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Re: Extract data from website and transfer it to Outlook

by punkish (Priest)
on Apr 28, 2006 at 02:38 UTC ( #546168=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Extract data from website and transfer it to Outlook

I have no experience with constructing Perl code... I think only Perl can save me
Why do you think so? I am curious. If you have no experience with Perl, what makes you think that it can save you. From my experience, assuming I take your statements at face value, you probably will make your life miserable trying to accomplish this task with Perl. Why not do it with some other programming language that you might already know?

That said, yes, Perl definitely can assist you in this task. But Outlook fields are a mess. All kinds of esoteric information is stored in them, and you have to make sure fields map properly.

Is the website which has the information in your control? It is probably being powered by a database. Could you wrangle access to that database? If yes, your job will be much easier. If not, read on...

Do the following... instead of mucking around with Perl right-away, launch MS-Winword (assuming you have a reasonably modern copy of it). Open your website URL in Winword, and suck the entire website down, traversing each link till you have all the information. Now you will have all the info on your 'puter in one big mongo file.

Save that file as text, and scan through that looking for patterns. See if you can have Excel parse all that crap into columns.

Actually, you can also try opening the URL directly in Excel. It supports these web queries where it tries to parse out tabular info from html (if that is applicable to you).

Truly, Perl may be the most inappropriate tool for you given that you are "currently looking up how to even start a Perl script."

Good luck. You will need it.

--

when small people start casting long shadows, it is time to go to bed
  • Comment on Re: Extract data from website and transfer it to Outlook

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Re^2: Extract data from website and transfer it to Outlook
by Paintermonkey (Novice) on Apr 28, 2006 at 04:39 UTC
    Thanks Punkish, I'm actually working on multiple avenues towards that end result of getting all these contacts onto my Boss' Outlook rolodex. There is a .pdf file of this information as well and I'll be working on converting that to a text file and so forth. If I was fluent in Perl, it'd help me abbreviate the 4 or 5 tiered process I'd have to go through, because the script will ideally do this, and take it all into consideration. But the .pdf might pose its own set of problems. I'll see about this when I try to tackle it tomorrow.

    I'm really trying all avenues at once and I thought this was a good time as any to take a deeper look at Perl.
      I'm really trying all avenues at once and I thought this was a good time as any to take a deeper look at Perl.
      Probably is a good reason to take a deeper look at Perl, whether or not it is a good time is your call depending on how much of a hurry you are in to do the current task.

      On another list I subscribe to, a common question is "What language is the best for scripting?" This is for a GIS (mapping) application that can be scripted using many different languages. My answer is, "The best language is the one you know best."

      There is a .pdf file of this information as well and I'll be working on converting that to a text file and so forth

      That is great, esp. if the PDF is actually text and not an image. You can export the text out to RTF, save that as plain text, open it up in Excel, and format it as CSV. All that would remain would be to determine the CSV format that Outlook expects, massage your Excel file accordingly, export it to CSV, and then import to Outlook.

      Once this task is behind you, you can start learning Perl, and then maybe even come back to this task to see how you could do it using Perl.

      --

      when small people start casting long shadows, it is time to go to bed

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