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Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers by Michael Schrenk

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The Problem with Browsers

The basic problem with browsers is that they're manual tools. Your browser only downloads and renders websites: You still need to decide if the web page is relevant, if you've already seen the information it contains, or if you need to follow a link to another web page. What's worse, your browser can't think for itself. It can't notify you when something important happens online, and it certainly won't anticipate your actions, automatically complete forms, make purchases, or download files for you. To do these things, you'll need the automation and intelligence only available with a webbot, or a web robot.

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