Michael Schilli > Net-Amazon-0.34 > Net::Amazon

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Module Version: 0.34   Source   Latest Release: Net-Amazon-0.62

NAME ^

Net::Amazon - Framework for accessing amazon.com via SOAP and XML/HTTP

SYNOPSIS ^

  use Net::Amazon;

  my $ua = Net::Amazon->new(token => 'YOUR_AMZN_TOKEN');

    # Get a request object
  my $response = $ua->search(asin => '0201360683');

  if($response->is_success()) {
      print $response->as_string(), "\n";
  } else {
      print "Error: ", $response->message(), "\n";
  }

ABSTRACT ^

  Net::Amazon provides an object-oriented interface to amazon.com's
  SOAP and XML/HTTP interfaces. This way it's possible to create applications
  using Amazon's vast amount of data via a functional interface, without
  having to worry about the underlying communication mechanism.

DESCRIPTION ^

Net::Amazon works very much like LWP: First you define a useragent like

  my $ua = Net::Amazon->new(
      token     => 'YOUR_AMZN_TOKEN',
      max_pages => 3,
  );

which you pass your personal amazon developer's token (can be obtained from http://amazon.com/soap) and (optionally) the maximum number of result pages the agent is going to request from Amazon in case all results don't fit on a single page (typically holding 20 items). Note that each new page requires a minimum delay of 1 second to comply with Amazon's one-query-per-second policy.

According to the different search methods on Amazon, there's a bunch of different request types in Net::Amazon. The user agent's convenience method search() triggers different request objects, depending on which parameters you pass to it:

$ua->search(asin => "0201360683")

The asin parameter has Net::Amazon search for an item with the specified ASIN. If the specified value is an arrayref instead of a single scalar, like in

    $ua->search(asin => ["0201360683", "0596005083"]) 

then a search for multiple ASINs is performed, returning a list of results.

$ua->search(artist => "Rolling Stones")

The artist parameter has the user agent search for items created by the specified artist. Can return many results.

$ua->search(browsenode=>"4025", mode=>"books" [, keywords=>"perl"])

Returns a list of items by category ID (node). For example node "4025" is the CGI books category. You can add a keywords parameter to filter the results by that keyword.

$ua->search(exchange => 'Y04Y3424291Y2398445')

Returns an item offered by a third-party seller. The item is referenced by the so-called exchange ID.

$ua->search(keyword => "perl xml", mode => "books")

Search by keyword, mandatory parameters keyword and mode. Can return many results.

$ua->search(wishlist => "1XL5DWOUFMFVJ")

Search for all items in a specified wishlist. Can return many results.

$ua->search(upc => "075596278324", mode => "music")

Music search by UPC (product barcode), mandatory parameter upc. mode has to be set to music. Returns at most one result.

$ua->search(similar => "0201360683")

Search for all items similar to the one represented by the ASIN provided. Can return many results.

$ua->search(power => "subject: perl and author: schwartz", mode => "books")

Initiate a power search for all books matching the power query. Can return many results. See Net::Amazon::Request::Power for details.

$ua->search(manufacturer => "o'reilly", mode => "books")

Initiate a search for all items made by a given manufacturrer. Can return many results. See Net::Amazon::Request::Manufacturer for details.

$ua->search(blended => "Perl")

Initiate a search for items in all categories.

$ua->search(seller => "A2GXAGU54VOP7")

Start a search on items sold by a specific third-party seller, referenced by its ID (not seller name).

$ua->search(textstream => "Blah blah Rolling Stones blah blah")

Find items related to keywords within a text stream.

The user agent's search method returns a response object, which can be checked for success or failure:

  if($resp->is_success()) {
      print $resp->as_string();
  } else {
      print "Error: ", $resp->message(), "\n";
  }

In case the request for an item search succeeds, the response contains one or more Amazon 'properties', as it calls the products found. All matches can be retrieved from the Response object using it's properties() method.

In case the request fails, the response contains one or more error messages. The response object's message() method will return it (or them) as a single string, while messages() (notice the plural) will return a reference to an array of message strings.

Response objects always have the methods is_success(), is_error(), message(), total_results(), as_string() and properties() available.

total_results() returns the total number of results the search yielded. properties() returns one or more Net::Amazon::Property objects of type Net::Amazon::Property (or one of its subclasses like Net::Amazon::Property::Book, Net::Amazon::Property::Music or Net::Amazon::Property::DVD), each of which features accessors named after the attributes of the product found in Amazon's database:

    for ($resp->properties) {
       print $_->Asin(), " ",
             $_->OurPrice(), "\n";
    }

In scalar context, properties() just returns the first Net::Amazon::Property object found. Commonly available accessors to Net::Amazon::Property objects are OurPrice(), ImageUrlLarge(), ImageUrlMedium(), ImageUrlSmall(), ReleaseDate(), Catalog(), Asin(), url(), Manufacturer(), UsedPrice(), ListPrice(), ProductName(), Availability(), SalesRank(), CollectiblePrice(), CollectibleCount(), NumberOfOfferings(), UsedCount(), ThirdPartyNewPrice(), ThirdPartyNewCount(), similar_asins(). For details, check Net::Amazon::Property.

