Software Manual - Data Extraction Software

The topic below is from the Visual Web Ripper manual.

The User Interface

The Visual Web Ripper user interface is also called the Project Designer and is used to create or modify data extraction projects.

The Project Designer can be used for the following tasks:

  • Create and modify data extraction projects
  • Run data extraction projects
  • View extracted web data
  • Schedule data extraction projects


The Address Bar

The address bar is used to enter the start URL of the website from which you want to extract data. The address bar should be used only to enter your start URL. You cannot use the address bar to navigate within the website. Instead, use templates to perform the navigation. If you don't know the exact start URL, you can enter any website URL and then switch to navigation mode, which allows you to navigate in the web browser. Once you have reached the webpage where you want to begin data extraction, you can switch back to selection mode and the URL of the current webpage will automatically be set as the start URL. You can switch to navigation mode by clicking the Navigate in Browser toolbar button.

The Toolbar

The toolbar contains shortcuts to application features. The two most important shortcuts are the Run Project and Destination Data Source toolbar buttons. The Run Project toolbar button is used to run the current data extraction project. The Destination Data Source toolbar button is used to set the location where you want to save extracted data.

The Project Navigation Bar

The project navigation bar is used to navigate within a data extraction project. A data extraction project normally consists of templates and sub-templates, and you can use the project navigation bar to navigate easily between the templates. The project navigation bar also has a Back button that lets you navigate easily to the parent template.

The Project Templates and Content Window

This window lists all sub-templates and content elements in the current open template. The Window has two tabs, Content and Templates, that are used to switch between content and template view. You can use the New button to add a new content element when the Content tab is active, or to add a new template when the Templates tab is active.

All content elements and templates listed in this window have a green, yellow or red status icon.

  • A green status icon means there are no issues with the content or template.
  • A yellow status icon means the content element or template has been configured to select an element on a webpage that does not exist.
  • A red status icon means the content element or template has been configured to select a required element on a webpage that does not exist.

You can edit the selection or other options of a content element or template by clicking the Edit button associated with each content element and template.

You can open a template by clicking the Open button associated with each template. When you open a template that has an associated action, such as a link template that follows a link, the web browser may navigate to a new location.

You can move, copy, insert and remove content elements and templates by using the Edit menu or by right-clicking on a content element or template and selecting Move/Copy from the context menu.

The Template and Content Options Window

The options window is used to set options for the content element or template currently being edited. The available options depend on the type of content element or template being edited.

You can set options even if no content element or template is being edited. The options will then be applied to the next new content element or template you add.

The Capture Window

The Capture Window shows the content of the current selected element in the web browser. This window has two tabs: Content and HTML. The Content tab shows the content that will be extracted by Visual Web Ripper. The HTML tab shows the HTML representation of the selected element.

If the selected element in the web browser is a form field, the Capture Window is used to specify the input values Visual Web Ripper should use when submitting the web form.

If you are selecting a list of elements, the Capture Window's status bar shows the number of elements selected in the web browser.

The Web Browser

The Web Browser is used to select HTML elements. When you hover over an HTML element, its background turns yellow. When you click on an HTML element, it is selected and its background turns blue.

Sometimes selecting a specific HTML element is difficult, either because its visible area is very small or because it can be difficult to see where one HTML element ends and another begins. Visual Web Ripper has a few tools that can help you make a selection. You can use the toolbar buttons Expand Selection or Limit Selection to select parent or child HTML elements, or you can right-click on an HTML element and choose Select Element from the context menu to view a list of adjacent HTML elements. You can also use the Tree View toolbar button to obtain a tree view of the current webpage.