To those who have not developed the skill, computer programming can seem like a kind of magic. If programming is magic, web scraping is wizardry: the application of magic for particularly impressive and useful—yet surprisingly effortless—feats.
In my years as a software engineer, I’ve found that few programming practices capture the excitement of both programmers and laymen alike quite like web scraping. The ability to write a simple bot that collects data and streams it down a terminal or stores it in a database, while not difficult, never fails to provide a certain thrill and sense of possibility, no matter how many times you might have done it before.
Web scraping is a diverse and fast-changing field, and I’ve tried to provide both highlevel concepts and concrete examples to cover just about any data collection project you’re likely to encounter. Throughout the book, code samples are provided to demonstrate these concepts and allow you to try them out. The code samples them‐ selves can be used and modified with or without attribution (although acknowledgment is always appreciated). All code samples are available on GitHub for viewing and downloading.
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