Manual for Full Icecat Live/JSON: Secure and Full Access to the Icecat database

August 26, 2016
Full Icecat Live

Full Icecat Live

If you use the html variant of Full Icecat Live, you don’t need to read this manual. But, in case that you use the JSON variant, there are more security requirements, you certainly do. Full Icecat Live is a commercial upgrade from the free Open Icecat Live service. We advise you to first try and implement Open Icecat Live, in order to determine if the real-time data-sheet service meets your needs, and to get familiar with the basics, and if the html output variant (type=html) is sufficient for your Full Icecat Live application.

Full Icecat Live enables you to insert real-time product content from 10,000s of brands or manufacturers in any of your apps. Just with a few lines of JavaScript (JS) in your HTML template, extended with some security measures to avoid that anyone can have access to the Full Icecat database.

In this manual, we provide a quick guide on which steps to take to implement Full Icecat Live/JSON in your website or app. If you already have implemented Open Icecat Live, it’s merely about adding security parameters to the JS calls.

Further, we describe the Full Icecat Live/JSON service and give a concise overview of the Icecat inner structure. Please, note that Full Icecat Live requires a paid subscription. Please, first register (free) if you don’t have an account yet to receive an Icecat user name and access to the Icecat Control Panel, and next request an upgrade to Full Icecat via the Icecat Control Panel.

1. Why Chose for an Upgrade to Full Icecat?

The main advantage of Full Icecat over Open Icecat is that you get access to the complete database of Icecat. Not just the sponsoring brands, but all 10,000s of brands. So, that your complete catalog can be covered with product data-sheets. The data model and interfaces to Open Icecat and Full Icecat are fully compatible, which implies that switching costs are very low.

An additional advantage of Full Icecat is that Full Icecat service provides coverage guarantees for the (stock > 0) portfolios of mainstream distributors, and that flexible service levels for covering your catalog and data-standardization needs, can be agreed upon. Request a proposal via your account manager or through the Icecat Control Panel.

Take care, the implementation of Full Icecat Live is a little bit more complicated, because of application of certificates and signatures to authenticate your app’s right to access the Full Icecat database.

2. Example Full Icecat Live Integration

Below, a minimum HTML fragment updated with the JS call for Full Icecat Live, for the demo account ‘full_live_demo’. Please, use your own Icecat user name (for shopname).

<script src=""></script>
<div id="IcecatLive">
setTimeout(function(){IcecatLive.getDatasheet('#IcecatLive',{'UserName': 'full_live_demo','Brand':'Panasonic','ProductCode':'th-55lfe8e', 'Type':'json', 'timestamp':'1471977649','signature':'LnyKZZvrDxb9rkSA9bPgDcl9yNR%2Fc2OK2frot5Uu5OM7cDWn03wICiNsXxyU8WWy%2BQ8N5X7HzSF0nbZiHOUoUeWQNb%2BZ4LHXkBDdb3y180%2BBfMv8RRPCCJe69S5UbQp2aS%2FZ%2BiVp%2FZfV%2BbAjdHqQ2l62M2%2Bch9cm4yWDNDMHXLp%2FonjiqS8L8MdE0DqlQz8xPiF8OjQFJonOojN77Oy2uP%2BHwiNbdhZ958xjq2ymRJAmXOilk%2FIolLl76wjk9WmkcxqW4wmNmcx0bXG%2FGID8AwSh67CyhNswwQ583GOF6L4lfDO05WcRR4uSZJEk9cxXM9e0O9dss%2BSsFpOVVuvUbA%3D%3D'},'en');}, 200);

NOTE: the above HTML example requires a uniquely generated signature per request

The JavaScript (JS) for Full Icecat Live resembles the one for Open Icecat Live, but note in this example call for the product data-sheet for the Panasonic th-55lfe8e, that there a few extra parameters required compared to Icecat Live/html. The extra Full Icecat Live/JSON parameters are explained below:

Extra Full Icecat Live parameter Explanation
timestamp Each call must contain the timestamp when the request was created.  The Icecat timestamp is usually valid for one day.
signature Each call must contain a uniquely generated signature as explained in detail below, to verify the authenticity of the Full Icecat database request through your website (or other app).

