What is Screen Scraping and How It is different from Web Scraping?
Screen Scraping is the process of extraction followed by translation of visual data from the screens of an outdated application to make it compatible to work with another new application. It is an approach to use the legitimate codes and functions of an obsolete programme for newer applications. The process of screen scraping is carried out with the help of specialized computer programs, called Screen Scrapers.
This is how Wikipedia defines screen scraping as:
“Screen scraping is normally associated with the programmatic collection of visual data from a source, instead of parsing data as in Web scraping.”
Any screen scraper must has following three functionalities:
1.It must input data from the legacy applications.
2.Format/process the data taken from legacy applications.
3.Reformat/re-process those data to make them compatible to work with the up-to-date user interfaces.
* The important terms associated with screen Scraping are:
- Legacy Application.
2. New application with better UI (User Interface).
⇂Screen scraping is also called as ‘Advanced Terminal Emulation’↿
The Legacy application refers to the outdated application which is still in use by an organization. The organization or company is still operating their work on these applications because they have invested a considerable amount of time and money. They became outdated not because of their inefficient codings or logic but because of the introduction of newer technical innovations.
The new applications refer to the updated with more user friendly interfaces. The modern interfaces is composed of GUI( Graphical User Interfaces) and web browsers.
How Screen Scraping is different from Web Scraping?
Screen Scraping is often confused with web or content scraping. But there is wider differences between content/web scraping and screen scraping. Where content or web scraping is the procedure of extracting information from a website, screen scraping is the process of implementing legitimate techniques to transform screen data. Screen scraping is a sustainable attempt to hold existence of previous technology along with new technology.
More On, web extractors harvest data from websites without granting any permission from the website owner whereas screen scrapers works legitimately with organization to serve their objectives.
Why businesses need Screen Scraping?
You must have this question in mind, why don’t business simply replace the old technology with the modern technology? The reasons are:
1.Older technologies have an brilliant track record of securing business data.
2.Companies have been working on for many years.
3.Companies have invested their huge resources and capital on these obsolete technologies.
That’s why organization prefer to continue their work on older version. If this is the case, why they get tempted to opt newer innovations?
Even though companies has much of their resources fixed in the previous technologies, these technology are harder to work for newbies. As a result, it affects the smooth business functioning.
What could be the optimum solution?
Screen Scrapers !! they are great in integrating the bests of past with fate of present.
It enables users to extract and save templates from the web. It is intended to provide users the flexibility to click and point data from different web pages.
Users can also arrange the scraped data into CSV or excel format. They can use the extracted data anytime to perform business-related tasks.
I hope the post has cleared your notion on many aspects relevant with screen scraping. In a nutshell you can define, ‘Screen scraping is a method to abridge the gap between older and newer technology.’
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