You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Consuming Amazon.com E-Commerce

An overview

One of the most popular articles I've ever written was on Amazon.com Web services. The article was written for the Macromedia Developer Center and is located at www.macromedia.com/devnet/coldfusion/articles/wsamazon.html.

This article is a bit dated. A few days before it was published, Amazon.com released version 1 of their SOAP Web services. In this issue on exchanging data, I thought it'd be great to write an article on version 4 of Amazon.com's SOAP interface, released in September. They are now called "Amazon.com E-Commerce Services."

After two days of much frustration, I was unable to successfully invoke the SOAP Web services from ColdFusion or BlueDragon; I kept getting semantic errors when compiling the WSDL. However, you can still use Amazon.com Web services without SOAP, using REST instead, which is a SOAP alternative. In this article, I'll introduce you to Web services and show you everything you need to know to implement Amazon.com's E-commerce services on your site.

Web Service Definitions
Before delving into Amazon.com specifics, I want to make sure we're all on the same page when it comes to terminology. If you're already familiar with Web services, you can probably skip this section. If you are new, or want a reminder primer, read on.

Most of the time when you hear someone talk about Web services, they're talking about SOAP. SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol, an XML dialect that is used to define how Web services can communicate with the programming language calling it. Not all Web services are SOAP, though. A Web service is defined as any program run over a network by another program. If you've ever used cfhttp to process a credit card transaction through a gateway provider, you've used a non-SOAP-based Web service. These types of requests are sometimes called REST requests. REST stands for Representational State Transfer. Instead of passing an XML-based SOAP request, REST is done by using a variety of URL parameters to specify which methods to invoke and which values to pass in. More information on REST can be found at www.ics.uci.edu/%7Efielding/pubs/dissertation/rest_arch_style.htm.

The next definition is the WSDL, the Web Services Definition Language. It defines the functionality of a SOAP Web service. WSDL is another XML variant. The WSDL will tell you the operations you can perform against the Web service and what you would expect to get in return for that service. In many cases, you'll be provided with English documentation (such as a Word doc, PDF, or HTML) for the Web services and won't have to read the WSDL manually. If you think of a Web service as a CFC, the WSDL will define the names of methods, the input parameters to those methods, and the type of data that is returned from those methods. If you create a Web service in ColdFusion, the WSDL is generated automatically for you, just by appending "?wsdl" to the URL. In ColdFusion, you'll need to know the location of the WSDL is to create a Web service object.

There are two other definitions that you can use when speaking about Web services. The first is to publish a Web service. When you publish a Web service, you're making it available for people to use. If the Web service is public, such as Google or Amazon's Web services, anyone can use it. If the Web service is private, you may only be providing access to clients, customers, or other departments in your company. The act of publishing is merely telling someone the URL and providing the documentation on how to use the Web service.

On the other side of the coin, Web services are consumed. To consume a Web service means that you are using a Web service. It's as simple as that. Amazon.com published their Web services by making them public. As the one using the Web service, we are consuming them. Publish always seemed like a logical name for making Web services available, but it took me a while to get used to "consuming" them.

Getting Started with Amazon.com Web Services
Why would you want to use Amazon.com Web services? Perhaps you're an associate and want to bump up your potential for income by allowing people to search the full Amazon catalog. Perhaps you're a merchant who is selling a product through the Amazon.com store. The Amazon.com e-commerce services offer many features, including:

  • Product Searches: If you take away its product catalog, there isn't much to the Amazon.com Web site. You have the full array of search options available through the Web service interface that you do via the Amazon.com Web site. After a search, you can always get full details on an individual product.
  • Product Images: Image data is returned as part of the search.
  • Customer Reviews: You have full access to the customer reviews for any given product.
  • Wish List Searches: You can search wish lists by name, e-mail address, city, or state using the Web service interface.
  • Remote Shopping Cart: You can now have your users add items to their Amazon.com shopping cart without leaving your own site.
To get started setting up Amazon.com Web services on your site, first register for a subscription ID. You can do so at the Amazon.com site: Register. If you're not an Amazon.com associate (but want to be), you can join the associate program here: Associate Program.

Deconstructing the Amazon.com URL
You're ready to perform your search. The first step is to construct your URL. The URL starts with the location http://webservices.amazon.com/onca/xml. It is the query string parameters that provide us with the search results:

  • Service: The service parameter accepts the value of AWSECommerceService to access Amazon.com E-commerce services. It is required.
  • SubscriptionId: The subscriptionID was provided to you when you signed up for the developer program. This is also a required parameter.
  • Operation: The operation parameter describes what operation you are trying to perform. There are 18 different actions that you can perform. In this article I'll show you ItemSearch and ItemLookup. You can also look up seller info, perform similarity searches, add information to the user's Amazon.com shopping cart, or look up public customer information (such as reviews or wishlists). This is required.
  • AssociateTag: If you are an Amazon.com associate, put your associate tag here to ensures that you keep getting the kickbacks when people buy something based on your referral. This is optional.
  • ResponseGroup: The responsegroup parameter is used to define the type of information that is sent back to you
  • Operation Parameters: The operation parameters are a set of parameters required for each operation. You might think of this as similar to the way that cffile works. You use a different set of parameters to upload a file than you do to copy a file, move a file, and so on. Other tags, such as cfobject and cfloop, operate in a similar manner.
Note that all of these parameters are case sensitive.

More Stories By Jeffry Houser

Jeffry is a technical entrepreneur with over 10 years of making the web work for you. Lately Jeffry has been cooped up in his cave building the first in a line of easy to use interface components for Flex Developers at www.flextras.com . He has a Computer Science degree from the days before business met the Internet and owns DotComIt, an Adobe Solutions Partner specializing in Rich Internet Applications. Jeffry is an Adobe Community Expert and produces The Flex Show, a podcast that includes expert interviews and screencast tutorials. Jeffry is also co-manager of the Hartford CT Adobe User Group, author of three ColdFusion books and over 30 articles, and has spoken at various events all over the US. In his spare time he is a musician, old school adventure game aficionado, and recording engineer. He also owns a Wii. You can read his blog at www.jeffryhouser.com, check out his podcast at www.theflexshow.com or check out his company at www.dot-com-it.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...