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For these kind of tasks I always used an app written by myself using an embedded browser control (webkit engine or IE ActiveX control on Windows). So I load the page and just call the control methods (usually just to convert the output to plain text).

How are this tool (and similar tools) more efficient then the highly optimized browser engines? I am missing something here?

ParseHub itself runs on a highly optimized browser engine. The idea is to give a visual interface so that you don't have to worry about low-level details of how to control the browser. This also makes it easier to reason about the logic of what's happening since humans have stronger spatial reasoning than symbolic reasoning.

Are you using phantomjs/selenium and friends or did you write your own?

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