Associate Engine : Revisions History : v2.12.28  
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v2.12.28 (Dec. 28, 2002)

Browse v2.12.28

General Revisions

  1. NEW FEATURE: A product's detail page can now be shown locally using Associate Engine. Click here for example.

    Previously when a user clicked on a product link, the user would be brought to the product's detail page at the website.

    Set the new configuration variable asinsearch.format to the format that you want to use. For example, setting it to "details" would cause ae-format/details.fmt to be used. The default value of asinsearch.format is "" which causes links to go to's product pages.

    This configuration variable specifies the default format to use when doing an ASIN search with one ASIN. Note: This feature does not affect the international affiliate links.

    Note: The format files ae-format/*.fmt have been revised. We recommend that you install these revised format files then set asinsearch.format to "details"

    Configuration Variable Meaning
    "" = links go directly to
    "FORMAT" = use specified FORMAT to format and display product details locally using Associate Engine; e.g. asinsearch.format = "details" causes ae-format/details.fmt format file to be used.

  2. NEW FEATURE:'s Quick-Click™ buttons are now supported. Click here for example.

    Set the new configuration variable addto.quickclick to yes. This will causes "Buy from" buttons to become Quick-Click "Buy from" buttons. The style of the buttons is set with the new configuration variable

    Configuration Variable Meaning
    yes = use "Buy from" Quick-Click buttons*
    no = use regular "Buy from" buttons*

    * must be set to yes for buttons to appear

    Sets the style of the Quick-Click buttons as follows:

    1 =
    2 =
    5 =
    6 =

    * addto.graphicsmust be set to yes for graphical buttons to appear
    yes = show the "Buy from" button (either graphical or text)
    no = don't show the button
    yes = use graphical button
    no = use plain text button/link

  3. NEW FEATURE: More search types are possible. See the "Advanced Searches" section on the Sample HTML page for the HTML you would use.

    1. ASIN or ISBN Search (e.g.: asinsearch=0151008116)
    2. UPC Search (e.g.: upcsearch=076732601822&mode=music)
    3. Author Search (e.g.: authorsearch=Wayne+Dyer)
    4. Musical Artist Search (e.g.: artistsearch=Celine+Dion&mode=music)
    5. Actor/Actress Search (e.g.: actorsearch=Harrison+Ford&mode=dvd)
    6. Director Search (e.g.: directorsearch=Alfred+Hitchcock&mode=dvd)
    7. Manufacturer Search (e.g.: manufacturersearch=palm&mode=electronics)
    8. Listmania! Search (e.g.: listmaniasearch=34TRCFE5HC23M)

  4. NEW FEATURE: Apparel has been added to blended search. Example: type=search&mode=blended&keyword=sweater (Note: To limit this keyword search to apparel only, use: type=search&mode=apparel&keyword=sweater)

  5. NEW FEATURE: Wireless phones have been added to blended search. Example: type=search&mode=blended&keyword=phone (Note: To limit this keyword search to wireless phones only, use: type=search&mode=wireless-phones&keyword=nokia)

  6. NEW FEATURE: Sample Page Templates are now included in the script's .zip (and .tar) distribution file. Unpack the distribution file and see the ae-template directory included with the script.

    To use the sample Page Templates, upload the ae-template directory and the the ae-format directory to your webserver. Put them in the same directory where is located. So if you have in cgi-bin, then you should end up with the following: (your cgi-bin may have more subdirectories in it then shown here)

    Two types of samples are included:

    1. Basic: This type consists of a single Page Template file that applies to all search results (i.e.: the same template is used for books, DVDs, toys, etc.). See the ae-template/basic directory. Included in that directory are four color variations of the Page Template (i.e.: aqua, blue, green, orange).

      To use one of these basic templates, set the template.dir configuration variable to one of the following values:

      Value Meaning
      ae-template/basic/aqua Use the aqua-colored basic template.
      ae-template/basic/blue Use the blue-colored basic template.
      ae-template/basic/green Use the green-colored basic template.
      ae-template/basic/orange Use the orange-colored basic template.

    2. Store: This type consists of a set of 22 Page Template files that form a complete store. There is a template file for each possible value of the mode parameter (i.e., dvd.html, books.html, toys.html, blended.html, etc.).

