PlanetGnome observations

by Miguel de Icaza

Havoc claims on his "Adventures in Web 2.0" post that Amazon has a SOAP API "for masochists". What exactly is difficult about SOAP exactly?

It took me longer to register with Amazon and obtain my developer key after reading his post than it took me to write a small C# program.

Step 1: Google for "Amazon WSDL", pass the link to the wsdl compiler:

	$ wsdl

Step 2: register with Amazon, obtain your IDs.

Step 3: write trivial program:

using System;
using System.Web;

class X {
	static void Main (string [] args)
		if (args.Length != 3){
			Console.Error.WriteLine ("Usage is: amazon amazon-affiliate-id amazon-access-key keyword");
		AmazonSearchService s = new AmazonSearchService ();
		KeywordRequest kr = new KeywordRequest ();

		kr.keyword = args [3];
		kr.tag = args [0];
		kr.devtag = args [1];
		kr.mode = "books"; = "1";
		kr.type = "lite";
		ProductInfo pi = s.KeywordSearchRequest (kr);
		foreach (Details detail in pi.Details){
			Console.WriteLine ("Product: {0}", detail.ProductName);

			if (detail.Authors != null)
				Console.WriteLine ("Authors: {0}", string.Join (", ", detail.Authors));

Step 4: Compile the sample code, and include the generated client code from WSDL, link with the Web Services library:

	$ mcs am.cs AmazonSearchService.cs -r:System.Web.Services


Step 5: Run:

	$ mono --debug am.exe myassociate-id  my-key "bugs in writing"
	Product: Writing Solid Code: Microsoft's Techniques for Developing Bug-Free C Programs (Microsoft Programming Series)
	Authors: Steve Maguire
	Product: BUGS in Writing: A Guide to Debugging Your Prose (2nd Edition)
	Authors: lyn dupre
	Product: The Writing Bug (Meet the Author)
	Authors: Lee Bennett Hopkins, Diane Rubinger
	Product: BUGS in writing: A guide to debugging your prose in mathematics ; taken from BUGS in writing a guide to debugging your prose
	Authors: Lyn Dupreƌ
	Product: Raewyn's Got the Writing Bug (Voyages)
	Authors: Raewyn Caisley, Brian Gilkes
	Product: The Millennium Bug.(Brief Article)(Poem) : An article from: New Statesman (1996)
	Product: Hooking the Nose of the Leviathan: Information, Knowledge, and the Mysteries of Bonding in The Gold Bug Variations. : An article from: The Review of Contemporary Fiction
	Product: Mai-Lee's bug disaster. (poem) : An article from: U.S. Kids
	Product: Don't Bug Me!
	Authors: Gillian McHale
	Product: All this talk about the millennium bug is sheer techno-paranoia, isn't it? But then again.... (year 2000 furor) : An article from: New Statesman (1996)


I concede that using SOAP with printf and jamming the output down a socket is harder than using a toolkit. But jamming down printf-generated XML down a socket without having a complete HTTP client stack implemented is asking for trouble on both counts anyways.

Alvaro and US Airport Security

Alvaro complains about being treated like a criminal in US airports. I would argue that every time you cope with "security" you are treated like a criminal, and this is not limited to US airports.

Alvaro just came from Mexico, where every person entering the country is randomly subject to a full property search on arrival. The situation is no different in Europe. If you are white or European they will mostly leave you alone, but if you look remotely like arriving from Africa you get a very different treatment in immigration and customs.

My point is merely that singling out the US airports for this treatment is not really fair. Annoying, perhaps, but with international travel you must be ready to cope with these kinds of things.

Posted on 26 Nov 2005