In today’s digital world, coding is a buzzword. Not many people understand it, but coding shapes the world that we live in today.
Almost every electronic item, device, and modern piece of machinery that we use contains some form of coding. The apps we use on our smartphones have coding behind them too.
A Beginner’s Guide To Coding And Web Scraping
What is coding?
The definition of coding is quite broad and depends on the type of coding being done. For instance, a web developer writes code to build fast, responsive websites.
In this case, coding involves building the best possible website. An app developer can write code to build a networking app or a web scraping tool. In the case of a web scraping tool, coding aims to create the best data collection app possible.
In simple terms, coding can be understood as the computer language used to develop software, websites, and apps. Code is the set of instructions that tells your computer or smartphone what to do. Every application on your computer needs a well-written code to function the way it was meant to be.
Popular coding languages
There are hundreds of coding languages available. Each language is unique and has different terms and features. For a beginner, it may be a little overwhelming to choose a programming language. Listed below are a few coding languages that are the most commonly used:
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is used chiefly for coding web pages. It tells the Internet browser how to display websites for an optimal user experience.
Java is an object-oriented coding language that uses English-based commands for creating software and applications. It is most popularly used for coding video games, mobile apps, and web scraping tools. Java web scraper tools are very popular for data collection from websites.
Python is a software development language with an English-like syntax used for scripting back-end actions for operating systems, interfaces, applications, and web scraping tools.
It is perhaps the easiest coding language there is. It only has 32 basic keywords used for scripting Artificial Intelligence, network drivers, and other embedded systems.
PHP(Hypertext Processor) is another popular coding language that is widely used with HTML in server scripting, it involves piecing together dynamic website content.
Coding languages like Java and Python are also used to develop some of the most efficient web scraping tools. Most of these tools are cloud-based and available as SaaS offerings.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping is the retrieval or collection of large quantities of data from a website. It can be done manually or with the use of specially designed tools called web scraping tools.
Manual web scraping is very time-consuming and tedious. Web Scraping tools make it a lot easier and faster to retrieve large volumes of data. Python and Java web scraper tools are top-rated, but many others are also available in other languages.
Is web scraping possible without knowledge of coding?
Most web scraping tools require some amount of custom coding from the user. However, there are many web scraping tools built with “ease-of-use” in mind. If you lack a programming language, you will need to look for tools that do not require coding.
Does the speed of web scraping depend on the coding language used?
The speed of a coding language is mostly about the speed of development, code readability, and ease of maintenance. Efficient programming languages like Python and Java are preferred for web scraping tools because they are very fast.
However, the processing speed is rarely an issue with data collection. The main factor that affects the speed is sending out requests and receiving a response. Communication with the Internet is the main issue, as the Internet cannot match the speed of the processor inside your computer.
Web scraping definitely becomes a lot easier if you have a background in coding. However, if you have never done coding in your life, there are many ways to automate your data extraction process without having to code.