Your inbox has likely been filled with announcements of start-up pivots, mergers, and acquisitions lately. The one that hit hard the other day still has my head spinning. Kimonolabs a web scraping tool popular in many industries, is shutting down their service at the end of the month as the people will focus on helping their new parent company. So add Kimono to the deadpool.
Not familiar with Kimonolabs? To me, they represented the push from geek to cool in scraper technology. The same way smartphones were not hip until the iPhone. This was an evolutionary step away from tower computers and severs into the hands of hacker wannabes. With a simple chrome extension, you could do it all.
Kimonolabs was a Scraper as a Service so all the website page views, data normalization, and transformation was handled on someone else’s server (rented processing via AWS Amazon web services). Their user interface was simple and elegant. Even basic tasks like single page table data grabs are easy for beginners. Advanced mode gives you Regex laser precision. On the back end you can connect with Google Sheets or code your own solution with API libraries.
They plan to release desktop solutions for Mac and Windows to help their loyal users transition along with a new chrome extension. The bad news is no one will be able to support and upgrade these tools and they lack the ability to run scheduled updates the way that the web solution did so well.
The good news is that there are a few similar tools that work including import.io who are working on conversion tool to move code to their platform.
— import.io (@importio) February 16, 2016
Judging by the chatter on reddit and quora, I feel there is viable market for a new player to carry the baton further. I never recommend one solution for all needs, so here are a few alternatives platforms:
If you prefer the desktop application method, I recommend reading Scraping Pro for analysis and reviews. Many feel OutWit Hub is the gold standard for our industry and has a limited but usable free version.
Others may want to code their own solution. Python is the most hot language at the moment, but simple PHP works for others. Here is a great step-by-step for Python folks.
Web scraping has been around for many years before Kimonolabs and will be around well after they are forgotten. This is just another reminder that the only constant is change. IThe best sourcers use multiple websites, tools, and techniques.Click To Tweet