Amazon Web Services

What is Amazon Web Services?

Web services are self-contained functions that can be published and invoked across the Web using XML-based protocols. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers applications that range from retrieving information about a set of products to adding an item to a shopping cart to checking on the status of a transaction. You can access Amazon Web Services through a REST (also called "XML over HTTP" or "XML/HTTP") or a SOAP interface. Both of these methods return structured data (product name, manufacturer, price, etc.) about best-selling products at Amazon.com (US), Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), Amazon.de (Germany), or Amazon.co.jp (Japan) based on parameters such as keyword search terms and browse nodes.

What can I do with Amazon Web Services?

All sorts of things! For example, REST and SOAP allow you to retrieve product information directly from our servers on a daily basis and format the information any way you'd like for your own Web site or application. If you don't want to process the XML yourself, you can use our XSLT service to reference an external XSLT stylesheet in your calls to our site, and we will pass back a document that combines our XML data and the formatting information contained in your stylesheet. Web Services also provides a platform that developers can use to create software that enhances the productivity of Amazon customers, merchants, Associates, or Web site owners. To see how developers are using the platform to create developer productivity tools, log onto our developer's discussion board or check out our solutions directory.

Who should use Amazon Web Services?

Utilizing our Web services platform requires some Web site development expertise and other skills. Use of SOAP requires programming expertise. We recommend the following:

  • Working knowledge of SOAP, HTML, and Perl or another programming language, or working knowledge of XML, XSLT and HTML
  • Ability to write and work with CGI scripts (or mod_perl or similar)
  • Network bandwidth sufficient to facilitate data transfers
How are Web Services and the Amazon's Associates program related?

The Amazon Associates program allows Web site owners to link to Amazon Web sites and earn referral fees for any sales made through their links.
Amazon Associates may use Amazon Web Services to display a rich variety of product data in flexible and innovative ways on their Web sites. A key benefit of Web Services to Associates is the ability to display up-to-date ratings, reviews, product descriptions, prices, availability, and more! With Web Services, Associates can give their site visitors more product information, which in turn leads to a better buying experience and more educated and satisfied customers.

You don't have to be an Amazon Associate to use the Web Services platform. However, to earn fees on sales made through links built from Amazon Web Services, you must also apply to become an Associate. (Please note: Unlike Amazon Web Services, each Amazon site (US, Japan, UK, and Germany) has a separate Associates program that you must sign up for.)
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