Chapter 16. Converting a Website into a Function

Webbots are sometimes easier to use when they’re packaged as functions. These functions are simply interfaces to webbots that download and parse information and return the desired data in a predefined structure. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) provides weather forecasts on its website (http://www.noaa.gov). You could write a function to execute a webbot that downloads and parses a forecast. This interface could also return the forecast in an array, as shown in Example 16-1.

Example 16-1. Simplifying webbot use by creating a function interface

# Get weather forecast
$forcast_array = get_noaa_forecast($zip=89109);

# Display forecast
echo $forcast_array['MONDAY']['TEMPERATURE']." ...

Get Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers, 2nd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.