
so if you are into those, it’s a great tool!