October 31, 2003
"Spidering Hacks": Expert Tips for Sending Spiders Out on the Web
Sebastopol, CA--Many people will tell you that you can always tell a
spider bite because it leaves two puncture wounds. Moreover, spiders are
known to drink moisture from the lips of sleeping humans, and not all
spiders are poisonous. In fact, all of these statements are false. Google
the words "spider myths" and you'll find the Spider Myths Site, where
spider expert Rod Crawford debunks these popular beliefs and many others.
For example, you'll learn that while few spiders are poisonous (mushrooms
are poisonous), most are venomous, but they seldom bite. If, however, your
need to keep current on spider myths is so pressing that you want
up-to-the-minute notifications of any additions to the site, you'll need
to send out a spider of your own. To learn about this kind of spider,
dive into Spidering Hacks (O'Reilly, US $24.95), written by spidering
experts Kevin Hemenway and Tara Calishain.
"Spidering Hacks" takes you to the next level in Internet data
retrieval--beyond search engines--by showing you how to create spiders and
bots to retrieve information from your favorite sites and data sources.
"If you've ever had any desire to get a certain piece of information on a
web page in a different way, like a stock quote though email or product
prices compared amongst your favorite sites, then this book is going to
give you techniques on how to do so," explains coauthor Hemenway." You'll
no longer feel constrained by the way host sites think you want to see
their data presented--you'll learn how to scrape and repurpose raw data so
you can view in a way that's meaningful to you."
Written for developers, researchers, technical assistants, librarians, and
power users, "Spidering Hacks" provides expert tips on spidering and
scraping methodologies. The book begins with a crash course in spidering
concepts, tools (Perl, LWP, out-of-the-box utilities), and ethics (how to
know when you've gone too far: what's acceptable and unacceptable). Next,
readers will collect media files and data from databases. Then they'll
learn how to interpret and understand the data, repurpose it for use in
other applications, and even build authorized interfaces to integrate the
data into their own content.
By the time they've finished the book readers will be able to:
Aggregate and associate data from disparate locations, then store and
manipulate the data as desired
Gain a competitive edge in business by knowing when competitors'
products are on sale, and comparing sales ranks and product placement
on e-commerce sites
Integrate third-party data into their own applications or web sites
Make their own sites easier to scrape and more usable to others
Keep up-to-date with favorite comics strips, news stories, stock tips,
and more without visiting the site every day
"If you've ever been interested in pulling information off the Web, but
you have limited experience with Perl scripts, this book will give you
dozens of examples to play with, from the very useful to the downright
weird," says coauthor Calishain. "Even more experienced Perl
programmers will get some ideas from the many different sources and
techniques in this book."
Like the other books in O'Reilly's popular Hacks series, "Spidering
Hacks" delivers 100 industrial-strength tips and tools from experts to
help readers master this technology. If you're interested in data
retrieval of any type, this book provides a wealth of data for finding
a wealth of data.
Kevin Hemenway and Tara Calishain
ISBN 0-596-00577-6, 402 pages, $24.95 US, $38.95 CA
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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