php|architect's Guide to Web Scraping by Matthew Turland

By Matthew Turland

Regardless of the entire developments in net APIs and interoperability, it is inevitable that, sooner or later on your profession, you'll have to "scrape" content material from an internet site that used to be no longer outfitted with internet companies in brain. And, regardless of its occasionally less-than-stellar acceptance, internet scraping is generally a complete valid activity-for instance, to trap info from an outdated model of an internet site for insertion right into a glossy CMS. This booklet, written via scraping professional Matthew Turland, covers internet scraping suggestions and subject matters that diversity from the easy to unique utilizing various applied sciences and frameworks: · knowing HTTP requests · The Hypertext Preprocessor HTTP streams wrapper · cURL · pecl_http · PEAR:HTTP · Zend_Http_Client · construction your personal scraping library · utilizing Tidy · examining code with the DOM, SimpleXML and XMLReader extensions · CSS selector libraries · PCRE trend matching · assistance and tips · Multiprocessing / parallel processing

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Content Caching CURLOPT_TIMECONDITION must CURL_TIMECOND_IFUNMODSINCE be set to either CURL_TIMECOND_IFMODSINCE or to select whether the If-Modified-Since or If-Unmodified-Since header will be used respectively. CURLOPT_TIMEVALUE must be set to a UNIX timestamp (a date representation using the number of seconds between the UNIX epoch and the desired date) to indicate the last client access time of the resource. The time function can be used to derive this value. User Agents CURLOPT_USERAGENT can be used to set the User Agent string to use.

Note that this time includes DNS lookups. For environments where the DNS server in use or the web server hosting the target application is not particularly responsive, it may be necessary to increase the value of this setting. CURLOPT_TIMEOUT is a maximum amount of time in seconds to which the execution of individual cURL extension function calls will be limited. Note that the value for this setting should include the value for CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT. In other words, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT is a segment of the time represented by CURLOPT_TIMEOUT, so the value of the latter should be greater than the value of the former.

It’s rare for this to become an issue during development, but it is a circumstance worth knowing. POST Requests The next most common HTTP operation after GET is POST, which is used to submit data to a specified resource. When using a web browser as a client, this is most often done via an HTML form. POST is intended to add to or alter data exposed by the application, a potential result of which is that a new resource is created or an existing resource is changed. One major difference between a GET request and a POST request is that the latter includes a body following the request headers to contain the data to be submitted.

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