Please, note that in stead of brand + part_code, one can cal the data-sheet by GTIN code (‘ean_upc’ or ‘icecat_id’)

In this example, we use a tiny PHP script and openSSL to create the signature, which is set up performing three steps:

Step 1. Compose the auth message for signing the JS call

To compose the auth message for signing, by including the used unique product identifiers plus client details (browser IP, browser user agent). Provide, the timestamp of the signing (the signature will be valid during approximately one hour after this timestamp).

$string = 'full_live_demo\n
mozilla/5.0 (macintosh; intel mac os x 10_11_4) applewebkit/537.36 (khtml, like gecko) chrome/52.0.2743.116 safari/537.36';

So, in this example for Icecat user full_live_demo, the product identifiers Panasonic and th-55lfe8e are to be used as product identifier, the English (en) data-sheet will be requested. The timestamp 1471977649 stands for August 23, 2016 @18:40:49. The browser IP is, and the browser user agent is mozilla/5.0 for mac.

NOTE: Don’t put a new line break at the end of the message.

Step 2. Make the signature use a local file with private key and sha256 algorithm

In this example, php script openSSL is used to access your local private key.

openssl_sign($string, $signature, 'file://./private_key.pem',OPENSSL_ALGO_SHA256);

The locally stored keys in this example are in three local files:

  • certificate.pem
  • private_key.pem
  • public_key.pem

The private key file is used to create the signature. The public_key file will be used by Icecat to decrypt your message. The certificate.pem is already provided to Icecat during set-up, and is needed to verify the signature as well.

Step 3. Base64 and URL encode it to make it safe to transfer to client
$signBase64 = base64_encode($signature);
$signBase64UrlEncoded = urlencode($signBase64);

The encoded signature is then inserted in the signature parameter of the above-mentioned JS-call, together with the timestamp.

NOTE: the signature is only valid for the specific product identifier, client IP, and user agent combination, during one hour.

As the above is just one implementation example, to give a quick impression on how Full Icecat Live works, we will now go more in depth regarding the Full Icecat Live integration, and implementation options down the road.

3. Full Icecat Live/JSON integration

Partners, subscribed to Full Icecat, receive access to the product data-sheets of both sponsoring brands (Open Icecat) and non-sponsoring brands.

The Icecat Live/JSON interface requires an authorization signature in a Full Icecat data request. If the signature is OK, the REST back-end of Icecat provides the requested JSON (Java Script Object Notation) data for the requested Full Icecat product content. Attempting to access the API web service with an invalid signature will result in an HTTP 403 (Forbidden) error, indicating that the client is not allowed to view the requested Full Icecat content.

As we have seen in the example above, in order to get Full Icecat content though the Live/JSON web service you need to:

  1. generate a certificate
  2. generate a signature

NOTE: the certificate is created only once. The signature is created for each individual client request.

Let’s take a closer look to the procedure.

There are two possible options for signature generation:

After you have generated the signature, you will be able to insert to your website the product datasheets both of sponsored and non-sponsored products.

4. Authentication approach

For Open Icecat data requests, authentication is not needed. But, for Full Icecat Live/JSON requests it is, and we use the Secure Hash Algorithm 256 (SHA-256), both on the partner-side and server-side, to this end.

The signed message from SHA-256 can then be entered into the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA), which generates or verifies the signature for the message. The same hash algorithm must be used by the verifier of a digital signature as was used by the creator of the digital signature.

