Hack 77 Embed Product Details into a Web Page with PHP


A simple way to display product data with existing PHP functions.

One great aspect of an open API is that other developers have probably already put together some tools to make your life easier. After all, why reinvent the wheel if someone else has already created what you need? These helper scripts are called wrappers because they wrap up some frequently used code into a few functions that you can call from another script. Daniel Filzhut, the author of the amazon_functions PHP wrapper, asks that people register if they earn quarterly associates fees greater than $50; but otherwise, it's free to try out or use for commercial purposes.

77.1 What You Need

To get started with this hack, you'll need to download the code from http://associatesshop.filzhut.de (choose "download" from the left-hand menu).

Unzip the package and open amazon_functions.php in the functions directory. Change the first line under Setup at the top of the file to include your developer's token:

define ("DEVTOKEN", "insert  developer token ");

77.2 The Code

The file with the helper functions is now ready to be included in any PHP script. This script has several functions that handle requesting information from Amazon and generating HTML based on the responses. Pick your favorite ASIN [Hack #1] and create a file called detail.php with the following code:




echo $ProductInfoHTML;


Be sure to save both amazon_functions.php and detail.php to the same directory on your web server. Also, if you have a directory specified as an include_path in your php.ini configuration file, you can save amazon_functions.php there and it'll be available to all of your PHP scripts.

77.3 Running the Hack

Just browse to this file on your server to see it in action. The HTML written by this script includes an image of the product, a "buy from Amazon.com" button, the price, publisher, release date, and customer reviews. Not too shabby for just four lines of code! This code could be dropped into any PHP page so that the product details blend in with your site's design.

You'll find more than just the ASIN search method in the amazon_functions.php file. This file also has a simplified PHP interface to all of the AWS methods. Though you don't have complete control over the way product details are formatted, it's a great place to start if you'd like to integrate product data into an existing PHP-powered site.