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Mining Amazon.com Catalog Data with Ruby

Oct 11, 2010, 07:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Gilmore)

"Amazon.com introduced one of the world's first online affiliate programs in 1996, a mere two years after the company's founding. The enormous popularity of the Amazon Associates Program is widely considered to have played a significant role in the company's early growth. In 2002 the company launched a catalog API intended for use in conjunction with the Associates Program called the Amazon E-Commerce Service (later retitled the Product Advertising API).

"Amazon's Product Advertising API provides developers with an interface for creating interesting new services that mine Amazon's enormous product catalog. Using this API, access to typical product information such as the, price and manufacturer is just the tip of the iceberg; it's also possible to retrieve information about the sales volume (via the sales rank), product reviewers, product descriptions, related products, and much, much more.

"The popularity of this API has prompted the development of libraries that facilitate application integration using all of the most popular programming languages, among them PHP, Ruby, Perl and C#. Ruby offers a particularly powerful library known as Ruby/AWS. This library (or gem in Ruby parlance) provides an easy way to begin programmatically perusing and mining the Amazon catalog in every conceivable manner, a characteristic I recently came to fully appreciate while integrating Ruby/AWS into a new project.

"In this tutorial I'll introduce you to Ruby/AWS, showing you how to use this great library to bend the Product Advertising API to your will."

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