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Amazon Product API Exploration: Let’s Build a Product Searcher

In this tutorial, you’ll take a look at Amazon’s Product Advertising API. It’s an API that allows developers to access data about items for sale, seller reviews, customer reviews, and product promotions on all Amazon marketplaces worldwide.

Basic API Concepts

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When working with the API, the first thing that you need to know is which Amazon website you wish to target. Not all Amazon websites sell the same kinds of products. If you’re a seller, you’ll really have to target your own locale rather than just the US website (amazon.com). You can find information on what locales are available on this page: Anatomy of a REST Request. Once on that page, look for Product Advertising API Endpoints and you’ll see a list of locales and their corresponding endpoint. Note that you can only make a request to endpoints where you registered. For example, if you registered as an affiliate on the US website, you’ll only be able to make a request to the http://webservices.amazon.com/onca/xml endpoint.

Operations

Operations are the things you can do with the API. Here are a few examples:

  • ItemSearch – search an item based on specific parameters such as the category, title, manufacturer, and minimum price. This returns one or more items.
  • ItemLookup – search for an item based on an identifier such as ASIN or ISBN (for books). This returns only one item.
  • SimilarityLookup – search for items that are similar to the item that you specified in your request.
  • CartCreate – creates a remote shopping cart on Amazon’s servers.
  • CartAdd – adds item to a remote shopping cart.

Response Groups

Response groups allow you to specify which information about the products you want to include in the response. Note that response groups depend on the operation that you’re using. This means that not all response groups are available to all operations. Here are a few examples of response groups that you can use:

  • Small – returns basic information about the item. Example data returned include the ASIN, Title, ProductGroup.
  • Reviews – returns the URL of the iframe containing the item’s reviews.
  • OfferSummary – returns the lowest price for each condition type (new item, used item, collectible item, refurbished item).
  • ItemAttributes – returns all the attributes that an item has. Item attributes depend on the type of the item. For example, a book would have a different set of attributes than computer hardware. However, attributes such as the title or the list price are common to all products.

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