If you've been wanting to integrate Amazon products onto your site or web store, I have great news for you. We've been exploring the Amazon developer tools and have found their Web Services API extremely easy to use. I am assuming for this entry that you are familiar with the term “Web Services. " If you are not, please go do a quick Google search on it as it is a technical term with a very specific meaning, NOT to be interpreted as “a web page with many services. "
In a little under an hour we went from no integration with the Amazon site whatsoever, to hosting a search entry box and displaying full results on our web server populated with Amazon products. Here's how it works:
1) You sign up for an Amazon developers ID. This is a free sign-up process at the Amazon site.
2) You download example API code from Amazon or many other places via a Google search.
3) You build a simple html input form on your site to collect the search criteria you plan to send to Amazon.
4) On the output page, you call simple Web Service XML code that communicates your search criteria to the Amazon.com servers along with your developer's ID. The Amazon servers return back all the products that match, along with an image link, product description and pricing information. Your output page then displays this information to the user.
I think the applications for this type of web service integration are massive. In short, anyone who is creating a content-rich site and wants to advertise Amazon products (books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, electronics, etc) can now do so quite easily. The possibilities get really exciting when you figure out what key words to pass to Amazon to make the product listings most relevant to the site content. We are still working on these ideas.
I also feel very positive that Amazon has decided to expose their entire product database, reviews and pricing so easily to the Web 2.0 world. I think it is quite progressive and is driving things forward. Let me know if you have questions or need help with this.
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