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Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers by Michael Schrenk

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Designing Data-Only Interfaces

Often, the express purpose of a web page is to deliver data to a webbot, another website, or a stand-alone desktop application. These web pages aren't concerned about how people will read them in a browser. Rather, they are optimized for efficiency and ease of use by other computer programs. For example, you might need to design a web page that provides real-time sales information from an e-commerce site.

XML

Today, the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is considered the de facto standard for transferring online data. XML describes data by wrapping it in HTML-like tags. For example, consider the sample sales data from an e-commerce site, shown in Table 26-1.

When converted to XML, the data in Table 26-1 looks like Listing ...

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