I use the Amazon API to check wishlists programmatically, and back in March I mentioned that it was being upgraded in a way that would break the Python wrapper I’d been using for years. Readers pointed me to a new wrapper called PyAWS, but I found that it didn’t offer the one thing I needed: A simple way to retrieve all the ISBNs on a wishlist.
I solved the problem for myself with a few lines of code, but neglected to include them. Today, that March entry received a hilarious comment:
I came here searching for a way to retrieve my Amazon wishlist using PyAWS… You’re the top query (out of a grand total of 5!) for pyaws wishlist amazon.
However, reading the blog article above, I had flashbacks of Fermat’s Last Theorem:
“After poring over this mysterious PyAWS, I found a wonderfully simple way of retrieving a wishlist like with PyAmazon. However the margin of this blog post is too narrow to contain the few lines of Python code required.”
Could you please post the said few lines of codes to retrieve a wishlist with PyAWS? Would be much appreciated. I’d rather not have to pore over the whole Amazon API documentation to learn how to retrieve a simple wishlist or two with PyAWS.
Sorry about that! Here’s what I’m currently doing. It’s not PyAWS, just a regex hack of the raw XML output from REST queries.
import urllib2,re def getAmazonWishlist(aws_access_id,wishlist_id): url = 'http://webservices.amazon.com/onca/xml?Service=\ AWSECommerceService&AWSAccessKeyId=%s&ListId=%s\ &ListType=WishList&Operation=ListLookup' %\ (aws_access_id, wishlist_id) s = urllib2.urlopen(url).read() pages = re.findall('<TotalPages>(.+?)</TotalPages>',s) for page in range(int(pages)): url = 'http://webservices.amazon.com/onca/xml?Service=\ AWSECommerceService&AWSAccessKeyId=%s&ListId=%s\ &ProductPage=%s&ListType=WishList&Operation=ListLookup\ &ResponseGroup=ListFull' %\ (aws_access_id, wishlist_id, page+1) s += urllib2.urlopen(url).read() return re.findall('<ASIN>(.+?)</ASIN>.+?<Title>(.+?)<',s)
(Ironically the margin of this blog post is too narrow for the few lines of Python code required, so I’ve split those lines where indicated.)
By the way, DoubleSearch reveals that although Google currently finds only 5 results for pyaws wishlist amazon, Live Search finds 9. More importantly, if the blog entries from Rich Burridge and me are indeed the most relevant results, Live Search puts them first.
That’s not always true, of course. Often Google does better. But not always. In any case, even when the first pages of results from both engines are equally relevant, they’ll likely differ in ways that DoubleSearch invites you notice.
If you’re inclined to dismiss what I’m about to say because I’m employed as a Microsoft evangelist, then fair enough, move along, there’s nothing to see here. But if you’ve followed me over the years and continue to trust my instincts, then hear me out on this. I’ve always believed in, and acted on, the principle of diversity. If you think the same way, then you use more than one operating system, more than one programming language, more than one application in many categories.
So why would you use only one search engine?
If you haven’t tried Live Search in a while, you’ll find that it’s improved quite a bit. I’m not saying it’s better than Google, but I am saying it’s usefully different. Given the central importance of search, I argue that it’s in everyone’s interest to exploit that diversity.
Now arguably most people don’t care about diversity. There’s a strong impulse to find one way to do something, and then stick with it. People don’t readily adopt new behavior. To help them along, you need to minimize disruption.
To that end, I’ve been asking some friends and associates to give DoubleSearch a try. Specifically, I’m asking them to make it their browser’s default search provider, then let me know how long they keep it and, if they drop it, why.
I know there are logistical issues with DoubleSearch. In particular, given the side-by-side-in-frames presentation, it’s awkward to click through on a search result. You’d rather right-click and open in a new tab. Some people already have that habit, others don’t, their experiences will differ accordingly.
I’m sure there are deeper cognitive issues as well. For example, I find it useful to compare the two result pages side-by-side, but others — maybe many others — will just find that distracting.
Anyway, if you do try this experiment for yourself, feel free to comment here on how it goes.