      To use the store templates, do the following steps:

      1. Set the template.dir configuration variable to ae-template/store

      2. In the .zip file, there is a ae-template/ae-img directory. Upload the ae-img directory to the root directory of your website. The graphic files in that directory are used in the templates. Once uploaded, you should be able to see them in your web browser; go to: (substitute your own website's domain name for DOMAIN); you should see a horizontal line such as at Note: If you want to use a different directory, then set the store.img.url configuration variable to the URL (default is /ae-img)

      3. To change the colors, change the store.* configuration variables in amazon.ini. For example, store.tabs.color specifies the color of the tabs along the top of the page.

  7. NEW FEATURE: If a Page Template exists with the same name as the current mode parameter, then that Page Template is used; e.g.: if mode=dvd then ae-template/dvd.html is used if it exists. To override this, use the template parameter.

    When you do an ASIN search of one ASIN, a mode is implied based on the product section the product belongs to. For example, asinsearch=1561708755 shows the product that has ASIN 1561708755; since this product is a book, ae-template/books.html is used if it exists.

    The script determines what template file to use by going through the following list and stopping once a template file is found:

    1. If script parameter specified, use template defined in {format.template.script} formatting code.
    2. If iframe parameter specified, use template defined in {format.template.iframe} formatting code.
    3. If ssi parameter specified, use template defined in {format.template.ssi} formatting code.
    4. If template parameter specified, use the template file ae-template/TEMPLATE.html if it exists. TEMPLATE is specified by the template parameter. So template=myresults causes ae-template/myresults.html to be used if it exists.
    5. If mode parameter is specified (or is implied in an ASIN search), use the template file ae-template/MODE.html if it exists. MODE is specified by the mode parameter explicitly or by an implied mode when doing an ASIN search of one ASIN. So mode=dvd causes ae-template/dvd.html to be used if it exists.
    6. If the template configuration variable is set, use ae-template/TEMPLATE.html if it exists. TEMPLATE is specified by the template configuration variable. So setting template configuration variable to myresults causes ae-template/myresults.html to be used if it exists.
    7. If ae-template/amazon.html exists then use it; where amazon is implied by the name of the file itself. If you change the name of to, then ae-template/shop.html would be used if it exists.
    8. Otherwise, use template defined in {format.template.default} formatting code.

    Note: The name of the directory ae-template is specified by the template.dir configuration variable.

  8. NEW FEATURE: c3.fmt format file has been added. It is similar to the c4.fmt format file except results are shown as 3 columns instead of 4. After you upload c3.fmt to the ae-format directory, use it by adding format=c3 to your URL. Example:

  9. FIX: The grid "if" (images first) option now works again even if the imageWH configuration variable is no. Note: Using the "if" option will slow down the displaying of results the first time since information about each product image displayed must be fetched (it is stored in the ae-imgcache image cache thus subsequent displays are faster).

  10. FIX: Product exclusion based on ASIN has been fixed. To exclude products, set configuration variable exclude.list to a list of ASIN comma-separated ASIN numbers (e.g.: ASIN1,ASIN2,ASIN3). Or put the ASIN numbers (one per line) in a .txt text file in the ae-exclude directory and set configuration variable exclude.file to the name of that .txt file (note: don't specify the extension; e.g.: "mylist" rather than "mylist.txt").

  11. FIX: When using the c4.fmt format file and 4 or more products are in the results, the last row now always has 4 products (if the last row would have had 1, 2 or 3 products then it is not shown and those products are available on the next page by clicking the "More Results" link). For example, if pagesize is 25, then only 24 products will be shown (6 rows of 4 columns)

  12. IMPROVEMENT: Keyword search with no keywords now causes bestsellers for the selected mode to be shown. E.g.: type=search&mode=dvd&keyword= (note missing value for keywords parameter) now causes best selling DVD's to be shown (equivalent to type=best&mode=books). This feature is useful when you have a search form on your website and the user presses the submit button without typing in keywords. Previously, best selling books would be shown even if a different mode was specified.

  13. IMPROVEMENT: More browse nodes in the following sections of can now be displayed directly using type=browse&mode=BROWSENUMBER

    1. Home & Garden > Bed & Bath
    2. Home & Garden > Vacuums & Floor Care

  14. IMPROVEMENT: The product's title (or the browse page's title) is now available as the {title} substitution variable in your Page Templates. Example: At /cgi-bin/ the book's title "The Life of Pi" is shown via a {title}

    For backward compatibility, {titleFull} and {search} return the same value.

