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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager parmstro's Avatar
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    API Redesign
    AbeBooks has a Search API which has become someone antiquated (returns pipe-delimited text), so we're doing a redesign and I was curious as to what people appreciate having in an API. Currently it's mainly used to get real-time pricing data for price comparison sites.

    Our first step will be to (finally) get the thing in XML, but what other things should we be focusing on?

    Thanks in advance for any input.

    Cheers,

    Patrick Armstrong
    Affiliate Manager
    www.AbeBooks.com

  2. #2
    Full Member jollygoodpirate's Avatar
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    Not familiar with Abebooks
    I am not familiar with AbeBooks but a popular choice right now is Json. It provides a lightweight structure data framework, and it can be used directly with Javascript, as well as PHP.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I would recommend keeping a backwards-compatible version for people using your current API.

    There's nothing wrong with pipe-delimited. It's more compact and easier to parse. Given the choice between a simpler API or an XML API, I would choose the simple one. Of course many using APIs can already handle XML/SOAP/REST, so that's good to provide as well.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager parmstro's Avatar
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    API Redesign
    Backwards compatible is definitely a good point. I'm thinking we'll try to offer the results in a number of different formats so affiliates can choose whatever works best.

    We'd also like to add a token system so we can actually monitor who's using the system, but often with security comes red tape. We'll keep it as simple as possible, but if anyone has any horror stories about things we should avoid, definitely let me know!

    Thanks for the suggestions so far, and I appreciate any further comments!

    Cheers,

    Patrick

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    While XML has some good uses, you might also consider adopting this new emerging standard designed by ABW members:

    http://www.web-procreate.com/datafeed_standard.htm

    Here's the background discussion that went into creating the new format:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...rmat+delimited
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    He's talking about an API, not a datafeed. Datafeeds aren't necessarily the best solution when you're dealing with a million or more books.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  7. #7
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    That's why I don't deal with Amazon much because they don't offer a datafeed. Definitely needs to be a feed and you can always split it into parts.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    He's talking about an API, not a datafeed.
    From the original post:
    > AbeBooks has a Search API which has become someone antiquated
    > (returns pipe-delimited text)...
    > Our first step will be to (finally) get the thing in XML...

    Sounded like a format-related question to me, regardless of whether it's transferred static via FTP or via query over HTTP. Perhaps I misunderstood.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with pipe delimitted data. Is that the only reason you want to redesign it ? I hope not. If it is leave it as is.

    Are you getting complaints about it ?

    (FYI.. there was another thread on here someplace showing how to get Amazon datafeeds)
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  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager parmstro's Avatar
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    AbeBooks API
    The biggest issue right now customizing the results, to be honest. We were getting a lot of request for XML, but even more to limit or alter the return fields. Since we're dealing with mostly used books, each item is theoretically different, which means instead of having simple product rollups with quanity fields, we have 100 million different products.

    As Michael Coley noted, this makes it extremely hard to create a manageable datafeed (however we're working on it). Looking at that format however is good to know for any development we do and, as FourthWorld noted, it might be a good idea to incorporate a call that would return the API data in that particular format as well.

    Anyway, this means that those who are just displaying the lowest price just want a bare amount of information (new/used, price), but others, especially sites catering to rare and antiquarian collectors, want to display much more (publisher, publisher date, description, vendor location, etc, etc) as well as be able to exclude certain categories or types of book (e-books, print-on-demands, etc).

    So, I think that in the end we're going to work towards flexibility above all and see where that takes us.

    Thoughts?
    Patrick Armstrong
    Online Marketing Manager, ethicalDeal.com
    patrick@ethicaldeal.com

  11. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It sounds like you just need two different API calls (perhaps in addition to your current one, if it's not like either of these):

    1) A full detail call that contains everything.
    2) A simple call that just includes the basics like price, availability, etc.

    XML would certainly make more sense for the full detail, as it's easily extended and can easily handle multiple sets of data.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
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