Web Scraping with No-Code

Web Scraping Legally with No-Code

August 8, 2023

When starting a business or creating an industry landscape review, one of the best ways to check the competition is to do research and data gathering. For tech people, this goes to the next level with web scraping manually or with a no-code web scraping software tool.

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites that involves retrieving certain information and keeping that data in a structured format for reference. It is a practice commonly used to collect data that is not readily available through APIs or other direct data feeds.

However, its legality has been questioned especially with high-profile cases such as Facebook vs Power Ventures  and Linkedin vs hiQ Labs. If your website is being scraped it can damage infrastructure or operations, and worse affect data privacy systems. 

In this article, we dive into the legality of web scraping, how it can assist your business and how to execute it with a no-code program. 

Is Web Scraping Legal?

Web scraping legality is a complex and nuanced issue that can vary depending on your area and the data you will access.  In general, web scraping is legal as long as it doesn’t violate copyright laws, licensing agreements, or a website’s Terms of Use. The data must not be used for harmful or inappropriate purposes, or cause harm to the scraped website’s operations, and their data shouldn’t have identifiable information. 

In US, there are no federal laws against web scraping as long as the scraped data is publicly available and the web scraping process does not bog down the website. In EU, the Digital Services Act cited that “ reproduction of publicly available content” is not illegal.” In the far east, web scraping is used in China for business use cases as well and it is also illegal to scrape sensitive and private data. 

Why Web Scrape in the First Place?

Automated web scraping can save a lot of hours in research and data gathering that suits your project. Here are the usual reason why individuals and businesses do it

  • Getting product information for price comparison from various e-commerce site
  • Content aggregation for a targeted digital reading hub
  • Gather contact information from business directories for leads
  • Manage and monitor social media for social listening and analysis
  • Scraping financial data for stock market analysis and investment decisions
  • Collect listings from property websites 

How to Do Web Scraping with No-Code?

People used the programming languages such as Python and they often use libraries like BeautifulSoup or Scrapy to parse HTML of web pages and extract relevant data. However, the growth and development of no-code visual scraping tools made it easier than ever to get structured data extracted from the web. This made the method more accessible and easier for technical and on-technical people to get relevant data.  The process of web scraping typically involves the following steps:

Identify the Target Website

Determine the website from which you want to extract data. Read the terms of the website on web scraping and understand your limitations. Practice ethical web scraping in order to avoid potential lawsuits.

Choose a No-Code Web Scraping Tool

Select a suitable no-code web scraping tool that fits your needs. With the growth of no-code development, there are a lot of tools to choose from and the popular options include ParseHub, Octoparse, and Import.io. Being no-code means they have visual programming which makes this easy for both tech and nontechnical people.

Set Up the Web Scraping Project

Open your chosen tool and start a new project and enter the URL of the target website. Use the tool's browser extension or navigate in the built-in browser to interact with the website. 

Define Data Extraction Rules

Use the tool's visual interface to select and identify the data elements you want to extract.   This can include text, images, links, tables, or other structured information. Set up rules to specify how the tool should locate and extract the desired data. This can involve selecting HTML elements, using XPath or CSS selectors, or defining regular expressions. Keep in mind that private data shouldn't be extracted an

Refine and Validate the Extraction

Preview the extracted data to ensure accuracy and completeness. Modify the extraction rules if necessary to refine the selection and extraction process. Validate the extraction by running a  test on a sample of data to confirm that the tool is capturing the information correctly.  

Configure Pagination

If the data spans multiple pages, configure pagination to ensure all relevant pages are scraped. Specify the rules for navigating to the next page and include pagination parameters if applicable. Remember to adjust the extraction rules to handle dynamic or changing content like lazy loading or infinite scrolling.

Schedule and Run the Web Scraping

If you need data extracted on a regular basis, set up a schedule for extraction within the tool.

You can automate the web scraping process or do it manually according to the schedule you've set. Important to monitor the scraping process to ensure it captures the data and is also working within the limitations you set. 

Export and Utilize the Extracted Data

Once the scraping process is complete, export the extracted data in a suitable format, such as CSV, JSON, or Excel. Clean and transform the data as needed using spreadsheet tools or data manipulation tools. Utilize the extracted data for your intended purpose, such as analysis, reporting, or integrating it with other systems.

The Right and Easy Way to Web Scraping

Web scraping is a fast and easy way to gather data from a website. With no-code development, there are now a number of trusted tools out there to do web scraping. The important thing to remember though is to get only the data you need, avoid private data as much as possible, and dont overload the website. Ethical web scraping is about giving respect to the website that contains your data and not causing trouble for other parties. 

Are you planning to start your data collection for a startup, passion project, or even for your job? We can help build your digital assets for you with no-code. We have a wide range of platforms for you to choose to match your business needs. Schedule a FREE consultation with us and see how no-code can boost your business.

Looking for a place to get your no-code fix? Sign up in our newsletter and get no-code news from our team today. 

You may also want to read