Simple updating for a web page

The data, too, must always be kept at arms-length within the database until it is thoroughly checked.

Some people dream of being able to blast data straight from the web page into a data table. Imagine that you have an automated routine that is set up to get last week’s price movements for a commodity from a website: Sugar Beet, let us say. Because the table you want doesn’t have any id or class to uniquely identify it within the website, you choose instead to exploit the fact that it is the second table on the page.

Because the prices are similar and you do not check often, you don’t notice, and the business takes decisions on buying and selling sugar-beet based on the fluctuations in the price of Oilseed Rape. Designers can change tables by combining cells, either vertically or horizontally.The order of columns can change (some designers apparently don’t think that column headings are ‘cool’).Other Websites use different table structures or don’t use TH tags for headings.It turns out that there are plenty of ways to get data into SQL Server from websites, whether the data is in tables, lists or DIVs Phil finds to his surprise that it is easier to use Powershell and the HTML Agility Pack, than some of the more traditional approaches. Quite a lot of developers would like to read the data reliably from websites, usually in order to subsequently load the data into a database.There are several ways of doing so, and I’ve used most of them.

If it is a one-off process, such as getting the names of countries, colours, or words for snow, then it isn’t much of a problem.If you need to do it more regularly when data gets updated, then it can become more tedious.Any system that you use is likely to require constant maintenance because of the shifting nature of most websites.There are a number of snags which aren’t always apparent when you’re starting out with this sort of ‘web-scraping’ technology. An HTML table is the most obvious place to find data.An HTML table isn’t in any way equivalent to a database table.For a start, there seems to be wide range of opinions about how an HTML data table should be structured.