5. Obtaining the certificate

You are able to get the certificate in three ways:

a) You generate a self-signed certificate

We did this in the example above. For a Linux machine with OpenSSL or Keytool installed, you can generate a new key without a passphrase. To generate an RSA private key, use the genrsa option. The command below generates a 2048 bit RSA private key and saves it to a file called privatekey.pem:

openssl genrsa -out privatekey.pem 2048

Generate the self-signed root certificate with the previously generated key:

openssl req -x509 -new -sha256 -nodes -key
privatekey.pem -days 365 -out certificate.pem

In the generation command we set 365 days as example of the certificate expiry term, but in fact we can set it to any value.

NOTE: the SHA-256 signature algorithm is required

Check the certificate:

openssl x509 -in certificate.pem -text

After the certificate is generated, you should share the certificate, RSA key(s) and end-user browser IP address with Icecat, as this information is mandatory for signature generation.

NOTE: you share the certificate and RSA key(s) with Icecat only once. However, you share the browser IP address of the end-user with Icecat for each individual end-user browser request.

Description of the terms:

Value Explanation
OpenSSL A service which provides a full-featured tool kit for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols
RSA public key, private key A 2048-bit pair ensures that the data can be encrypted by one key but can only be decrypted by the other key
certificate A digital certificate which certifies the ownership of a public key by the named subject of the certificate

b) Icecat generates a self-signed certificate

Alternatively, the certificate may be generated by Icecat and shared with you. You can request the certificate generation by Icecat support. Set-up costs may be applicable.

c) Request a certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA)

You are able to request the CA certificate from a Certificate Authority, or probably you already deploy one CA certificate linked to your domain.

6. Signature generation

A signature can be generated on Icecat’s side or your side.

Signature generation on service side

You generate the signature using the Icecat Live Service. Below you may find the Data Flow Diagram (DFD) for this case:

Scheme of generating signature using Icecat Live service

In this section, we give a step by step guide for signature generation:

1) Get the app_key.

NOTE: the application key should be generated by Icecat (one-time action), please contact your Icecat account manager for the app_key.

In case, you have generated the certificate by yourself, you need to send a request for the application key generation and your public key to Icecat.

NOTE: set-up costs may apply

2) To generate the signature with the data listed above by using our API:

with Brand and ProductCode:

GET{app_key}&UserName={Icecat user name}&lang={lang}&ProductCode={part_code}&Brand={brand}&ip={ ip}&useragent={useragent}

with GTIN:

GET{app_key}&UserName={Icecat user name}&lang={lang}&GTIN={ean_upc}&ip={ip}&useragent={useragent}

with IcecatProductId:

GET{app_key}&UserName={Icecat user name}&lang={lang}&IcecatProductId={icecat_id}&ip={ip}&useragent={useragent}

Example for a Philips AVENT Baby Bottle with EAN 08710103496649

GET live&lang=en&GTIN=08710103496649&app_key= Tes0123456789Tqwertyui&ip= &useragent=Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/46.0.2490.80 Safari/537.36
200 OK

Response example:

"T6hBUeNjitzWpqtuNf02ui%2FrSvmVviXAXEcKuB4rxjJdTGE%2F8c8KWzCC7F%2FkzpVtgzesSqS7F5Yd5K1f4b671%2BTJ9T1LW9Jlzx3iolUBhk5mKY0%2B1fTL03RbO68v62OoK5WJ0PkKJZta6zw82Q8ficzarTxlaqRo18NucLmr8HXy0ITVMXlv009xrx6tFCqQUdAIqDX2ryoHWeEQVQ%2BBPEHHZWgvpbsPT0UZJn8cKN0GswJqE4JNmpbX4%2FF%2BdcCOiv92pp6oDgsXojzXIeSNaYk%2BpL51TYj9XUp8jmrrDDkHzzhJgzwrjnFKVbqu7soYg4zJtQAVi6k ihPLsAP5HXQ%3D%3D",
"timestamp": 1470405577

For the signature generation, you need the following data:

