Knowing HTML and the basics of how the Internet works will be necessary for using this book. If you are a beginning programmer with even nominal computer network experience, you'll be fine. It is important to recognize, however, that this book will not teach you how to program or how TCP/IP, the protocol of the Internet, works.
You don't need elaborate hardware to start writing webbots. If you have a secondhand 33 MHz Pentium computer, you have the minimum requirement to play with all the examples in this book. Any of the following hardware is appropriate for using the examples and information in this book:
A personal computer that uses a Windows 95, Windows XP, or Windows Vista operating system
Any reasonably modern Linux-, ...