I’ve started playing around with linking to the Amazon web services. Again this is primarily to investigate building a ‘virtual bookstall’ into the church website, but as a side-effect it has allowed me to put the pretty cool random selections from both my wishlist and Beth’s onto the sidebar. It will also allow Beth to do her reading log, which she currently writes in a notebook, online. In traditional programmer fashion I’ve started with somebody elses code to see how it’s done, and from there will look at how the web services work.
The code I have used is the excellent CG-Amazon by David Chait. The code is by default configured to hook up to Amazon.com, but it was a simple matter of setting a variable in the config file to get it to point to the UK Amazon site. The main issues I’ve had so far are related to the web services, which seem to periodically return a 503 error, plus there was some confusion in the documentation about where to put the cache folder for the product details. Once I’d got that sorted all appeared to work fine. However, I have had to change the main css file driving the look of the log, primarily as the product listings didn’t look very good on the original one (Rubric, the second place in Alex King’s WordPress Style competition), and the second choice, Bulletin Board, another entry in the competition messed up the Amazon product details, and totally messed up on Internet Explorer. Both of those were down to the CSS files, so I guess I’ll take a look. I am now using Silver is the New Black, which is a fairly simple layout that looks pretty good.
I have yet to work out if there is way to directly drop in recommended products, so I’ve had to build the link manually. For starters, here is a link to the book that my Mum published with my uncle a few years back. It’s no longer in print unfortunately, but still on the Amazon product listing.