[maemo-developers] mbarcode/maemo-barcode dialog oddity and progress report

From: Marius Gedminas marius at pov.lt
Date: Thu Oct 15 23:03:25 EEST 2009
On Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 09:42:40PM +0300, Jody Fanning wrote:
> On 15.10.2009 10:57, Simon Pickering wrote:
> >> Why is it necessary to do a "webscrape" of Amazon. Amazon has plenty
> >> of simple APIs for getting data freely and easily. The REST based ones
> >> are extremely simple and you get back an XML document with everything
> >> you need.
> >>      
> > It quite possibly isn't necessary, this is certainly not my area of
> > expertise, just something I wanted to get working ASAP. When I looked at
> > how to do this I found a mixture of web scraping tools and ones that use
> > Amazon Web Services. AFAIK AWS requires that you register to obtain a
> > key, and I'm not sure of the exact terms and conditions, but I presume
> > they will not want me to share my key, but I may be wrong about this.
> >    
> I'm pretty sure you are able to share the key. I do have an AWS account 
> and have used it for my own stuff (in Java though). But all those 
> applications around must have a key embedded since they never ask you to 
> register yourself. There must be some other open source applications 
> around that fetch data from Amazon using AWS.

Calibre, for one.  The key is embedded right there in the sources.
I don't know if they're allowed to do that since I was too lazy to
actually read the AWS agreement.  (Shh! Don't tell anyone.)

I applied for an AWS key, got two (one called "access key", the other
called "secret access key"), did some experiments with pyaws (a Python
library for accessing the AWS).  I couldn't get it to work with just the
AWS key, I needed to supply both.  I don't know how Calibre manages to
do its thing with just one key (or maybe it's broken now -- I couldn't
figure out the user interface and ran away screaming to invent my own
library management system).

> Amazon did make things a little more complicated a few months ago 
> though. All requests must be signed,

This might mean that Calibre was using old unsigned requests at the time
I looked at its source code.

> but they generally provide code 
> samples for how to do everything. One thing is to check the licensing of 
> the interfaces. There was something recently about different licensing 
> between mobile devices and other uses that came up with the iPhone. But 
> the advantage is that you won't have any problem with the page layout 
> breaking things. Plus their APIs provide pretty much every detail about 
> an item you could think of.

Marius Gedminas
Give a man a computer program and you give him a headache, but teach him to
program computers and you give him the power to create headaches for others for
the rest of his life...
        -- R. B. Forest
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