Tutorials and educational articles to help you make the most out of your data

Create an app in 10 minutes (or less)

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One of the easiest ways to create an app, if you’re not much of a coder, is by using Google Sheets. The inspiration for this particular app was a friend of mine who needed to use financial data to help her make investment decisions.

Integrating Live Data

The first thing you need to do of course is get some data! I built a simple Extractor to BarChart to pull all the stock information from the US Exchange. I was able to use our new beta feature Table Auto Extract with just a few clicks.

Get live web data into Excel and Google Sheets!

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What does import.io do?

import.io is a platform which allows anyone to convert unstructured information from web pages into structured data that can be used as part of an app or service, in a business’ decision making process, or in existing data analytics software. Navigate to any website you want to get data from, and through a simple point and click extraction, turn it into a table of data in minutes. That’s great news for all you Excel and Google Sheets users!

Tips & tricks for data extraction

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For this week’s webinar I decided to team up with another member of our development team, Chris B (or Bamford as he’s known around here), to bring you a few insider Tips and Tricks that you can use to make your data extraction even better. Sorry to anyone who wasn’t able to get in, we’ve been amazed at the amount of interest we’ve had!

First of all, big shout out to Jewel Loree who guest-hosted our last webinar and showed you how to get data using import.io and then visualize it in Tableau. She did a wonderful job and you can watch it back as often as you want.

How to visualize your data in Tableau

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I took a break from the hard life of webinar recording this week and passed the torch to my good friend Jewel Loree over at Tableau. Jewel has been using the deadly combo of import.io and Tableau to make super cool Data Vizzs (as she calls them) on her blog for longer than I’ve been working here – so clearly you’re in good hands!

Where the Music Matters

To showcase the power of what happens when you combine our lightning quick data collection tool with the power of Tableau Public (their free version), Jewel took us from start to finish of her latest data viz project – KEXP radio playlist.

The 11 data types in import.io

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When you’re working with data coming from web pages, there are far more pieces of information than just text. Shopping websites contain prices, hotel booking sites contain dates, and there are images all over the web!

import.io allows you to take advantage of all of these different data types when you are extracting data from web pages. When you use these data types, we can automatically provide you with cleaned and standardized data set, which means that you not only get great data for a single data source, but you also get consistent data between multiple sources when you combine them together in a mix.

Making the most of datasets

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Thanks again to everyone who came to our webinar on Datasets yesterday! I think Chris and I are starting to really get the hang of these. As usual we’ve recorded the whole thing and put it up on YouTube so you can refer back to it whenever you need to.

For those of you who don’t know the Dataset page is where you can see all the data you’ve extracted! From there you can refresh your data, query your Connectors, download it to your machine or share it with your friends. It’s also the place where you can combine multiple data sources together and a good place to access our integrate page.

Getting started with Crawlers

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Yesterday, Chris A and I did our second webinar where we showed the more than 50 people in attendance how to build an import.io Crawler! If you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry! We recorded the whole thing so you can re-live the excitement all over again. We also have a great Crawler Tutorial, if you’re more of the reading type.

After I demonstrated the power of the Crawler we tried to answer some of your questions around crawlers and import.io. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get through all of them; so Chris and I have pulled out the most popular ones and answered them for you here!

My first webinar

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A few days ago, along with the help of my colleague Chris, I hosted my first webinar here at import•io. I covered our new feature auto table extraction as well as hosting a Q&A session at the end of it. The uptake was excellent and the interaction throughout the webinar was top notch. Just in case you missed it, here’s a short recap of how it all went down (complete with video)!

What We Covered

The main purpose of the webinar was to demonstrate what auto table extraction is, why it’s so powerful and how best to use it.

Using Multiple Extractors on the Same Page

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An extractor is an import•io data source that allows you to get a specific piece or set of pieces of information from web pages that have similar structures. So, for example, given a URL to a product page on an e-commerce website, you would build an extractor to get you the product name, its image, and its price – you could then use the extractor to do the same for all of the product pages on that specific e-commerce website. This is the simplest way to get data from web pages, but there are a lot of ways to use extractors to get even more data.

Did you know that it’s also possible to use multiple extractors on the same web page in just one query? By combining multiple extractors and leveraging our federated query platform, you can get many pieces of data from different parts of the same web page in just one query.

How to: Use import•io Crawlers like Extractors

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Normal crawlers – for example Google – will retrieve all of the pages that they can find links to, and analyse the content (usually just the text) of the web pages in order to determine what they are about so they can index them for search. With an import•io crawler, instead of analysing the text and indexing it, we run an extractor against the page content in order to retrieve data in a structured format.

When you run an import•io crawler, we retrieve all the pages on the target website that match the crawl scope you specify and then run an extractor to get the data from all the pages that match the data URL template. This gives you the resulting rows that you see on the crawler output.

The Ultimate Guide to Training Rows and Columns

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As part of the User Success team at import·io, my job is to make certain that you, the user, have a pleasant experience using our tool, and most importantly, that you get the data you are after. As we are still in beta, I’ve noticed a couple of places where users tend to have a bit of difficulty.

The most common place within what we call the “workflow” where users get stuck is the training rows and columns stage. In this blog post I will outline just what they are, and how to train them.

Create a Crawler in <10 min

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Using import·io you can set up and start running a crawler in less than 10 minutes. No, really. In fact, with a little practice you can do it in about 5.

In this example we show you how to create a IMDB crawler to get free movie data.

What is this crawler you speak of?

In case you stumbled across this post with no prior crawler knowledge; a crawler lets you get data off of similar pages on a website. You show it what the data on one page looks like and it moves through all the links in that web domain looking for pages that match that pattern and pulls data from the ones that do. Doing this allows you to quickly create a database of information which you can then use for whatever you want.

Visualizing data with Tableau

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Data visulization by import·io user Michael Carper Visualizing Data   One of the coolest parts about working at import is seeing what our users can do with the data they extract using our platform. This week we got two very different, but equally cool, data visulizations from two users who plugged their data into Tableau. […]

Get Data the Sane Way!

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There is a lot of great data available on the web, but getting to that data is hard. Scraping is an endless chore and hard to maintain at scale. Import.io provides tools to solve these problems. Learn how our extractors can turn a page’s URL into structured data returned over a JSON API and how […]