Also, the specialized classes Net::Amazon::Property::Book and Net::Amazon::Property::Music feature convenience methods like authors() (returning the list of authors of a book) or album() for CDs, returning the album title.

Customer reviews: Every property features a review_set() method which returns a Net::Amazon::Attribute::ReviewSet object, which in turn offers a list of Net::Amazon::Attribute::Review objects. Check the respective man pages for details on what's available.

Requests behind the scenes

Net::Amazon's search() method is just a convenient way to create different kinds of request objects behind the scenes and trigger them to send requests to Amazon.

Depending on the parameters fed to the search method, Net::Amazon will determine the kind of search requested and create one of the following request objects:

Net::Amazon::Request::ASIN

Search by ASIN, mandatory parameter asin. Returns at most one result.

Net::Amazon::Request::Artist

Music search by Artist, mandatory parameter artist. Can return many results.

Net::Amazon::Request::BrowseNode

Returns category (node) listing. Mandatory parameters browsenode (must be numeric) and mode. Can return many results.

Net::Amazon::Request::Keyword

Keyword search, mandatory parameters keyword and mode. Can return many results.

Net::Amazon::Request::UPC

Music search by UPC (product barcode), mandatory parameter upc. mode has to be set to music. Returns at most one result.

Net::Amazon::Request::Blended

'Blended' search on a keyword, resulting in matches across the board. No 'mode' parameter is allowed. According to Amazon's developer's kit, this will result in up to three matches per category and can yield a total of 45 matches.

Net::Amazon::Request::Power

Understands power search strings. See Net::Amazon::Request::Power for details. Mandatory parameter power.

Net::Amazon::Request::Manufacturer

Searches for all items made by a given manufacturer. Mandatory parameter manufacturer.

Net::Amazon::Request::Similar

Finds items similar to a given one.

Net::Amazon::Request::Wishlist

Find item on someone's wish list.

Net::Amazon::Request::Seller

Searches for a third-party seller on Amazon by seller ID. This search is different than the previous ones, since it doesn't return Amazon items, but a single seller record. Don't use the properties() method on the response, use result() instead, which returns a Net::Amazon::Result::Seller object. Check the manpage for details.

Net::Amazon::Request::Exchange

Searches for items offered by third-party sellers. Items are referenced by their so-called Exchange ID. Similar to Net::Amazon::Request::Seller, this request doesn't return a list of Amazon properties, so please use result() instead, which will return a single Net::Amazon::Result::Seller::Listing item. Check the manpage for details on what attributes are available there.

Check the respective man pages for details on these request objects. Request objects are typically created like this (with a Keyword query as an example):

    my $req = Net::Amazon::Request::Keyword->new(
        keyword   => 'perl',
        mode      => 'books',
    );

and are handed over to the user agent like that:

    # Response is of type Net::Amazon::Response::ASIN
  my $resp = $ua->request($req);

The convenient search() method just does these two steps in one.

METHODS

$ua = Net::Amazon->new(token => $token, ...)

Create a new Net::Amazon useragent. $token is the value of the mandatory Amazon developer's token, which can be obtained from http://amazon.com/soap.

Additional optional parameters:

max_pages => $max_pages

Sets how many result pages the module is supposed to fetch back from Amazon, which only sends back 10 results per page. Since each page requires a new query to Amazon, at most one query per second will be made in strict mode to comply with Amazon's terms of service. This will impact performance if you perform a search returning many pages of results.

affiliate_id => $affiliate_id

your Amazon affiliate ID, if you have one. It defaults to webservices-20 which is currently (as of 06/2003) required by Amazon.

strict => 1

Makes sure that Net::Amazon complies with Amazon's terms of service by limiting the number of outgoing requests to 1 per second. Defaults to 1, enabling rate limiting as defined via rate_limit.

rate_limit => $reqs_per_sec

Sets the rate limit to $reqs_per_sec requests per second if rate limiting has been enabled with strict (see above). Defaults to 1, limiting the number of outgoing requests to 1 per second.

