When I grew up in the 1990s, we skateboarded everywhere. If a parking lot had a ledge or a handrail, you'd better believe we waxed it and grinded our boards across it.
Fast forward to the 2020s – many cities have built public skate parks. These are safe, legal places where we can skateboard without getting hassled by business owners or the cops.
As a dad in his 40s, I'm not scraping concrete with a skateboard much these days. Instead, I'm scraping websites to gather data I can analyze or feed into a machine learning algorithm.
But scraping the web can sometimes overload the websites you're scraping. Even though it may not violate a website's Terms of Service, you should be very gentle when doing it.
If you scrape a website that's not prepared, or if your scraping code is inefficient, you might bring the entire website down.
There are few things more embarrassing than accidentally DDoS'ing a friendly website that's just trying to serve visitors on the open web.
That's why – in the spirit of public skate parks – freeCodeCamp created ScrapePark.org. Anyone can go there and practice web scraping techniques without worrying about hurting anyone.
ScrapePark.org is a simple E-commerce-style page that we've built specifically to stand up to heavy traffic loads.
You can practice scraping:
- dropdown menus
- image carousels
- menu items
- navigation bar items
- and more
The entire project is open source. If you want to add some additional elements or pages to it, please be our guest.
We'd love for this to become the main place that people practice their scraping, so that we can spare those "mom & pop" websites from getting overloaded.
Hone your web scraping skills on ScrapePark.org so you can then use them more responsibly on the open web.
This is just one of many initiatives the freeCodeCamp community has been working on this year. We have a lot more cool projects in the works.
A huge thanks to freeCodeCamp teachers Estefania Cassingena Navone and Gustavo Juantorena for helping develop ScrapePark.org. They just published a Spanish-language course focused on Web Scraping. If you speak Spanish, check out the course. [2 hour watch]:
If you want an English-language scraping course, freeCodeCamp has you covered. Try searching "scraping course" on Google or YouTube and look for the good ones from freeCodeCamp. 😃