Empathy is the art of putting yourself in the position of other people. It doesn’t necessarily mean adopting their point of view. It simply means understanding their goals, motivations and perspective – insights that can then help you adjust your own actions for better results and enhanced acceptance. Automated tasks to extract from website content are a case in point. You want to extract from website data as easily and efficiently as possible. On the other hand, falling into some of the automation traps could not only prevent you from getting what you want: it could also annoy your website host as well. What are some of the pitfalls to avoid and how can a little empathy help smooth the process?
What do They Want You to See?
There are two points of view. One is that any content that can be freely accessed (no password required) manually via a web browser is content that the website owner is prepared to make publicly available. With Automation Anywhere macro software, this can be immediately translated into an automated task to extract from website pages by using the record and playback feature. The second point of view is that if a webpage has a robots.txt file associated with it that instructs search engines not to crawl the page, then the webpage owner is in effect making a request for privacy. In this case, Automation Anywhere scripting and programming give you easy ways to check for such a file and its instructions to decide, on the fly, if you want your automated task to proceed further or just move on.
What is the Impact on Their Website Resources?
This will naturally depend on what you’re extracting. A website rip done once will not have the same impact as continual complex database requests. If your enthusiasm for extraction is really over the top, you may cause a bottleneck in server performance as you extract from website databases that has a negative impact on all visitors to that site. Don’t expect the website owner to fall in love with you if that happens.
Do They See You as Friendly or Hostile?
Continuing from the paragraph above, very intense web content extraction may even be perceived as a hostile attempt to bring the server down (a denial of service attack). Likewise, attempts to enter out of bounds data or data strings that overflow the length of the input field are also methods used by hackers. Even if your automated task is simply perpetuating a mistake you made in setting it up, perception is reality; if website owners see you as nefarious, they may block your access, complain about you in online forums and possibly take legal action.
The Infinite Loop of the Robot Trap
The robot trap is what happens when you constantly download the same page because after each download the URL of the page changes. If you have automated a task to rip a website based on looping through a procedure until no more unique URLs are detected, the robot trap could keep you busy (and pointlessly so) for a long time.
Using Power Wisely
Automation Anywhere software gives you extensive capabilities to extract from website resources, and also makes it simple and effective. Understanding how website owners see things helps to use the power of the software wisely and with due consideration. Appropriate automation scripts and programs will help you achieve your website extraction goals while keeping the peace with those on the other side of the network.
If you’d like to know how Automation Anywhere, the automation software with extensive features to extract from websites, can help you to automate business and IT processes, try a free Automation Anywhere trial to see what it can do for you.