Value Explanation
app_key The application token (secret phrase), which is needed to generate the signature using the Icecat LIVE service
UserName Your Icecat User or Login name as you obtained through registering at Icecat
lang Locale/Language code, see the full table
Brand+ProductCode OR GTIN OR IcecatProductId The unique product identifier, where brand is the name of a brand, ProductCode is the manufacture part/product code, GTIN is the GTIN bar code (EAN, UPC, JAN), and IcecatProductId is the internal Icecat code, identifying a unique data-sheet.
ip The end-user browser client’s IP address from which he or she is viewing your current page.
useragent The browser user agent: header from the current request, if there is one. This is a string denoting the user agent which is accessing the page. Useragent is required. Useragent example: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/46.0.2490.80 Safari/537.36

NOTE: you are able to request a signature only from an allowed server IP address (or several allowed server IP addresses), which you should enter into your Icecat Control Panel  as a kind of “whitelist”.

After you have generated the signature, the JS is able to insert into your website the product data-sheets of Full Icecat brands.

Signature generation on your side

You generate the signature using your own application. Below you may find the scheme for this case:

scheme 3

Each content request must contain a valid digital signature or the request will be rejected. The signature is verified using your certificate.

SHA-256 signature algorithm pattern:

{GTIN or Brand or UcecatProductId}\n
{ProductCode - optional, unless brand is used}\n
{current timestamp}\n
{ip address}\n

Description of parameters:

Value Explanation
UserName Your Icecat user name or login name, authorized for Full Icecat access.
lang Language or locale short code (en, nl, fr etc). See the table. It is required.
Brand + ProductCode or GTIN or IcecatProductId Unique product identifier for the product data. This is either brand_name + part code or the GTIN code (EAN, UPC, JAN) or the internal Icecat product ID, if you already store these in your systems. One of these is required.
timestamp Each request must contain the date and time the request was created, represented as a string in timestamp. Format of the timestamp is e.g.: 1454339914. The Icecat timestamp is usually valid for approximately one (1) hour.
ip End-user browser IP address from which he or she is viewing your current page. The browser’s IP address is required.
useragent The browser user agent: header from the current request, if there is one. This is a string denoting the user agent which is accessing the page. The browser user agent is required. Browser user agent example: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/46.0.2490.80 Safari/537.36

Signature pattern examples

NOTE: for correct use, the signature string must be converted to lowercase:

with brand and part_code:

mozilla/5.0 (x11; linux x86_64) applewebkit/537.36 (khtml, like gecko) chrome/46.0.2490.80 safari/537.36

or with ean_upc:

mozilla/5.0 (x11; linux x86_64) applewebkit/537.36 (khtml, like gecko) chrome/46.0.2490.80 safari/537.36

or with icecat_id:

mozilla/5.0 (x11; linux x86_64) applewebkit/537.36 (khtml, like gecko) chrome/46.0.2490.80 safari/537.36

\n – linefeed (LF or 0x0A (10) in ASCII)

Create a digital signature from your signature string, with the following requirements:

  • base64 and URL encoding
  • signature is associated with the attached private key

The request signature must be Base64 encoded. Base64 encoding converts the signature into a simple ASCII string that can be attached to the request.

Characters that can appear in the signature string like plus (+), forward slash (/), and equals (=) must be URL encoded if used in a URL:

(+)      >    %2B

(/)       >    %2F

(=)      >    %3D

For example, if the authentication code includes a plus (+) sign, encode it as %2B in the request. Encode a forward slash as %2F and equals as %3D.

e.g., in PHP:

$timestamp = time();
$string = 'openicecat-live' . "\n" . '24617541' . "\n" . 'en' . "\n" . $timestamp . “\n” . $ip . “\n” . $userAgent; openssl_sign($string, $signature, $privateKey, OPENSSL_ALGO_SHA256);
$signBase64 = urlencode(base64_encode($signature);

