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Amazon Hacks by Paul Bausch

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Work Around Products Without Images

Those few items that don’t have images can be pesky if your application depends on them. The key to weeding out the bad ones is byte size.

Amazon’s product database contains millions of items, so it’s not surprising that a few of them don’t have images. The lack of images can be a problem if your application relies on them. AWS responses don’t tell you if an image doesn’t exist; in fact, AWS always returns an image URL, but in some cases the image is a single-pixel transparent GIF instead of a picture of the product. For many applications, using the invisible, single-pixel GIF won’t be a problem. But if you’re watching every pixel and your application works within a strict design, you’ll want to find a way to work around this problem.

Although AWS responses don’t directly say whether a product has an image or not, they do let you know indirectly. The image at the other end of the image URL will be considerably smaller if it’s a single-pixel GIF. With a quick HTTP request, you can find the image byte size and know if it’s big or small.

What You Need

The function can be used in any ASP script; these run on Windows servers running IIS. You’ll also need the Microsoft XML Parser, which is usually installed by default when you install Internet Explorer.

The Code

Create a file called hasImage.asp with the following code:

Function hasImage(asin_in) strIURL = "http://images.amazon.com/images/P/" & asin_in strIURL = strIURL & ".01.THUMBZZZ.jpg" On Error Resume ...

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