AmazonFeed v1.9 Released

 –  25 Comments »

I’m happy to announce I have completed work on AmazonFeed v. 1.9.  This version includes some very cool features including:

  • Ability to sort the order in which products appear sitewide we well as customizing the sort order on individual posts.
  • Ability to choose where the products appear on the posts/pages, whether below (default) or above the post content.
  • Ability to choose whether or not specific products are displayed in association with individual keywords.  You can block specific products on the cache control page.

Hope you like this new version.  You can download it from WordPress.org.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments area below.

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Filed in: AmazonFeed Blog

25 Responses to “AmazonFeed v1.9 Released”

  1. Gaz Says:

    Hi

    First let me say that I’ve been using this plugin for a long time on many sites (I also have the tip the developer selected on them all).

    But, a couple of problems –
    The v1.9 upgrade destroyed my custom css file – not just overwrote it, but deleted it completely from the server.
    A suggestion for future releases – implement the save-custom-css-to-database function that WordBay has used (it’s also a GPL plugin) to prevent overwriting of custom css files during upgrade.
    It’s a little tricky first time you upgrade with that function – you have to backup the custom css then reimport it and copy-paste it into the css editor on the admin page of WordPress admin, but after that, you never have to worry again about losing it, and because it’s editable in admin, there’s no need to be FTPing or logging through to cPanel to edit files.

    Second, and more serious. Amazon Feed is completely ignoring the default tags AND the per post tags on buildaskill.com/blog – for example, on a post about Google Checkout and online payments generally, it returned products for menopauser relief and avacado storage – I mean … WTF? They are completely irrelevant to my readership, who are all web entrepreneurs looking for info and product to support their businesses. Even setting tags such as “SEO” or “ecommerce” returned completely wrong products – see this page as an example ( http://www.buildaskill.com/blog/2009/12/16/google-checkout-a-couple-of-thoughts-questions/ )

    I’d really appreciate getting this sorted out, because it used to work superbly.
    Thanks
    Gaz

  2. Admin Says:

    Hi Gaz,

    Glad you’ve been enjoying AmazonFeed, and thanks for the tip! That does sound like a serious problem which I will want to address right away. Can you give any details on the following to help me debug it?

    1. How did you perform the upgrade? Did you use the built-in WP controls? Or upload manually?
    2. What file was your custom CSS stored in?
    3. Are you basing the results shown on categories or tags.
    4. What keywords are you using on the post that showed the wrong products?

    Also, it may be helpful to you to check the keywords you’re using for search and see what results appear on the cache page of AmazonFeed. I have noticed for myself that sometimes the Amazon results returned for a given keyword ARE a bit strange and sometimes completely irrelevant. That is why I built in the ability to block products for a given keyword.

    It may be that you are seeing irrelevant products for a given keyword simply because the author of the product included the keyword you’re using somewhere in their product description.

    Another place to check and see what’s going on is in the error log. There should be a fairly complete description in there of what the application is doing.

    Hope this helps,
    James W.

  3. Gaz Says:

    Hi James

    Let’s start with the css file – I had copied the horizontal.css to a new file called bas.css – at upgrade this was deleted. I used the auto-upgrade built into WordPress.

    This file loss appears to be due to the upgrade XML using a folder level rewrite (delete old folder, install new folder) which then oviously “loses” any webmaster/user files placed in that folder – hence my suggestion that personalised css be stored in the database and called from there.
    Fortunately there was nothing mega-complex in the bas.css file – it was just a couple of width tweaks to better fit the theme in use.

    I base results on tags, with a couple of default keywords in the plugin admin panel, then for 99.9% of posts I use custom keywords on the post page panel – usually because I want the results to present a sarcastic / sardonic contrast to the post content (e.g. if it’s about eBay completely mucking up their search system, I might target the “for dummies” series of books to be returned).

    On the particular post linked above, the keywords were – Google Checkout, online payments, ecommerce – which I now note have been deleted even though I confirmed they were saved when the post was published (I’ve now re-entered them again) – it shouldn’t have made too much difference as the keywords for the blog as a whole, in the admin panel, include, ecommerce and online payments.

    May be worth noting that on this install I use the “all” products option. Also a good moment to ask if it’s possible to change the search area selections from a radio button array to a checkboxes one? Not sure if the reason you did it with a radio button was an Amazon restriction or not?

    Unfortunately the error log had hit 1,800+ pages and there was no way I was going to trawl through that, so I deleted it – the error log needs an auto-pruning mechanism (e.g. user set number of days, say between 3 and 30 days as the maximum retention) – the SMF forums script is GPL and the v2.x has this embedded – you should be able to copy and utilise the basic script they have due to the license.

