How to Scrape Dynamic Web Pages Using a Headless Chrome and Puppeteer

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With the emergence of innovative and adaptive web scrapers, it is easier to gather data for research.

Data scrapers can be accomplished using a Hypertext Transfer Protocol client or web browser. If you find a website that is dynamic, you can’t do the same thing. Fortunately, headless browsers have been designed for this purpose.

Throughout this article, you will learn how to retrieve data online using any compatible headless web browser. This article serves as a Puppeteer lesson on headless data. If you would like to learn more about Puppeteers and see an in-depth one, the website has an article for you.

Technical Terms Explained

There are a few technical words that you need to know in further detail.

i. Web Scraping

Web data can be collected in a structured way. It is called web harvesting or web data extract.

Market research, news monitoring, and other applications use web scraper as one of the most frequently used data scrapers.

ii. Headless Web Browser

The GUI is a graphical user interface used in internet browsers for faster and more user friendly software use. There areBrowsers designed and developed for web scraper. Take the headless browser.

You can use a command-line interface or network communication to execute a headless browser. The headless feature on the server does not have a dedicated display or programming language functions.

It allows you to implement and run large-scale web application tests in selected browsers.

iii. Puppeteer

Puppeteer is a software library with a high-level application programming interface that mainly controls headless browsers. It can be used with the Javascript-based runtime environment.

Professionals and beginners alike use Puppeteer for web scrapers due to their high efficiency.

iv. Node.js

There is back-end support for Node.js, an open-source JavaScript runtime system that executes code outside of a web browser.

It allows developers to use the Javascript programming language to code command-line tools and start server-side script for dynamic web page content generation

There are benefits to scrapping with a browser.

The benefits of scrapping dynamic website app development websites using a headless browser are fairly high. The advantages include the following.

i. Faster Data Scraping

If you use a compatible headless browser with Puppeteer, you will experience a more rapid means of scraper webpages for valuable data compared to a full browser. This optimal performance is due to Puppeteer’s default non-GUI mode.

ii. Accelerated Test Automation

Enhanced test automation is possible because of the combination of a headless browser and the Puppeteer library. You can apply the same configuration to form submissions and keyboard input if you automate one or severalUI tests.

iii. Better Performance Diagnosis

You can capture your website’s timeline trace with a headless browser. Any possible performance issues will be diagnosed with the obtained log.

Headless Chrome and Puppeteer Setup Guide

Installation and setting up Headless Chrome and Puppeteer will be the focus of the upcoming portion of the Puppeteer lesson. We recommend you log on to the official website of Node.js for the complete and separate installation guide.

Step 1 is setting up a puppet.

  • Wait for a few minutes for this setup to complete after installing Puppeteer via the “npm” command.

npm i puppeteer –save

Step 2 – Setting Up Your Project

  • Go to your project directory and start a new file, then use your preferred code editor to open it.
  • You can get a uniform resource locator from several command-line arguments.

const puppeteer = require(‘puppeteer’);

const url = process.argv[2];

if (!url) {

Please give a URL as the first argument.

  • Refer to the code below for async functions.

async function run () {

const browser = await puppeteer.launch();

const page = await browser.newPage();

await page.screenshot({path: ‘screenshot.png’});

  • The final code should look the same as the one shown below.

const puppeteer = require(‘puppeteer’);

const url = process.argv[2];

if (!url) {

throw “Please provide URL as a first argument”;

async function run () {

const browser = await puppeteer.launch();

const page = await browser.newPage();

await page.screenshot({path: ‘screenshot.png’});

  • Go to your root directory and execute the following command.

node screenshot.js https://github.com

Conclusion

The lack of a GUI and frequent tool interaction via command lines make it difficult to practice headless scrapers. Your web data gathering routine will improve as you become accustomed.

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