Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers: A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP/CURL

Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers: A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP/CURL

by Michael Schrenk
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Paperback(Second Edition)

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Overview

Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers: A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP/CURL by Michael Schrenk

The Internet is bigger and better than what a mere browser allows. Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers is for programmers and businesspeople who want to take full advantage of the vast resources available on the Web. There's no reason to let browsers limit your online experience-especially when you can easily automate online tasks to suit your individual needs.

Learn how to write webbots and spiders that do all this and more:

* Programmatically download entire websites
* Effectively parse data from web pages
* Manage cookies
* Decode encrypted files
* Automate form submissions
* Send and receive email
* Send SMS alerts to your cell phone
* Unlock password-protected websites
* Automatically bid in online auctions
* Exchange data with FTP and NNTP servers

Sample projects using standard code libraries reinforce these new skills. You'll learn how to create your own webbots and spiders that track online prices, aggregate different data sources into a single web page, and archive the online data you just can't live without. You'll learn inside information from an experienced webbot developer on how and when to write stealthy webbots that mimic human behavior, tips for developing fault-tolerant designs, and various methods for launching and scheduling webbots. You'll also get advice on how to write webbots and spiders that respect website owner property rights, plus techniques for shielding websites from unwanted robots.

As a bonus, visit the author's website to test your webbots on sample target pages, and to download the scripts and code libraries used in the book.

Sometasks are just too tedious-or too important!- to leave to humans. Once you've automated your online life, you'll never let a browser limit the way you use the Internet again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593273972
Publisher: No Starch Press
Publication date: 03/22/2012
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 392
Sales rank: 426,935
Product dimensions: 7.08(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Michael Schrenk develops webbots and spiders for clients across North America. He has written for Computerworld and Web Techniques magazines and has taught college courses on web usability and Internet marketing. He's also an occasional speaker at DEFCON.

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Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers: A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP/CURL 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely the missing link in how to automate internet activity. A most have book in your Tech Library.
the_grandslam More than 1 year ago
This is a review of Michael's 2nd Edition of the same book (I received an early release edition from the publisher, I did not have an opportunity to read the 1st edition): I thoroughly enjoy this book. I found myself glued to this topic, I have heard about it many times before just never investigated it. This is "good stuff" and I missed out by not starting earlier. The author, Michael Schrenk knows his stuff and is passionate about his craft and it shows in the way he writes. All throughout his book his excitement about how incredible this technology is, and his use of these tools in creative ways is contagious. I like to read books by authors who are so enthusiastic about their subject matter, as oppose to just droning out facts and knowledge. Reading this book was exciting and addicting. Following along, tinkering with his examples was just play fun. His excitement and ingenious way of looking at things just rubs off, even before I got to the real-world examples the ideas just started flowing. It's like I just discovered the next BIG THING, but I'm not going to shared that here. He does a great job of explaining everything in step by step details and then compliments them with photos and diagrams to aide with comprehension. His code examples are simple and it was easy to see what was going on. His code examples are written in an imperative, or procedural style as oppose to an object oriented style, which in my opinion, is better suited when teaching new or difficult concepts. Also, it's just easier to follow along by a wider range of people with varying programming backgrounds. He also provides his own supplemental library (via the book website), to simplify using cURL itself. Using his library, I was able to quickly get things up and running and see how everything works, and that is a good thing when learning something new. It sets you on a possible spin and leaves you with nothing but good stuff to say about the subject you just learned. In the end, would I recommend this book to others? Absolutely. It is just like learning the command line, once you start and see the benefits, you never look back.