Signature example:

jj6lZugy1lPYcnGvrb9kD3coNDpv8PgpJUJpVLM%2F4iDTs7sUiusDJWlgRMNKRE zM0Zf2zV8bG3AsNePxBLXcMQ%2BKEQlt0P8GeqlWcWV8Tx05pgk8KWmVkRFG7Q0U qS1QbMer3Kn%2FuSRh2esAW5kcC6BN60L%2Fnvf9zsessgdH4SwJzX1YYzruaNs%2B8uANariPcoeyfNoZwTIls7JbKPCKX9eg%2BeHwnFmxGOQO0WjdMyg%2F4UO3ZG iLi%2FELb2z5%2BPgCo5GOQPMJjxFmlCsNcR6iZ5oTVDlp6wJrSd104%2Fac6gVh qaKSGGhOXIV%2B1EREAAQ5m47E9OT2tmM%2FIZ520ADs9g%3D%3D

NOTE: the signature is valid for one product and one browser only. Signature’s time to live is one (1) hour.

5. Updates on Icecat Live JS

The actualized library is accessible via this link: After you have downloaded and customized the library, you should actualize and support your customized library by yourself.


  • commented on November 22, 2016 by Sergey Shvets

    We added one additional parameter for Live JSON API:
    - AppKey: this parameter should be used to authorize your application with your account access. Access will be granted only for allowed IPs, added to your account.
    This parameter should be used when one is using the JSON API to fetch data to have it stored locally for further processing.

    Example(AppKey is scrambled):

    Further, the authorization will be performed also on private, restricted, personalized, or pre-released content, if you're entitled, of course.

  • commented on March 17, 2017 by Salvatore Di Maro

    I've got a full account Icecat.
    How do to get new parameter AppKey for Live JSON API ?
    I need to store Icecat data for further processing and then I wrote a php script for parsing JSON Icecat data and process it but I realized I have not access to all the products that are needed by me.
    I can only question the products of the sponsoring brands.

    • commented on April 10, 2017 by Martijn Hoogeveen

      Hi Salvatore,
      You contacted your account manager already?


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In 2016, the most popular online categories, according to Icecat, were notebooks, PCs and warranty &...
 February 4, 2017

Manual for Open Icec...

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is an increasingly popular means of transferring to data, comparab...
 February 17, 2017

IPO of Icecat succes...

 March 2, 2017

Akeneo announces the...

Open source Product Information Management (PIM) system provider
 February 14, 2017
Sales Manager Position

Icecat is hiring: Co...

Location: Amsterdam/Nieuwegein Operating schedule: Full time Education:...
 September 23, 2016

Why choose to upgrad...

We advise users to start their implementations with free Open Icecat. Next, if the technical interfa...
 February 17, 2017

International Standa...

Without being complete, here follows a list of international standards supported by Icecat. ...
 February 17, 2017
Tech Data ceo Bob Dutkowsky

Tech Data closes $2....

Tech Data, the global tech distribution giant, closes its $2.6 billion acquisition of the Technology...
 March 3, 2017

Coverage Analysis of...

All shops want good product information, for as many of their products as possible. Therefore, befo...
 January 25, 2017
 April 3, 2017
PIM backoffice for editors

Amazon’s Criti...

The minimum content requirements of Amazon and other major etailers are evolving, and are focused on...
 March 30, 2017

Snap raised $2.3 bil...

Snap Inc's IPO valuation at $22 billion invokes speculation and debate. After a day of trading the v...
 March 4, 2017

Amazon’s Souq....

At the end of March,
 April 11, 2017
Picnic delivery

Picnic Raises 100 Mi...

Online grocery retailer Picnic, raises 100 million euro from NPM Capital, Fentener van Vlissingen an...
 March 28, 2017
 April 4, 2017
 April 10, 2017
E-commerce Platforms processing Product Data

Magento, PrestaShop ...

Based on the Icecat sample of connected webshops in Q1 2017, the most popular standard webshop softw...
 April 18, 2017
Icecat user share by download method

XML, JSON and LIVE (...

In Q1 2017, Icecat served 3.5 billion data-sheet, versus 1.7 billion registered in 2016. An annual i...
 April 19, 2017

Manual: downloading ...

This document describes how to download individual products from Icecat in 
 April 20, 2017