Open source web-crawler: Web-Harvest

Web-Harvest Project Home Page.

Web-Harvest is Open Source Web Data Extraction tool written in Java. It offers a way to collect desired Web pages and extract useful data from them. In order to do that, it leverages well established techniques and technologies for text/xml manipulation such as XSLT, XQuery and Regular Expressions. Web-Harvest mainly focuses on HTML/XML based web sites which still make vast majority of the Web content. On the other hand, it could be easily supplemented by custom Java libraries in order to augment its extraction capabilities.

Process of extracting data from Web pages is also referred as Web Scraping or Web Data Mining. World Wide Web, as the largest database, often contains various data that we would like to consume for our needs. The problem is that this data is in most cases mixed together with formatting code – that way making human-friendly, but not machine-friendly content. Doing manual copy-paste is error prone, tedious and sometimes even impossible. Web software designers usually discuss how to make clean separation between content and style, using various frameworks and design patterns in order to achieve that. Anyway, some kind of merge occurs usually at the server side, so that the bunch of HTML is delivered to the web client.