5 November 2014

Screen Scraping That Works For You

5 November 2014

Screen Scraping That Works For You

Using software robots for a process called screen scraping has been around for a long time – well, a long time in the life of the internet.  Screen scraping bots are what drive price comparison sites like Expedia or sites that monitor weather data.  And with UiPath, screen scraping has never been easier.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it: the best thing about robotic process automation software like UiPath is that it interacts with different systems like a human user would.  Screen scraping robots extract unstructured data from the web on the presentation layer and transform it into structured data for use.  Perhaps in the past, some unlucky employee would be given the task to copy/paste information from a website into a database.  Now we have robots to do the job.

To really get a sense of how the UiPath web scraping automation tool works, watch the video below. 

 

In this video, you can see that, as long as a webpage is formatted correctly, the UiPath robot only needs two examples of an item in order to consistently recognize its goal.  Multiple types of data or text can be extracted at once, and the robot can extract over multiple pages of results.  The first example shows the screen scraping robot at work on the open web, and the second example is within an online e-mail application, which demonstrates that truly, anything that you can access through an internet browser can be scraped with our robots.

screen_scrapingIt is worth noting that the history of screen scraping is a murky legal swamp.  The practice might violate a website’s terms of use, or a website can claim that a bot (as opposed to a real person) is trespassing on their digital property.  This is mostly a problem when the organization doing the scraping is in financial competition with the website being scraped.  Still, when in doubt, ask your legal department or contact the website directly.

UiPath actually began with a screen scraping software almost ten years ago, and we continue the tradition proudly.  We’ve built up an extensive library of data so that our robots can recognize text (using OCR) in every font, size, and placement imaginable.  We believe in setting a high bar for all our products, including our screen and web scraping software, so that you can focus on making your organization as excellent as can be.

Contact us to learn more


by Katie Behrens

TOPICS: How To, Video Tutorials, Application Integration, Solutions, Robotic Process Automation, RPA, Screen Scraping, Automation

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