It is a slightly different concept, you pay once and get code that gives you a uniform interface for communicating with the different carriers (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.).
Since it is a one time fee I didn't expect support, however, the developer has been very responsive and helpful whenever I've run into a problem.
Possible uses of the service would be automatic sending of invoices or mailing out payment reminders or contracts that need to be signed, etc.
There are a few companies that provide similar services but I haven't found one that does it in a particularly nice way. They often require using SOAP and don't have modules for common frameworks and SDKs for common languages.
Would any of you use this or are letters completely dead to young companies?
For many pairs of countries the price of sending a letter from A->B is less than sending a letter within B. In addition I imagine the labor costs of having people stuff envelopes will a significant source of costs. So you're probably better off picking 3-5 central points with cheap labor and cheap postage, rather than opening dozens of small centers all around the globe
I quite like PostalMethods -- it's even simpler than Postful was (Postful required the to address in the subject line of your email). They help you format your letters so the addressee will show up in the right location for a window envelope... then once you're all set up, you just send PDFs to them via email, and each email is another letter printed and posted.
They have an API as well (I think that's actually their focus), but I've never used it -- I only need snail mail at low volume and manually-created, so email is perfect.
I don't have any need for EasyPost, personally -- because I'm doing principally US mail while I'm living elsewhere in the world.
We love them.
At the time their signup process was broken so I couldn't test it out, but the idea is very similar to what you described. You send an email to them with a specially formatted subject line, plus a body and/or attachments, and they mail it for you.
I know there are others too but I can't find them at the moment.
The current site is the product of a couple days of teaching myself how to use Stripe, Bootstrap, and PHP, since I'm not really a web developer.
Would happily pay for this service as well.
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;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0
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;; AUTHORITY SECTION:
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;; Query time: 44 msec
;; SERVER: 188.8.131.52#53(184.108.40.206)
;; WHEN: Tue Sep 18 09:48:17 2012
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 128
I could totally use a simple rest api to print and send a pdf as a physical letter
Say you sell physical goods. A customer buys multiple items. They each have known shipping dimensions.
The question is: How do you consolidate the shipment into one or more boxes in order to optimize for minimum shipping costs?
Keep in mind that minimum shipping costs could also include the cost of shipping supplies as well as packaging and handling labor.
The most basic problem is fitting n packages of m[i] dimensions into the available stock of standard boxes and pick the arrangement that provides the least postage cost.
I think it would be very useful if these shipping API's accepted package specifications and helped optimize final packaging while in the process of providing a quote. If you want to talk about differentiating a solution, this, most definitely, would.
I'm not aware of any public APIs for this at present.
We wanted to speed things up by packing product directly into our shipping boxes instead of boxing it up after the fact, and it was a lot of fun solving this problem. I specifically wrote very generic code, so there's no reason why it couldn't run off of any list of products/boxes.
If there was interest into this sort of thing, it probably wouldn't be terribly difficult to turn it into some sort of API over the next few months.
On "using": Slightly confusing to put it after the first drop down. It took me a few seconds to get it, I would put "using" in between the 2 drop downs instead.
Fixed -- how's that look? put the 'using' before second drop down
On "using": I would align the 2 drop downs, either with just empty space in front of first, or put some text like "Let me", or just put "using" on a line by itself.
Most interested in the shipping price comparison: what providers are you supporting?
Are there aggregator APIs that you're using? Or have the T&C changed?
I wonder what the return value of a purchase call is?
Using httpie as an alternative to curl would also make that easier. :)
Once the service is proven to work and they've got customers, I'm sure a UI refresh would happen. At this stage it's probably more important to worry about the things that matter most to the longevity of the project.
You need to take your developer hats off and put your salesmen hats on if you want to sell your product.
When I encounter a site with Bootstrap showing, I don't think "oh, this person doesn't care about the value of having a custom UI, or doesn't know how to sell their product" - I think "this person knows where their priorities lie, and has optimized their effort towards the things that provide the most value for their business". I'm sure when a custom UI becomes something more worth prioritizing, it will be moved up the list of things to do.
However, the homepage for this product emphasizes its use as an API, so I am not very concerned about look and feel at all, and am much more interested in API docs. It looks like these are not ready yet.
I don't give a damn how the site looks; if you're solving a problem I need to get solved, I'm taking my Amex out to pay for it if it makes our work easier.
I call this my "pragmatic hat"