As an e-commerce site selling specialized goods, Steve's company uses a third-party service that provides a Flash-based image viewer to display extra-large product images and allow visitors to zoom, pan, and so forth. Occasionally, the product images would get out-of-synch, so Steve was tasked with writing a script to ensure that images on the vendor's server matched images on the in-house server.

Determining which images were on the vendor's server was fairly easy; it just involved a HTTP Request with a product number in the querystring. The service responds with a comma-delimited list of image paths, like so:

/p604332/front.jpg,/p604332/back.jpg,/p604332/back-alt.jpg,/p604332/in-use.jpg

However, Steve was interested in more than just the image paths and asked if they could send back more data - file size, heading, caption, etc - and wrap it in some XML format. They assured him that they'd do their best and, a few weeks later, released their latest XML-based API. And that same request now returned this...

<IMAGE_SET value="/p604332/front.jpg,/p604332/back.jpg,/p604332/back-alt.jpg,/p604332/in-use.jpg" />


Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Matthias Bruch, current editor of the WTF Deutsche Ausgabe, is looking to replace himself as his free time has suddenly been cut short. If you're interested in being the German-language editor, please contact me for more info.