IT reflections in an age of change
Anyone who listened to Aleks Krotoski’s 5 short programs on Radio 4 in the UK titled Codes that Changed the World will have been reminded that applications written in COBOL, despite dating from the late 1950s, remain in widespread use.
Although organizations are reliant on these applications they are often impossible to change as the original developers are long gone and the documentation is poor. With the advent of Windows and then web browsers, there was a need to re-present the output of old COBOL applications. This led to the birth of screen-scraping, the reading of output intended for dumb terminals and repurposing it for alternative user interfaces.
The concepts of screen-scraping have been reborn in the 21st Century as web-scraping. Web scrapers are bots that scan web sites for information, when necessary manipulating i/o to get what they need.