How to Create a Custom API from Any Website Using Puppeteer

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It is currently estimated that it would take 181 million years to harvest all the data currently on the internet. However, this estimation does not consider the amount of data being generated at this very moment.

Puppeteer

The point is there is more data on the internet than anyone will ever finish using. Harvesting this data is important, but focusing on getting the same dataset that aligns with your company’s needs and interests is far more important.

And one way to get the exact data you need is to use an Application Programming Interface (API), or more specifically, a custom API.

This type of tool ensures you are diving for what you need while saving time and energy in the process.

Below, we will look at how to build a custom API with Puppeteer and how the Puppeteer tutorial can help you achieve this easily. Visit this link to find an in-depth Puppeteer tutorial.

Why Using a Custom API is Important

There are many reasons why using a custom API is important for your business, and below, we describe some of the most common reasons:

1. Encouraging Data Specificity

In a world of abundant data, channeling your energies into getting what you need is crucial.

Custom API connects to specific data sources and harvests a defined dataset. This does not only ensure you are getting data but getting the specific one you need to apply in a certain way.

2. Saving Time

Generally, APIs are built to help businesses save time as they work to harvest data from a given source without delay.

Yet, custom APIs take this a step further by ensuring that you are getting the exact data that your brand needs at any given time.

The API is customized to align with business needs and objectives of data extraction.

3. Integrating Multiple Services

Customizing an API will not only help you get laser-focused data from one particular source, but it can also help you get the same type of data from several sources and services.

You can, therefore, use this type of tool to solve the problem of insufficient data by building-related instructions into one API.

This way, you can integrate more than one service, increase productivity and boost overall performance.

Why Using a Library Like Puppeteer Is Beneficial For Web Scraping

The following reasons are why it is important to choose Puppeteer for your web scraping projects:

1. For Automation

One of the best advantages of Puppeteer in web scraping is how you can easily automate the tools and processes to collect data from different sources continuously.

For many brands, this translates into the need for extra staff or spending more time collecting data.

2. For Speed

Web scraping with Puppeteer is also very effective because it happens quickly. Since it uses headless Chrome to do all the work, the user can enjoy the full capabilities and speed of using the Chrome browser even without the user interface.

3. For Easy Maintenance

Another benefit of using Puppeteer to develop scripts for web data extraction is that those scripts are way easier to maintain and manage when compared with scraping bots built with other languages and libraries.

It requires only a few lines of code to build, and you also do not have to do too much maintenance.

Additionally, scripts built on Puppeteer have the unique ability to collect JavaScript and render it without issues, a task that is often unattainable for many web scrapers.

How to Setup Puppeteer and Crucial Parts to Include

Collecting a specific dataset located in a particular application or platform sometimes requires an API.

Fortunately, you can build an API with Puppeteer and harvest data from programs that support API connection and interaction.

But before you set up the system and initiate the process, you will need first to confirm if the data source permits and supports API features.

Once you have confirmed, you can build the API that works for the data source and particular dataset.

The following are some of the steps you will need to pass through to build a functional API for collecting data:

1.Write the Code

Once you have downloaded and installed the Node.js framework, you can write the foundational code for your API.

The code must include the capacity for automation and easily rendering and consuming the data to a JSON format, and you can check this guide for an idea of what your code would look like.

2. Install The Puppeteer

You also set up the Puppeteer using the Node Package Module (NPM). Once set up, you can create the necessary instances such as browser and page class.

Next, you can include the target URL from where the data would be coming from.

3. Extract and Map The Data

Once you have included all the dependencies, the next line of action is to launch the API and start extraction.

You will need to check selectors and identifiers during this stage. The data will be extracted from the specified page and converted to JSON form for easy storage and accessibility.

Use Cases of Custom APIs Created With Puppeteer

There are many ways you can apply and API created with Puppeteer, and below are some of the most common:

1. Automated Web Scraping

This is one of the most common applications of these APIs as they are mostly built to help the user automatically collect relevant data from certain sources.

This makes connection easier, making the extraction process more seamless, requiring only minimal efforts.

2. Automated Web Testing

You can also use APIs created with Puppeteer to test websites automatically. This is often to detect issues and easily return results of the test that can then be used to improve the website and make it better for the end-users.

Conclusion

There is so much you can do with Puppeteer, including building an API. The API, in turn, can be used for several tasks, including web scraping and website testing. And both can be done through automation to make the tasks easier and more bearable.

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