What's in It for Developers?

Your ability to write a webbot can distinguish you from a pack of lesser developers. Web developers—who've gone from designing the new economy of the late 1990s to falling victim
to it during the dot-com crash of 2001—know that today's job market is very competitive. Even today's most talented developers can have trouble finding meaningful work. Knowing how to write webbots will expand your ability as a developer and make you more valuable to your employer or potential employers.

A webbot writer differentiates his or her skill set from that of someone whose knowledge of Internet technology extends only to creating websites. By designing webbots, you demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of network technology and a variety of network protocols, as well as the ability to use existing technology in new and creative ways.

Webbot Developers Are in Demand
There are many growth opportunities for webbot developers. You can demonstrate this for yourself by looking at your website's file access logs and recording all the non-browsers that have visited your website. If you compare current server logs to those from a year ago, you should notice a healthy increase in traffic from nontraditional web clients or webbots. Someone has to write these automated agents, and as the demand for webbots increases, so does the demand for webbot developers.

Hard statistics on the growth of webbot use are hard to come by, since many webbots defy detection and masquerade as traditional web browsers. In fact, the value that webbots bring to businesses forces most webbot projects underground. I can't talk about most of the webbots I've developed because they create competitive advantages for clients, and they'd rather keep those techniques secret. Regardless of the actual numbers, it's a fact that webbots and spiders comprise a large amount of today's Internet traffic and that many developers are required to both maintain existing webbots and develop new ones.

Webbots Are Fun to Write
In addition to solving serious business problems, webbots are also fun to write. This should be welcome news to seasoned developers who no longer experience the thrill of solving a problem or using a technology for the first time. Without a little fun, it's easy for developers to get bored and conclude that software is simply a sequence of instructions that do the same thing every time a program runs. While predictability makes software dependable, it also makes it tiresome to write. This is especially true for computer programmers who specialize in a specific industry and lack diversity in tasks. At some point in their careers, nearly all of the programmers I know have become very tired of what they do, in spite of the fact that they still like to write computer programs.

Webbots, however, are almost like games, in that they can pleasantly surprise their developers with their unpredictability. This is because webbots operate on data that changes frequently, and they respond slightly differently every time they run. As a result, webbots become impulsive and lifelike. Unlike other software, webbots feel organic! Once you write a webbot that does something wonderfully unexpected, you'll have a hard time describing the experience to those writing traditional software applications.

Webbots Facilitate "Constructive Hacking"
By its strict definition, hacking is the process of creatively using technology for a purpose other than the one originally intended. By using web pages, news groups, email, or other online technology in unintended ways, you join the ranks of innovators that combine and alter existing technology to create totally new and useful tools. You'll also broaden the possibilities for using the Internet.

Unfortunately, hacking also has a dark side, popularized by stories of people breaking into systems, stealing private data, and rendering online services unusable. While some people do write destructive webbots, I don't condone that type of behavior here. In fact, KEEPING WEBBOTS OUT OF TROUBLE is dedicated to this very subject.

Source of Information : Webbots Spiders and Screen Scrapers A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP CURL

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