  15. IMPROVEMENT: The {navbar} substitution variable in your Page Templates now returns the product's section followed by the product's name (or the browse page's full title). Example: At /cgi-bin/ the "VHS / Fitness / Series / Buns of Steel" navigation bar text is shown via a {navbar}

    For backward compabitility, {navbarTitle} and {navbarTitleFull} return the same value. Previously these variables simply returned the word "Products". Note: Depending upon what results are being shown, the navbar may contain one or more links back to so related results can be shown; for example, a DVD product will have a navbar that links back to the DVD section ( type=browse&mode=dvd).

  16. IMPROVEMENT: The format files supplied with the Associate Engine script (ae-format/*.fmt) have been revised so they can use Quick-Click "Buy from" buttons (see addto.quickclick mentioned in point #2 above) as well as links to's international associate programs (see point #8 of v2.11.25 below). We recommend that you install the reviesed format files (ae-format/*.fmt)

  17. IMPROVEMENT: Configuration variable browse.more now appears in the amazon.ini file.

    Configuration Variable Meaning
    yes = Include "Browse more" links on browse node index
    no = Don't

  18. IMPROVEMENT: New configuration variable site.domain has been added. It is automatically set to the domain name of the website. To show your website's domain name, use {} in your Page Templates.

Formatting Code Revisions

You can ignore the following section if you are not interested in using or modifying the formatting codes.

  1. NEW FEATURE: New formatting code {details.catalog.img} has been added. It is a <IMG SRC="..." align=absmiddle> tag (not just a URL) showing the icon for the product's section; for example, a DVD product would show the DVD icon.

    Icon Store Mode
    Apparel apparel
    Baby baby
    Books books
    Classical Music classical
    DVD dvd
    Electronics electronics
    Lawn & Patio garden
    Kitchen kitchen
    Magazines magazines
    Popular Music music
    Personal Computers pc-hardware
    Cameras & Photography photo
    Software software
    Toys toys
    Tools & Hardware universal
    Videos vhs
    Video Games videogames
    Wireless Phones wireless-phones

  2. NEW FEATURE: New formatting code {details.catalog.mode} has been added. It is the mode of the current product; for example, it would be dvdfor a DVD product. It is suitable for use as the value of a mode parameter, such as:
    <A href={cfg.script.url}?type=best&mode={details.catalog.mode}">more</A>
    This link would show best sellers from the same section as the product.

  3. IMPROVEMENT: New formatting codes have been added to ae-format/library.fmt

    Formatting Code Meaning
    {cfg.script.url} Full URL of the Associate Engine script on your server. For example, on our server, this would be Use this format code in your format files if you need to link to the script recursively. For example, to do an ASIN search of the current product, you could use <a href="{cfg.script.url}?asinsearch={details.asin}">More info</a> (Note: see the {format.url} format code in ae-format/library.fmt and how it is used).
    {} Displays "Buy from" buttons or Quick-Click "Buy from" buttons, as well as "Buy from: ..." links for the international associate programs. This formatting code uses the following configuration variables:,, addto.quickclick,, amazonID
    {format.addto.quickclick} Displays Quick-Click "Buy from" buttons. This formatting code uses the following configuration variables:,
    {format.url?y} Use this format code to obtain the URL of a product. The URL will either be the product details page at or it will be an Associate Engine URL to display product details by doing an ASIN search through Associate Engine. This formatting code uses the following configuration variables: asinsearch.format
    URL of the product at Same as {details.url}

    Some formatting codes in ae-format/library.fmt have been revised.

    Formatting Code Revision
    {format.list1.cell} Now uses {format.image.thumb?y} for the image;
    Now uses {format.url?y} as the URL;
    Now uses {} to display the "Buy from" buttons.
    Now uses {format.url?y} as the URL.
    {format.grid.cell} Now uses {format.image.small?y} for the image;
    Now uses {format.url?y} as the URL.
    {format.grid.cell.under} Now uses {format.image.medium?y} for the image;
    Now uses {format.url?y} as the URL.
    Now accepts optional y/n parameter;
    Now uses {format.url?@} as the URL.

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