Web Services OR Web Scraping?

The other day we talked about Top-Down versus Bottom-up approach in Tourism.
Today I would like to use these ideas in Web-Engineering (I know, I know… Can you talk about other things apart from Touristology and Web-Engineering? Yes! But not here or at least not today!).
As you know, Touristology makes clear that in order to be successful you have to set up and take all the control that you can over a chain of value. Two drivers of success are:
1) To have “Homus Organizativus” working for you inside the organizations which compose the chain of value. In modern complex system terms these “Homus Organizativus” are hubs which connect a network.
2) To use Web-Engineering to provide connection between the customer, your company and the chain of value, allowing this complex system to work as a single organization.
As a matter of fact, I strongly believe that chains of value are really your company. Some authors like Dave Gray call this the connected company.Others, members of Forrester, like to call it the customer experience ecosystem as I tweeted the other day.
So, how is it possible to make this connection? Using Web-Engineering tools and methodology of course! The first approach that I discussed was using Web Services.
Where it is supposed that all the members have a database and can use Web Services to get and send the 3C’s (Content, Commerce and Community) following a web 2.0 business model, of course!

But what happens when the potential members of the chain of value don’t have access to this technology or when you want to create a chain of value for a single group? This approach becomes expensive and inefficient.
Then it’s time to use the Top-Down approach — I mean Web Scraping!
We can find a good definition of Web Scraping here. It provides very interesting features from Touristology’s point of view. Not only to get information from external websites (which have a lot of debate over whether it is legal or not) but also to train a machine to do things on behalf of a tourist. When you mix this idea with mobile devices. As I wrote in this post
“If a mobile application wants to improve the level of satisfaction of one tourist it must offer a set of services fully integrated with the chain of value aiming to get the trust and add value to this tourist”.
A case in point: You are in a trip, you have you smartphone but you don’t want to fill in 10 forms… Easy peasy! You have your personal data in a Sqlite database in your phone, you send a message to the cloud and Web Scraping will do all the hard work for you! Going to all the webs, getting the 3 C’s , filling in a form or just getting them, in the easiest possible way!
These features are especially important for mobile apps because the tourist is in a queue or waiting for something and with no desire whatsoever to do mechanical actions.. Much better if a machine does it!!!
When I listen to Asheesh Laroia saying something similar to:
“Why do you have to use an API when the WEB provide the best API?”
“Why do we have to make webservices, when you can access the web, fill in a form get a result (it can be a video, audio, whatever / you name it) and then get it? Internet is the best web service provider!”
I said to myself this is the best sentence of the year 2012!!! Thanks Asheesh!
Jason Wei and his book “Android Database Programming” are also very good!!! Well Done Jason!
At the end of the day, all the chain of value members want to offer the best information (content) commerce and community to their customers, right?
So, get the most of it! But make it legal! So, again commercial and technological agreements, but this time through an easier technology.

Who can make these deals? I ‘m glad you ask!!! MY TOURISTOLOGISTS CAN!!!!
There are multiple ways to transform theory into reality, your objectives in achievements, intangible ideas and frameworks in employment and richness for your local companies … BUT as Deng Xiaoping said “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.” To select the right one you will need…
That’s right– a good Touristologist!!!

Jordi Oller

Publicat per Jordi Oller

Jordi Oller i Nogués PhD in Economics. Touristologist (“Turistòleg” in my mother tongue). Lecturer, Consultant and Entrepreneur specialized in business models and technological architecture for services (Tourism, Healthcare and Training sector). Areas of expertise covers: Creation, Communication and Commercialization of Tourism Services; Service Management; Yield / Revenue Management and Social Media Marketing.

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