Recently I had to do some x(ht)ml tree jiggling (aka screen scraping) to get documents from site A to site B. Python and libraries came to help, worked out quite nicely, here are few of the libraries used, please note most of these are part of standard python library.
Well, as the saying goes
it is not about doing simple things and making it look hard but doing (atleast somewhat) hard things and making it look easy.
Standing on others shoulders has a lot to do with it.
Now, I had to do something similar but less jiggling, but in Java, as a plugin to a third party modern java app (read, if you take a thread dump, call stack of app threads would be atleast 100+ frames deep), and here is my feeling toward it, extremely unpleasant
coding in java is like painting with a nail on a steel canvas with no ear muffs
Sun has earned too much negative karma and not enough money with Java, and they have to let it go into community hands. They have lots of good stuff, read about their recent fishworks products. It is a shame, what Sun is going through, considering how good their (hardware, os) products are.