TOP 5 PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES FOR WEB SCRAPING
- by Alpesh Khunt
- 2 months ago
Here Are The 5 Best Programming Languages For Web Scraping You Should Use While Crawling
There are plenty of people out there who are looking to extract the data from the internet to create interesting data visualization and in search of the best ways to do it. Everyone in the world is running after the data to extract and collect from the web. So you are not alone in this competition. While scraping the data, you should also have knowledge in which language the data needs to be scraped. Well, if you are unaware, then don’t worry! We are here with deep knowledge to help you out in this article.
The best way to select the programming language for web scraping is that helps you scrape the data you want. There are many languages that compete for the top spot. It’s not possible for anybody to claim that so and so language is the best language for web scraping. You could easily make the wrong choice. You can end up spending time and energy into something that may not yield your desired results.
It’s possible to recommend a particular language. Let’s say Python is a popular language and it might even come up in search results.
However, you must bear in mind that each language has its unique features and its limitations. It will depend a lot on your needs and the kind of limitations that you can put up with.
Well, you can’t start with what you don’t know instead you can start with what you know!
Get Started You’re Familiar With
It’s said that the best programming language for web scraping is the one you already know. If you are aware of any particular language and have experience in programming, that would be a great idea to build resources that support web scraping in that language. Since you are already familiar with the language, you are likely to come to speed much faster while learning to scrape with it. You can consider this as an initial step.
Include Third-party Libraries
When you start working on web scraping, first thing you need to understand is it’s not required to start from scratch. Why? As there are many third party libraries available on the internet which helps you out in web scraping. With the help of Google search, you can get your own web scraping library for the language you know.
Just open your Google and search for, “language name web scraping library”.
This keyword will surely help you find out several options for library.
If you are a learner or beginner in a programming language, your first step would be extracting data from the web via scraping. For that, you need to start coding. The IT or web development industry has attracted a lot of people towards them and web scraping could be eureka moment to be a developer.
Features of The Best Programming Language For Web Scraping
You can face some of the serious issues while scraping and extracting data from the web. The issues would be I/O mechanism, communication, multi-threading, task scheduling, deduplication, etc. The language and framework you use will have a significant impact on your crawling efficiency as well.
There are some major things which need to keep in mind while using your ideal programming language for web scraping.
- Crawling Efficiency
- Ease of Coding
- Scalability and Robustness
The Best Programming Languages and Platforms for Web Scraping
To take you into the more specific about the programming language, we have distinguished each programming languages and how it works. Well, let’s have a look at it.
Python is one of the best programming languages in web scraping. It’s a complete product which can handle all process related to data extraction smoothly.
- Let us tell you why Python is a preferred language to use for web scraping. Scrapy and Beautiful Soup are the widely used frameworks based on Python that makes scraping easy.
- Python library – Beautiful Soup is designed for fast and highly efficient data extraction.
- Scrapy has some great features like support for XPath, enhanced performance owing to the Twisted library and a variety of debugging tools.
- Pythonic idioms are navigation, searching and modifying a parse tree.
- The Beautiful Soup framework can also convert incoming documents to Unicode and outgoing documents to UTF-8.
- Beautiful Soup works on popular Python parsers like lxml and html5lib, which allow you to try different parsing methodologies.
These advanced and highly evolved web scraping libraries make Python such a popular and the best programming language for web scraping.
As far as the web crawling is concerned, Node.js is a particularly great programming language that uses dynamic coding practices. Although it supports distributed crawling, the stability of communications is relatively weak and isn’t recommended for large scale projects.
- In order to exploit the feature of Node.JS, people use multiple instances of same scraping as each Node.JS process takes one core on the CPU.
- Node.JS is the appropriate and recommended for streaming, API, socket-based implementation.
- ExpressJS: Minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework with features for web and mobile applications.
- Request: Helps making HTTP calls.
- Request-promise — that allows us to make quick and easy HTTP calls.
- Cheerio: Implementation of core jQuery specifically for the server.
- Not advisable for large scale data projects.
- Lack of stability and maturity for projects.
- Not ideal recommendation for long running processes.
Ruby is one of the finest open source programming languages. It’s one of the preferred languages over others as it is simple to understand and more productive comparatively others. The syntax it contains is simple and convenient for writing.
Ruby maintains the balance of functional programming with the aid of imperative programming.
Ruby takes time to write. Ruby on Rails is one of the most preferred web frameworks that enable one to write less code and prevent any type of repetition.
- NokoGiri, HTTParty and Pry can enable you to set up your web scraper without any hassle.
- NokoGiri is a Rubygem that offers HTML, XML, SAX and Reader parsers with XPath and CSS selector support.
- HTTParty is the gem that helps send an HTTP request to the pages that you want to extract data from. What it will accomplish is that it will furnish all the HTML of the page as a string.
- Pry enables debugging program.
- The Ruby language is supported by a community of users instead of any particular company.
- It is also slower in comparison with competing for programming languages.
- It doesn’t support multithreading, thus not efficient enough. This means it will consume more computer resources.
PHP is perhaps the least considerable programming language for web scraping to build a crawler program. The major drawback of this language is weka support for multi-threading and async. The task scheduling and queuing issues could be related while using PHP language for the web scraping. This is why PHP is not recommended for web scraping.
Using cURL library, you can extract graphics, videos, and photographs from multiple websites. cURL can transfer files using an extensive list of protocols including HTTP and FTP. This will help you create a web spider to download almost anything from the web automatically.
Such weak support for multithreading and async can lead to several issues as far as task scheduling and queuing are concerned.
5) C & C++
C and C++ offer the best performance and output, but the developing of web scraping setup on these languages costs you a bit higher. Hence, it’s not advisable to use and create a crawler using C or C++ programming language.
- It’s simple and easy to understand.
- It’s easy to parallelize your scraper using C++.
- Using libcurl to fetch URLs and then write your own HTML parsing library that meets your needs given your target platform.
- C++ is not the first choice for any web-related projects because it can also be done using any dynamic language.
- Since it’s quite expensive, it would be the last option to use in web scraping.
- It’s not suitable for creating crawlers.
Now that you know the two different shades of languages: Good and bad, for web scraping. On top of that, you might have knowledge of some individual programming language for web scraping So, it’s high time to decide and pick the right and best programming language for web scraping. However, it’s really important to keep all the benefits and drawbacks in mind while choosing the right programming language. Creating and staying a good bot on the web is as important as getting data for your big data project. Choose wisely!