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Screen Scraping

Most web sites are designed first and foremost for human eyes. While well-designed sites offer formal APIs by which you can construct Google maps, upload Flickr photos, or browse YouTube videos, many sites offer nothing but HTML pages formatted for humans. If you need a program to be able to fetch its data, then you will need the ability to dive into densely formatted markup and retrieve the information you need—a process known affectionately as screen scraping.