    Thanks for coming back to me on this, I do really like this plugin, and it’s in my list of ten “must have’s” as default on all installs – I really must get my head around the css though – on some sites I’d like it to be positioned vertically (images only) starting at the top of the post content, floated right or left, to separate the top section of the post from the sidebar, but with a text wrap around the products so the post content then flows out to the extra width when the products list is complete … hope you understand what I’m trying to explain there?

    Gaz

  4. Pete Says:

    I’ve just upgraded to the latest version hoping it would fix the problem I’m experiencing. Alas! I can’t get the plugin to work at all because it doesn’t store my Amazon key, ID, etc. When I enter the info and hit the button, it just returns the WP dashboard/menu and an empty screen.

  5. Pete Says:

    By the way, I tried three different browsers. Also tried clicking the button, instead of hitting enter to submit. Nothing worked.

  6. Admin Says:

    Hi Gaz,

    The custom CSS files being overwritten is a big problem. I thought for sure I had tested that with the automatic upgrade scripts. I guess maybe something changed where now folders are completely removed and/or overwritten rather than just having their files updated. Guess I’ll have to re-think that concept.

    As for the product keywords disappearing, I’m not sure what’s going on with that. Not sure if it’s a WordPress error or something else. I’ve seen it happen a few times too where I’ll put in some keywords, save it, come back and they’re gone. I suspect that’s the cause of your unrelated products problem. I’ll have to do some more research on what might be causing that.

    I believe the choice of search areas is an Amazon restriction. I’m hoping to make that more customizable in future releases.

    The error log trimming is also something for a future release. I had left it for the moment in order to focus on more critical priorities. It’s a fairly simple feature to install though.

    Glad you like the system though. Hope I can make it even better for you in the future,

    James W.

  7. Admin Says:

    Hi Pete,

    It sounds like you’re hitting some sort of PHP related error. Do you have access to your PHP log to debug what might be going on? There *might* also be useful information in the AmazonFeed log.

    If you watch the PHP log while you’re trying to save the options, it should tell you what’s going on. If you find the error and can send it to me via the WarkenSoft contact form, that would be very helpful in diagnosing the problem.
    http://www.warkensoft.com/contact/

    James W

  8. Gaz Says:

    Hi James
    I’m suspecting now that the custom css files disappearing is due to the auto-upgrade methods used by WordPress – I’ve had verbal fisticuffs with them on their forums about this in the past, with other plugins, as well as with core upgrades – they fixed it for core upgrades but appear to have ignored it for themes and plugins. This, of course, makes it even more desirable to have the css files stored and called from outside the plugin directory, whether from the database, or simply a new folder at the same hierarchical level as wp-content (e.g. wp-customcontent with folders under it for plugins and themes etc.).

    I’m also of a mind that WordPress is at the root of the disappearing keywords, and the prime suspect is the autosave feature – it’s given me issues with other things in the past but I can’t remember the details off the top of my head, I just remember that for some reason I have a fixed process of hacking the core file and resetting it to 30-minutes plus immediately after install, due to past problems caused by it.

    Thanks for the future hope for the other topics – I look forward to those arriving sometime. The current lack of them will not stop me using the plugin on all sites – I find it very useful and really must get my head around sorting the css to exactly how I want things displayed.

    Gaz

  9. Walter Says:

    Thank you for your plugin. However, it’s not work anymore on both of my websites. There is any change in AWS API that impact Amazon feed plugin?

  10. Admin Says:

    Hi Walter,

    I don’t think there are any recent changes to the AWS API that would affect this. I continue to use the plugin on my own sites, and have had no issues. Are you certain you’ve entered the correct values for the access key, secret access key and associate tag? Also, a good place to look for hints as to why things aren’t working is in the message log. You should be able to see in there what the system is looking for, and any error messages associated with the connection to Amazon.

    Hope this helps,
    James W.

  11. Walter Says:

    I checked on Amazon AWS website. I’m sure that Access Key, Secret Key and Associate ID is correct. My log message is

    – No results found related to the keyword(s): book
    – No results or errors were returned for word ‘book’.
    – PHP Error: file_get_contents(http://ecs.amazonaws.com … … M%3D) [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden

    The last log message is the most suspicious cause. Do you think my server is block fecting data from Amazon (It has been worked).

  12. Walter Says:

    Amazonfeed plugin is worked. I tested on another server and it’s work. I will consult the host admin for this problem. I’m sorry for ask a silly question.

  13. Walter Says:

    I discussed problem with admin of my website and found that problem is from PHP get command disable accidentally.

  14. Gaz Says:

    Hi James

    You’re not going to like this ….

    Since my last post, Amazon Feed has generated 5028 PAGES (pages, not entries) in its own error log, and a 2.8GB error.log in the root of the blog.

    What seems to be the primary culprit is that Amazon Feeb is trying to find cache-matches and products in the feed, that match ALL Tags for the post, AND for the keywords input for Amazon Feed in the post page widget, AND for the site default keywords on the config page.

