A Programmer's Dream

Shipping API

Posted by Stephen Wrighton on 12 Jan 2007

I've recently had the horror of using UPS's and FEDEX's XML-based shipping API's. And while UPS's is infinitively better than FEDEX's, both still are rather lacking in functionality.

The major screwed-up functionality that is lacking in both systems is for their RateQuote request to actually verify if the shipper can ship to a specified location. Instead, they wait until the Shipper requests a shipping label, and then throws up there. Bad design.

Another move that I think UPS did dumb, is that the software I built is tied intimately to my username/password. If for whatever reason, I decide to change my password, i have to go back and make modifications to any client apps that use the software. They already require a valid UPS Account Identifier AND a developer key. There was no need to have the developer's UPS website username/password included in the XML messages. VERY bad design.

In the end, I've found the experience, a bit annoying, and hope it will be a decent while before I have to suffer at the hands of shipping API's again.

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