- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (August 30, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780596005429
- ISBN-13: 978-0596005429
- ASIN: 0596005423
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,259,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools 1st Edition
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At its core, Amazon.com is a great big database concerned with lots of stuff--books, of course, but also tools, clothing, films on DVD, kitchen equipment, and lots and lots (and lots) of Harry Potter paraphernalia. Want to wear an Anna Kournikova exercise brassiere while juicing celery (presumably with considerable vigor)? Amazon can help. Need a cricket bat, radar gun, dietary fiber supplement, or vibrasonic molechaser? Amazon has what you need. Which is all great, but the real value of Amazon.com isn't that these things are in the database. The real value of this site lies in the information about all that stuff--reviews, sales rankings, recommendations, and the like--and the large number of ways to access it. Amazon Hacks explains how to get the most out of Amazon.com as an ordinary customer with a Web browser and as a software developer interested in the site's considerable collection of Web Services.
In Amazon Hacks, Paul Bausch documents most of the avenues Amazon.com has opened up for exploration of the database. A lot of his coverage borders on the obvious: Sections on how to "Power-Search for Books" and "Put an Item Up for Bid at Amazon Auctions" aren't too different from Amazon's own explanatory articles. Coverage of how to add an Amazon search box to your own site, and add Amazon Associates item links to various kinds of Weblogs (including Blosxom and Moveable Type) are much handier. Bausch really shines when explaining Amazon.com's Web Services (AWS), the remotely accessible software interfaces that enables programs to search the database. He includes AWS-enabled programs in PHP, Python, and Perl. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to use Amazon.com as a Web surfer, Web site publisher, and software developer. Detailed coverage goes to advanced product search techniques, managing the characteristics associated with your Amazon login, selling through Amazon Auctions and zShops, and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) API for Perl, PHP, and Python.
About the Author
Paul Bausch is an accomplished web application developer, and is the co-creator of the popular weblog software Blogger. Among his recent applications is BookWatch, a site that scans weblogs for book mentions, analyzes them to find the most frequently mentioned books, and uses the Amazon API to display the results. Paul is also an accomplished writer, and is the co-author of We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs, published by Wiley.
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Amazon Hacks is the best of the wonderful "Hacks" series. You won't be suprised to see that you know about most of the 100 hacks and/or find them unusable.
However, there are at least 0 that changed how I look at and use Amazon everyday.
I've been on Amazon as a buyer, seller, publisher, author and heavy user since the begining. I professionally promote books on Amazon... still, I found new information in this book.
I recommend anything in the HACK series, and this one for anyone that intend to use web services, Amazon, or a computer in the next decade.
Even if you're not interested in programming hacks or using Amazon's API, this is still an extremely informative book for any Amazon user.
It provides excellent insight into how Amazon works and the wealth of information you can derive from Amazon.
I commonly spend several hours per day on Amazon (ahem, cough, cough!). The site is constantly changing, and there is always something new to discover. But I have acquired a decent familiarity with Amazon through all of my countless (and they shall remain that way) hours of clicking around the site. From this standpoint, I would say that the first 3 chapters of "Amazon Hacks" don't provide any understanding of the Search, Community features, or Account information that someone who has been around a while would not already have. In fact, the book's information on Amazon Community features isn't comprehensive. On the other hand, there are hacks for getting additional utility out of Amazon such as: configuring Internet Explorer to search Amazon from its address bar or any web page, adding an Amazon sidebar to Mozilla, prioritizing your wish list using a third-party service, sorting recommendations and items by average rating, finding a purchase circle by zip code, tracking the sales ranks of items over time, and how to perform a lot of tasks remotely.
I am not a programmer or an Amazon Associate, so I am not in the best position to judge the helpfulness of Chapters 4-6. But it looks to me like Amazon Associates who want to integrate more information from Amazon's database into their site could benefit immensely from Chapter 5. You will find how to: allow customers to purchase items or add them to Amazon wish lists through your site, do that using pop-up windows, create Amazon banner ads that include product recommendations, show Amazon search results on your site, add an Amazon Box to your site, measure and publish your Associates sales statistics, and more hacks along these lines. Chapter 6, "Amazon's Web Services", basically provides hacks that web developers can use to acquire any information from Amazon's database in machine-readable format. Amazon released their Web Services API in 2002, so they are inviting developers to build applications using the Amazon platform. You will need a developer's token, which you get by opening an Associate's account, then screen-scrape to your heart's content!
The third type of reader is someone who has no interest in Amazon, per se. Rather, you are acutely interested in learning and writing Web Services. This is such a nascent field that there is a paucity of real life applications that an arbitrary user on the net can experiment with. Amazon is one of the few companies that currently makes available Web Services with a rich pool of data. If you are keen, Bausch has several tasks where he integrates AWS with those of Google, USPS and other sites. Well worth studying carefully for inspiration. Of course, ten years from now, we will all laugh at how primitive the current Web Services are. But perhaps you can take some ideas gleaned from this book to bring about that very outcome. The whole field of Web Services is so inchoate that maybe just as Jeff Bezos came up with the idea of selling books online several years ago, you might do likewise with an innovative service.