Create a New Interface for Amazon

Create a New Interface for

Use's Web Services API to create a new search mechanism for books. was one of the first major dotcom companies to embrace web services fully. Its API is both extensive and easy to use. For this hack, I'll use just the book search portion of the API to create a search mechanism that shows the results from two searches simultaneously in two columns. Any books that show up in both searches are placed at the top of the page across the two columns. Theoretically, this should show you the highly ranked books that cover both of the topics you are interested in.

The Code

Save the code in Figure as index.php.

An HTML interface that compares two Amazon book searches
require_once 'PEAR.php';
require_once 'Services/Amazon.php';

$devtoken = "XXXXXXX";
$userid = "USERID";
$amazon = &new Services_Amazon( $devtoken, $userid );

function list_products( $products )
<table width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3" border="0">
foreach( $products as $product ) {
<td valign="top" width="10%" valign="middle" align="center">
<a href="<?php echo($product['url']); ?>" target="_new"><img src="<?php
echo($product['imagesmall']); ?>" border="0" /></a>
<td valign="top" width="90%">
<div class="title"><a href="<?php echo($product['url']); ?>" target="_new"><?php
echo( $product['name'] ); ?></a></div>
<div class="author"><?php echo($product['creator']); ?></div>
<div class="date">Release Date: <?php echo($product['release']); ?></div>
<div class="price">Price: <?php echo($product['price']); ?></div>
<?php } ?>

function find_books( $keyword ) 
  global $amazon;

  $out = array();
  $products = $amazon->searchKeyword($keyword, "books", 1);
  if( $products != null )
    foreach($products as $product)
      $creator = 'by ' . implode(', ', $product['authors']);

	  $price = '';
	  if( $product['listprice'] != $product['ourprice'] )
         $price = '<strike>'.$product['listprice'].'</strike> '.
         $price = $product['listprice'];

      if ( strlen( $product['name'] ) > 0 )
        $out[ $product['asin'] ] = array(
          'url' => $product['url'],
		  'imagesmall' => $product['imagesmall'],
		  'name' => $product['name'],
		  'release' => $product['release'],
		  'manufacturer' => $product['manufacturer'],
		  'asin' => $product['asin'],
		  'creator' => $creator,
		  'price' => $price
	return $out;

$terma = isset( $_GET['terma'] ) ? $_GET['terma'] : 'mysql'; 
$termb = isset( $_GET['termb'] ) ? $_GET['termb'] : 'php';

$lista = find_books( $terma ); 
$listb = find_books( $termb );

$overlaps = array(); 
$onlya = array(); 
$onlyb = array();

foreach( array_keys( $lista ) as $asin ) 
  if ( array_key_exists( $asin, $listb ) ) 
    $overlaps[ $asin ] = $lista[$asin]; 
    $onlya[ $asin ] = $lista[$asin]; 
foreach( array_keys( $listb ) as $asin ) 
  if ( !array_key_exists( $asin, $lista ) ) 
    $onlyb[ $asin ] = $listb[$asin]; 

<title>Amazon Search Compare</title>
<style type="text/css">
th { border-bottom: 1px solid black; background: #eee; margin-bottom: 5px; font-
size: small; }
td { font-size: small; }
.title { font-weight: bold; font-size: medium; }
.author { margin-left: 30px; font-style: italic; }

<div style="width:600px;">

<table width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0">
<tr><th width="50%"><input type="text" name="terma" value="<?php echo( $terma );
?>" /></th>
<th width="50%"><input type="text" name="termb" value="<?php echo( $termb ); ?>"
/><input type="submit" value="Go" /></th></tr>

<table width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0">
<tr><td><?php list_products( array_values( $overlaps ) ); ?></td></tr>

<table width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0">
<tr><td valign="top" width="50%"><?php list_products( array_values( $onlya ) );
<td valign="top" width="50%"><?php list_products( array_values( $onlyb ) ); ?></


This hack uses the Services_Amazon PEAR module to search on two separate terms simultaneously. The find_books( ) function takes a search term and returns all of the books associated with that term. The script creates two of these lists, $lista and $listb, with each of the search results. It then creates three additional lists; those books that appear in both lists are stored in $overlaps, while those that are only in $lista go into $onlya and those only in $listb end up in $onlyb. The rest of the script formats these lists into HTML using standard PHP text templating techniques.

Running the Hack

Edit the code to replace the $devtoken and $userid values with those you get when signing up for Amazon Web Services access ( Next, install the Services_Amazon PEAR module [Hack #2].

The last step is to upload the index.php page to your web site, and navigate to it in your browser. This should give you a page that looks like Figure.

You can change the terms used in the search by altering the values in the column headings and clicking the Go button.

Simultaneously searching for PHP and MySQL

See Also

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