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Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers by Michael Schrenk

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Final Thoughts

Purchasing agents are easier to write than to test. This is especially true when sniping high-value items like cars, jewelry, and industrial equipment, where mistakes are expensive. Obviously, when you're writing sniping agents that buy big-ticket items, you want to get things right the first time, but this is also true of procurement bots that buy cheaper merchandise. Here is some general advice for debugging procurement bots and snipers.

  • Debug code in stages, only moving to the next step after validating that the prior stage works correctly.

  • Assume that there are limited opportunities to test your ability to make purchases with actual trigger events. Hours, days, or even weeks may pass between purchase opportunities. Schedule ample ...

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