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Re: [xml-dev] XML Standard for exchanging grocery prices

Hi Berk,

1. Do the stores you will be using have online Grocery shopping? I
guess you should search and see.
2. You will probably not (hah hah hah) find SOAP based Webservices
(snort) for this kind of thing (sorry I am laughing not at you but at
SOAP, long backstory). You will probably have to do some looking at
REST based webservices, just google it.
3. You will probably not find your online Grocery shopping services
exposing XML interfaces to their products. In fact what you should
probably consider is a straight HTTP bot webscraping grocery store
sites or something along that line.

Note of course that Amazon has grocery shopping and they provide both
a SOAP based API and what is sometimes called a REST-light api
http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=3435361 so I guess from this
you can build something to use Amazon, but the problem is you need to
comparison shop for groceries and that means more than just amazon.

So two suggestions:
1. I would do something like get a really really big list of grocery
items, a list of grocery sites, a good regular expression for
recognizing prices in your country. Crawl the site, scrape pages
extracting the groceries and the nearest price (determining a
reasonably generic way of determining price relation to correct
product  will be the difficult part I would suppose you would need
three different ways to determine if: the price is in a table in a
different cell from the product description, in the same element as
the product description - for example in a span [seperated  by a
character like a - perhaps], the price is in a span or div and the
immediately preceding span or div holds a value that when extraneous
characters have been removed is a term found in your list of grocery

2. Use Google and Yahoo
http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/ http://www.google.com/coop/
and http://developer.yahoo.com/search/ , go through these various
services and try to build something that allows you to get the data
you want. The data that you will probably come to you in an RSS or
Atom newsfeed and you will have to process it to extract the actual
Grocery related items. Be prepared for non-grocery items to be

I don't know that the suggestion for UBL would be useful for you. It
is a complicated syntax for your problem description, however if you
did it right it might give you a good grade.

Bryan Rasmussen

On Oct 30, 2007 3:58 AM, Berk Birand <berkbirand@superonline.com> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> For an academic project, I am developing a program that basically
> functions like a comparison shopping tool. It needs to compare the
> prices of items from several stores, and display the stores that are the
> closest to the person.
> In order to get this to work, I need the price data for various stores.
> I first thought that since Web Services were such a big hype, I would
> have no trouble getting such information. However this proved much
> harder, and I couldn't find any resources.
> Are there any standard XML standards for sharing this kind of price
> information (perhaps even just for grocery-like items)? How would I go
> about discovering web services for this purpose?
> Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I have somewhat hit the wall..
> Thanks,
>   Berk Birand
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