AutomationBox Tools - collecting information from web pages

If you ever had to collect and analyze a large amount of information in the Internet, you will probably agree that this is quite tiresome.

Infinite browser tabs, opened from the search engine results, containing only a few paragraphs of necessary information each. And each nugget of information must be found, selected and copied to the document.

Using AutomationBox Tools, you can make this process much simpler - the program will select the content of paragraphs, URL links and append them to the end of the document. You will only have to point to the necessary information using the mouse cursor.

Looks tempting? Then let's see an example.

Example

For example, you are collecting information about competing products. Usually this information is stored in thematic directories in the following form:

  1. Product name
  2. Link to the company or product website
  3. Short description of the product or company

The first two lines can be combined into one, if the product name is simultaneously a link to the corresponding website or its section.

AutomationBox Tools automate this

To automate this task, we will use the ability of abtcapture utility

Abtcapture visually selects objects in the screen (yes, a paragraph in the web page is also an object and abtcapture can select it!) and outputs information about the selected object.

For convenience, change the format of the output (the --outputformat parameter) so that the program will output property values only, each value on a new line (the vallines options).

Also, we limit the set of information to the following properties: "object name(text)" and "object value" (the --outputflags parameter, option "nv").

Launch the command interpreter (cmd.exe) or invoke abtcapture from the AutomationBox Tools in the "Start" menu and type the following in the command line:

abtcapture --manualselect --outputflags nv --outputformat vallines 
  • To select information in the web page, simply point the mouse to it (the corresponding text block will be selected with a red frame) and press Ctrl.
  • The content of the selected paragraph and the address to which it points (if the selected object is a link) will be displayed on the screen.
  • Then add the command invocation loop and automatic saving of the information into a specific file instead of displaying it on the screen.
  • To do first 3 steps, create a simple command (*.cmd) file.

    captureinfo.cmd:

    
    :GO 
    abtcapture   --manualselect --outputflags "nv" --outputformat "vallines"^
     --outputfile "information.txt" --appendoutput^
     --execute "cmd /C 'echo %%ABT_FRIENDLYNAME%%'" 
    if %ERRORLEVEL% equ 0 goto GO 
    

    Some Comments

    The first line defines branch point "GO", which will be used to continue execution after each object is selected.

    The second line launches abtcapture to select an element and obtain information about it. As compared with the original line, the following things were added: redirect information to the output file information.txt (--outputfile), append it to the file instead of rewriting (--appendoutput) as well as "confirmation" of selecting object by displaying its composite name on the screen.

    The last line checks the result of executing abtcapture. If everything went well, the return code = 0 and the execution proceeds to label GO.

  • Now launch the resulting .cmd file as an executable and select all required objects by pressing Ctrl. To finish collecting information, press Esc.
  • All information is collected to the information.txt file, located in the current directory.

Enjoy it!

 

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