    For each of those tags, when it doesn’t find a match, it logs several entries in both its own message log, and spawns entries in the server side error.log

    There is a possibility this is exacerbated by feed refresh times – I use 12 hour refreshing – where the first post viewed causes the feed to be pulled with only products relevant to that post, and therefore 95%+ of tags and keywords on other posts have zero relevance to the cache content.

    This is a serious issue and may well be the cause of a hosting account suspension I had at the start of December, with the plugin thrashing through a message log thousands of pages long because the message log is not clearing at each feed and cache refresh, nor is the error log.

    This may well also be the cause of the irrelevant products error – if the cache is constantly accumulating instead of clearing at refresh.

    If there’s no fix for this (or no roll back to code that was not doing this previously), then I’ll have to pull the plugin (or “plug out” – groan) as I cannot have this mass error logging risking my hosting account.

    Sorry mate – I love the plugin, but this is a major, major issue.

    Gaz

  15. Gaz Says:

    Another update on this James

    On this hosting account I have several wordpress installs, each with their own database, but that might be a red herring as all the errors are pointing at a single domain in every manner you can think of.

    In that domain there are several scripts in addition to WordPress, again, each with their own database … so lets put some names in here to show a really wierd error I’ve found.

    Lets call it Domain-A.com with Blog-A and AdServer-A and Forum-A as the scripts

    The databases are named Blog-A, AdServer-A, Forum-A and use the scripts use the database prefixes WPA, AdA, ForA (these are just reference examples remember – I obfuscate a lot more than that for security reasons)

    This means the tables for Amazon Feed on Blog-A should be –
    – in db Blog-A -> WPA_wp_amazonfeed_cache & WPA_wp_amazonfeed_log
    That’s what they actually are, checking in phpMyAdmin

    BUT ….

    In the error log, I’ve got entries such as –

    [10-Jan-2010 14:55:08] WordPress database error Table ‘hostingaccount_AdServer-A.wp_amazonfeed_cache’ doesn’t exist for query SELECT * FROM wp_amazonfeed_cache WHERE `keyword` = ‘John Donahoe’ LIMIT 0,1 made by require, require_once, include, the_content, apply_filters, call_user_func_array, AmazonFeed->wp_content, AmazonFeed->display, AmazonFeed->search, AmazonFeed->load

    Now, obviously, where it’s showing the database table as
    “hostingaccount_AdServer-A.wp_amazonfeed_cache”
    that should really be
    “hostingaccount_Blog-A.wp_amazonfeed_cache”

    So something has gone really screwy since just before Amazon Feed 1.9, because I’m certain this wasn’t happening previously.

    Any idea where to start bug hunting?

    Gaz

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  17. Gaz Says:

    Hi James

    Just made the upgrade to v2.0 on one of my sites – there’s a minor bug in admin – in the view cache panel, there’s no previous and next navigation through the pages. I currently have 32 pages in the cache (on a site with less than 20 posts ???) and am only offered the page navigation in format 1 .. 15, 16 .. 32 – therefore I cannot access pages 2-14 and 17-31.

    Also a feature request for the cache pages – any chance of making the item blocking via a per page checkbox beside each item, instead of having to do it one product at a time? With 320 items on this site, it’s impossible to allocate the time to do it – Lord knows what it’s be like on my bigger sites.

    Cheers
    Gaz

  18. Admin Says:

    Hey Gaz,

    Good catch. I’ll look into fixing that, hopefully over the next few days. The checkboxes may take a bit longer though.

    James W.

  19. Gaz Says:

    Thanks James and sorry about the typo above – I meant check boxes for each item on a page, not for the page itself.

    Hope you realised what I meant?
    Regards and keep up the good work
    Gaz

  20. HART (1-800-HART) Says:

    Hello! I am just trying this out but, can’t get past the option screen because I keep receiving this error message:

    Fatal error: Call to undefined function mcrypt_module_open() in /home/xxxx/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/amazonfeed/php/amazonfeed.class.php on line 1866

    Any suggestions or help would be appreciated // Thanks.

    HART

  21. Admin Says:

    Hi HART,

    That error means that your PHP installation wasn’t installed with a module called “mcrypt”. This module allows AmazonFeed to encrypt communication with Amazon as per Amazon regulations.

    You’ll need to get your web host to install mcrypt for PHP or find a new web host, if you want to use AmazonFeed.

    Sorry,
    James W.

  22. HART (1-800-HART) Says:

    My server does not have it installed at the moment, but it is available – actually two versions are available 0.92 and 2.005007000 .. I’ve contacted tech support and see which one they suggest.

    Thanks James! // HART

  23. Andi Says:

    Hi James
    I see that template tag in plugin FAQ, need to set up the keyword in the tag. How to add template tag, only to display the amazon feed (setting keyword still in the page option)
    thanks

    -andi

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  25. roger Says:

    Not much to say other then thanks for building such a kick ass plug-in!