The first half of the formula just indicates what URL is going to be crawled. This can be an actual URL – but it’s much easier to reference a cell in the spreadsheet and paste the URL there.
The second half of the formula is going to use XPath to tell the formula what data is going to be scraped. XPath is essentially a language that is used to identify specific parts of a document (like a webpage). Subsequent paragraphs will provide different XPath formulas for different pieces of information you might want to scrape.
Converting the real world into digital abstractions requires distillation. And, like literary translators, developers must understand their biases.
A translation not only alters and augments the language in which it arrives, writes Judith Butler in her introduction to Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology, it also affects the language in which the original was written. In his essay “Simulacra and Simulations,” Jean Baudrillard reminds us that “abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept.” He expands: “The territory no longer precedes the map.” Instead, “it is the map that engenders the territory.”