tim laqua dot com Thoughts and Code from Tim Laqua


Aggregating Seller Feedback from Amazon.com

I received a request from a professor to aggregate all of the feedback for a given Amazon.com seller. The problem is that Amazon.com seller feedback is displayed 25 at a time on the feedback page and, of course, even if we could get all of them on one page, there is NO way we're going to manually move all the records to a database when there are 50,000+ feedback records.

In this post, I will discuss one approach to solving this problem


JavaScript Auto-Suggest from XML

The other day, a co-worker requested an auto-suggest feature in the user name field of a web app that I had written a few months ago. Why? Not sure - to save 6 keystrokes, I suppose - but then again, 6 keystrokes at a time, it becomes justifiable eventually... And really, who can turn down a challenge like that?

    Post-Implementation Numbers:

  • Average Keystrokes saved per day: 179.4
  • Characters in Scripts (Client and Server, no formatting): 4886
  • Payback time: 27.24 Days

Not bad in terms of effort. Even calculating in the difference between developer salary and data entry salary - the payback is still within 3 months. (Assuming we develop in a vacuum and ignore opportunity costs - i.e. we had nothing better to do at the time.)