I experienced a few problems this morning with the MT-Amazon plugin. It happened while I was monkeying around with my template, so I originally assumed it was something I’d done… but nothing I did to the templates fixed the error. Eventually I found a couple threads at the Amazon.com discussion board that seemed to confirm what I suspected: that once Amazon.com’s Web Services go down for some reason, it sends mal-formed XML back to Movable Type.
This is where MT-Amazon comes in. This is a known problem (see here for an exact replica of the problem I saw), yet MT-Amazon doesn’t fail gracefully. It would be possible to see the error from Amazon and do nothing; instead, once MT-Amazon gets data in a format it’s not expecting, it chokes, causing Movable Type to choke as well.
I’m going to pay attention to this over the next few weeks — it’s entirely possible that this is an isolated case. I read quite a bit and like pointing people to the books that I’m inclined to keep using the MTMacro/MT-Amazon combo. But if it causes the site to become inoperable from time to time that’s not good. Has anyone else seen this?