Welcome to PHP Web scraping. Web scraping is the process of programmatically crawling and
downloading information from websites and extracting unstructured or loosely structured data
into a structured format.
This book assumes the reader has no previous knowledge of programming and will guide
the reader through the basic techniques of web scraping through a series of short practical
recipes using PHP, including preparing your development environment, scraping HTML
elements using XPath, using regular expressions for pattern matching, developing custom
scraping functions, crawling through pages of a website, including submitting forms
and cookie-based authentication; logging in to e-mail accounts and extracting content,
and saving scraped data in a relational database using MySQL. The book concludes with
a recipe in which a class is built, using the information learned in previous recipes, which
can be reused for future scraping projects and extended upon as the reader expands their
knowledge of the technology.