There is an explosion of big data, and businesses all over the world are dependent on relevant information to craft business intelligence that will influence growth and help them dominate the market continuously.

The report has it that we are currently producing about 5 quintillions of data each day. This is huge, and it grants every company an opportunity to harvest enough data to drive decisions.

There are several ways to harvest this data, but these many ways have been broadly classified as automation and scraping.

Each of these methods has languages and tools that present the best results. For instance, for web automation, you could choose to use Puppeteer, and for scraping, you may choose to use Cheerio.

Both libraries are based on the Node.js framework and built by Google to fulfill specific tasks based on users’ needs.

What Is Automation?

Automation or advanced web scraping can be defined as the process of using high-level tools, software, and programs to extract an abundant amount of data from several sources across the internet.

Web automation became popular in the face of data surplus as companies started seeing the need to harvest data not just from a single webpage or website but from multiple web pages and countless websites.

The type of data extraction needs tools that can easily navigate from one webpage to the next and from one website to the next to collect all the data related to a given subject.

This means the tools need to be highly intelligent to read and understand words and make decisions with little or no human interference.

This also helps eliminate the stress of gathering data in enormous quantities while guaranteeing data accuracy and increasing productivity and performance.

What Is Scraping?

On the other side of web automation is web scraping, which is gathering a lesser amount of data from a specific location.

Instead of scraping several web pages and websites, web scraping focuses on harvesting specific data from one webpage.

This is much simpler and the tools used are not as complex or sophisticated. Yet it needs to include some level of automation still to ensure the process is not manual.

This will save time and energy while ensuring that the data is valid and accurate with very few errors.

What Is Cheerio?

Cheerio, as explained earlier, is a Node.js library also popularly referred to as JQuery for Node. It is a simple library used for simple activities such as web scraping.

It works like the Python BeautifulSoup to extract data in the simplest way possible. All that is required here is the URL of the target destination, and Cheerio can effectively interact with the page and collect the HTML content.

Next, the data can be converted and parsed before storing it for immediate or future application. A practical example could be extracting specific information from a single page on Twitter.

The Cheerio library can achieve this with very few lines of code and with minimal effort.

What Is Puppeteer and Puppeteer Tutorial?

Puppeteer is becoming the tool of choice when extracting JavaScript content using a headless browser.

This library, also based on Node.js, is owned by Google and can be used to control a headless Chrome browser remotely.

However, it can also control non-headless browsers, especially during debugging. The primary role of Puppeteer in data extraction is automation.

The tool can intelligently navigate pages on a website or several websites and harvest data following a specific topic. It can navigate multiple websites continuously to harvest data that may be unavailable otherwise.

Those who use Puppeteer often enjoy unparalleled automation for data collection. It also gives you the ability to collect data frequently and repeatedly with very little effort.

Yet using Puppeteer requires more work and more codes than using Cheerio for simple web scraping, and this is why you will need to view this website and pass through the Puppeteer tutorial to understand how to work with this library fully. 

Automation vs. Scraping

Collecting data from any part of the internet is better done with the best tools, and different tools serve different purposes.

Automation and scraping are two essential methods for harvesting data, with one being more complex than the other. When you are looking to extract a large amount of data from several sources at once, then your best bet would be to use automation and Puppeteer as the tool of choice.

This will allow you not only to collect data with headless Chrome remotely, but it will help to ensure that you effectively scrape from JavaScript content. And seeing how most modern websites are built off JS, it is possible to scrape a large dose of data automatically from any website using Puppeteer.

On the other hand, if what you seek is simple data gotten from a single URL or webpage, then using Puppeteer would be overkill and unnecessary.

The tool of choice here should be the one developed using Cheerio. This is a simple yet partly automated way to collect data directly and straightforwardly.


When it comes to collecting data, you will need first to decide what exactly you want to choose the right tools.

Automation and scraping, while being two very essential ways of collecting data, do not occur the same way and cannot possibly give you the same results.