$resp = $ua->request($request)

Sends a request to the Amazon web service. $request is of a Net::Amazon::Request::* type and $response will be of the corresponding Net::Amazon::Response::* type.

Accessing foreign Amazon Catalogs

As of this writing (07/2003), Amazon also offers its web service for the UK, Germany, and Japan. Just pass in

    locale => 'uk'
    locale => 'de'
    locale => 'jp'

respectively to Net::Amazon's constructor new() and instead of returning results sent by the US mothership, it will query the particular country's catalog and show prices in (gack!) local currencies.

EXAMPLE

Here's a full-fledged example doing a artist search:

    use Net::Amazon;
    use Net::Amazon::Request::Artist;
    use Data::Dumper;

    die "usage: $0 artist\n(use Zwan as an example)\n"
        unless defined $ARGV[0];

    my $ua = Net::Amazon->new(
        token       => 'YOUR_AMZN_TOKEN',
    );

    my $req = Net::Amazon::Request::Artist->new(
        artist  => $ARGV[0],
    );

       # Response is of type Net::Amazon::Artist::Response
    my $resp = $ua->request($req);

    if($resp->is_success()) {
        print $resp->as_string, "\n";
    } else {
        print $resp->message(), "\n";
    }

And here's one displaying someone's wishlist:

    use Net::Amazon;
    use Net::Amazon::Request::Wishlist;

    die "usage: $0 wishlist_id\n" .
        "(use 1XL5DWOUFMFVJ as an example)\n" unless $ARGV[0];

    my $ua = Net::Amazon->new(
        token       => 'YOUR_AMZN_TOKEN',
    );

    my $req = Net::Amazon::Request::Wishlist->new(
        id  => $ARGV[0]
    );

       # Response is of type Net::Amazon::ASIN::Response
    my $resp = $ua->request($req);

    if($resp->is_success()) {
        print $resp->as_string, "\n";
    } else {
        print $resp->message(), "\n";
    }

CACHING ^

Responses returned by Amazon's web service can be cached locally. Net::Amazon's new method accepts a reference to a Cache object. Cache (or one of its companions like Cache::Memory, Cache::File, etc.) can be downloaded from CPAN, please check their documentation for details. In fact, any other type of cache implementation will do as well, see the requirements below.

Here's an example utilizing a file cache which causes Net::Amazon to cache responses for 30 minutes:

    use Cache::File;

    my $cache = Cache::File->new( 
        cache_root        => '/tmp/mycache',
        default_expires   => '30 min',
    );

    my $ua = Net::Amazon->new(
        token       => 'YOUR_AMZN_TOKEN',
        cache       => $cache,
    );

Net::Amazon uses positive caching only, errors won't be cached. Erroneous requests will be sent to Amazon every time. Positive cache entries are keyed by the full URL used internally by requests submitted to Amazon.

Caching isn't limited to the Cache class. Any cache object which adheres to the following interface can be used:

        # Set a cache value
    $cache->set($key, $value);

        # Return a cached value, 'undef' if it doesn't exist
    $cache->get($key);

PROXY SETTINGS ^

Net::Amazon uses LWP::UserAgent under the hood to send web requests to Amazon's web site. If you're in an environment where all Web traffic goes through a proxy, there's two ways to configure that.

First, Net::Amazon picks up proxy settings from environment variables:

    export http_proxy=http://proxy.my.place:8080

in the surrounding shell or setting

    $ENV{http_proxy} = "http://proxy.my.place:8080";

in your Perl script will route all requests through the specified proxy.

Secondly, you can pass a user agent instance to Net::Amazon's constructor:

    use Net::Amazon;
    use LWP::UserAgent;

    my $ua = LWP::UserAgent->new();
    my $na = Net::Amazon->new(ua => $ua, token => 'YOUR_AMZN_TOKEN');
    # ...

This way, you can configure $ua up front before Net::Amazon will use it.

DEBUGGING ^

If something's going wrong and you want more verbosity, just bump up Net::Amazon's logging level. Net::Amazon comes with Log::Log4perl statements embedded, which are disabled by default. However, if you initialize Log::Log4perl, e.g. like

    use Net::Amazon;
    use Log::Log4perl qw(:easy);

    Log::Log4perl->easy_init($DEBUG);
    my Net::Amazon->new();
    # ...

you'll see what's going on behind the scenes, what URLs the module is requesting from Amazon and so forth. Log::Log4perl allows all kinds of fancy stuff, like writing to a file or enabling verbosity in certain parts only -- check http://log4perl.sourceforge.net for details.

