Scraping VS API: What’s The Difference?

You’ve probably heard about parsing and API options. Due to similar tasks, these tools can be confused with each other. However, a closer look at each of them makes the difference clear. However, this does not preclude the possibility of using both methods of data at the same time. And if you are interested in this topic, we recommend that you read the article to the end.

What Is Parsing?

Most often, the term “parsing” refers to extracting information from individual pages or the entire site. This can be done manually or using software tools called parsers (rarely – scrapers). And the use of programs, scripts, or online services is preferable because it allows you to speed up data collection dozens or even hundreds of times.

In addition to extracting the necessary data, parsers structure and “package” information in a format convenient for further processing – excel tables, databases, etc. The tool allows you to get the necessary information from any site on the network.

What Is API?

The abbreviation API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a set of procedures and communication protocols that create direct access to information from an application, operating system, or other services. They are most often designed to integrate with other applications that use the same data.

For example, weather stations can create their own API and share it with other developers to create websites, online services, or mobile applications with weather forecasts, meteorological research, etc. It is worth noting that the service owner can provide access to program data both for free and for money. Or not offer it at all. In addition, it can limit the number of requests received, the amount of information provided, and access for specific individuals with a unique key.

Scraping Or API?

The goals of parsing and the API are similar – to access data. But the principle of this “receipt” is different: the parser collects data, while the API tool gives direct access to them. This does not exclude scenarios when:

  • The required service does not have its software interface;
  • Access is available, but the budget does not allow you to purchase a key;
  • The information obtained by the key is too little for research.

In other words, the use of parsers or APIs depends on the specific situation that you are in.