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Amazon, XML, and image downloads

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 15 April 2002



Amazon, XML, and image downloads
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Posted DateMonday 15 April 2002 11:23 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

When I was exploring XML and RSS feeds a few weeks back - it occurred to me that Amazon should make book information available in XML format for automatic download from websites.

I actually visited the affiliate section of their site to check if such a facility was available - but nothing - I almost mailed them to suggest it. But then on Saturday morning I was looking on Amazon for other reasons and discovered that they had released an XML capability - only a few days after I had looked.!! Currently it is a very simple but nevertheless powerful capability. I will shortly be making use of it.

But one thing I did not know how to do was to pull the book images down from Amazon under program control so I could display them on my book pages. It should be easy as the image names are named after the book ASIN number which I have stored in my database e.g. http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0060926910.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg

I wanted to do it in LotusScript - to write an agent that would scan all the books on my site and pull down the JPG images and store them in my image library (part of my site database). I spent most of Sunday evening searching the web before I came up trumps - not only did I find the code to pull down any web file (given its URL) but also code to determine the size and color depth of an image - what a bonus - I can now automatically scale the images if I wish. But what surprised me was how simple this all was - of course only once you knew how! So now I have the capability to add images to all my books and also access any XML data on the web and not only format it for my website but pull down any associated documents be they HTML, PDFs, Word documents, JPG, GIF files or more. I'm one happy little bunny!

The code is only going to take a few hours to integrate into my site. Great!

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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