LIVE TESTING ^

Results returned by Amazon can be incomplete or simply wrong at times, due to their "best effort" design of the service. This is why the test suite that comes with this module has been changed to perform its test cases against canned data. If you want to perform the tests against the live Amazon servers instead, just set the environment variable

    NET_AMAZON_LIVE_TESTS=1

WHY ISN'T THERE SUPPORT FOR METHOD XYZ? ^

Because nobody wrote it yet. If Net::Amazon doesn't yet support a method advertised on Amazon's web service, you could help us out. Net::Amazon has been designed to be expanded over time, usually it only takes a couple of lines to support a new method, the rest is done via inheritance within Net::Amazon.

Here's the basic plot:

And that's it! Again, don't forget the add documentation part. Modules without documentation are of no use to anybody but yourself.

Check out the different Net::Amazon::Request::* and Net::Amazon::Response modules in the distribution if you need to adapt your new module to fulfil any special needs, like a different Amazon URL or a different way to handle the as_string() method. Also, post and problems you might encounter to the mailing list, we're gonna help you out.

If possible, provide a test case for your extension. When finished, send a patch to the mailing list at

   net-amazon-devel@lists.sourceforge.net

and if it works, I'll accept it and will work it into the main distribution. Your name will show up in the contributor's list below (unless you tell me otherwise).

SAMPLE SCRIPTS

There's a number of useful scripts in the distribution's eg/ directory. Take power for example, written by Martin Streicher <martin.streicher@apress.com>: I lets you perform a power search using Amazon's query language. To search for all books written by Randal Schwartz about Perl, call this from the command line:

    power 'author: schwartz subject: perl'

Note that you need to quote the query string to pass it as one argument to power. If a power search returns more results than you want to process at a time, just limit the number of pages, telling power which page to start at (-s) and which one to finish with (-f). Here's a search for all books on the subject computer, limited to the first 10 pages:

    power -s 1 -f 10 'subject: computer'

Check out the script power in eg/ for more options.

HOW TO SEND ME PATCHES

If you want me to include your modification or enhancement in the distribution of Net::Amazon, please do the following:

INSTALLATION ^

Net::Amazon depends on Log::Log4perl, which can be pulled from CPAN by simply saying

    perl -MCPAN -eshell 'install Log::Log4perl'

Also, it needs LWP::UserAgent and XML::Simple 2.x, which can be obtained in a similar way.

Once all dependencies have been resolved, Net::Amazon installs with the typical sequence

    perl Makefile.PL
    make
    make test
    make install

Make sure you're connected to the Internet while running make test because it will actually contact amazon.com and run a couple of live tests.

The module's distribution tarball and documentation are available at

    http://perlmeister.com/devel/#amzn 

and on CPAN.

SEE ALSO ^

The following modules play well within the Net::Amazon framework:

Net::Amazon::RemoteCart

by David Emery <dave@skiddlydee.com> provides a complete API for creating Amazon shopping carts on a local site, managing them and finally submitting them to Amazon for checkout. It is available on CPAN.

CONTACT ^

The Net::Amazon project's home page is hosted on

    http://net-amazon.sourceforge.net

where you can find documentation, news and the latest development and stable releases for download. If you have questions about how to use Net::Amazon, want to report a bug or just participate in its development, please send a message to the mailing list net-amazon-devel@lists.sourceforge.net

AUTHOR ^

Mike Schilli, <na@perlmeister.com> (Please contact me via the mailing list: net-amazon-devel@lists.sourceforge.net )

Contributors (thanks y'all!):

    Andy Grundman <andy@hybridized.org>
    Barnaby Claydon <bclaydon@perseus.com>
    Batara Kesuma <bkesuma@gaijinweb.com>
    Bill Fitzpatrick
    Brian <brianbrian@gmail.com>
    Brian Hirt <bhirt@mobygames.com>
    Dan Kreft <dan@kreft.net>
    Dan Sully <daniel@electricrain.com>
    Jackie Hamilton <kira@cgi101.com>
    Konstantin Gredeskoul <kig@get.topica.com>
    Lance Cleveland <lancec@proactivewm.com>
    Martha Greenberg <marthag@mit.edu>
    Martin Streicher <martin.streicher@apress.com>
    Mike Evron <evronm@dtcinc.net>
    Padraic Renaghan <padraic@renaghan.com>
    rayg <rayg@varchars.com>
    Robert Graff <rgraff@workingdemo.com>
    Robert Rothenberg <wlkngowl@i-2000.com>
    Steve Rushe <steve@deeden.co.uk>
    Tatsuhiko Miyagawa <miyagawa@livedoor.jp>
    Tony Bowden <tony@kasei.com>

COPYRIGHT AND LICENSE ^

Copyright 2003, 2004 by Mike Schilli <na@perlmeister.com>

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

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