Let's begin by talking about what is API in the first place.
You might have heard of GUI, which stands for Graphical User Interface.
GUI is how humans interact with a computer, via a point-and-click graphical interface or screen in lament terms.
When it comes to computers, they prefer something more structured and simple. They don't want to look at screens and fill out forms. Machines want a simple to consume protocol that is predictable, documented and standardized. They want the data without the foreplay.
That is what Application Programming Interface (API) is in a nutshell: an interface for computer programs. API is how computers talk to each other.
Amazon provides an API to access many of the seller account details programmatically. This API is called Amazon Marketplace Web Service or MWS for short.
The MWS API provides information about orders, order items, shipping status of an order. It can also provide reports, just like you can generate them in the UI, but programmatically.
Other features provided by the API include, but not limited to:
- product management
- feed management
- inventory management
- creation of inbound shipments
- checking the status of inbound shipments
- submitting fulfillment orders
- tracking and managing outbound shipment requests
- ... and many others
Most of the seller software on the market use this API to fetch the information about your seller account.
This API has its challenges that Amazon imposes on developers. There are strict limits on the number of requests per unit of time. A request is a single data fetching operation. Let's say I need to get order info that is one request, or maybe you need to get a list of orders that would be another request.
>>> Do you have any interesting uses for the MWS API?