Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Tesco.com API (CTP) available over Christmas and New Year

Thanks to those of you who have sent me emails asking if you can have early access to the Tesco.com API that is running on one of our R&D servers.

After much thought, my answer is Yes, you can have early access to the API and try out some stuff with your own applications! I'll call this a Community Technical Preview (CTP) and it will be available by Friday 19th December and will be on air until at least the end of January 2009.

The "much thought" was simply because I had to find my way through the set of things that could go wrong. Events that either give you a disappointing service or (frankly worse) upset our web offering for everyone else. All the problems I have foreseen have been accounted for so I'm in a "let's do this!" mood.

In a week or so I'll announce a web site where you can register to obtain a Developer ID - a string of random characters created when you register - which you must use with the 'Login' web method call. You will have to agree to some terms and conditions such as accessing the API for your own use only, and not selling any client software you create (mainly because the API will surely evolve and change service URI whilst it is in any pre-beta mode, breaking your app).

The CTP version of the Tesco.com API will:
  1. Allow logging in, searching for products, and adding to basket.
  2. Allows three unsuccessful login attempts in a 24 hour period.
  3. Limits the number of product searches per IP address to 100 in any 24 hour period.
  4. Limit the count of products returned in each search to 20.
  5. Provides both SOAP and REST services - you choose the appropriate service for the device you are developing for.
  6. Sit on a single server that I can actively monitor for instances of what I will only describe as 'naughtiness'. Such stuff as hammering the API continuously with sub-second calls, or attempting to hack the API (or server), is included in this subjective term. If things don't work out I can block an IP address or, worst case, shut down the server.
However the API will be real: taking your supplied real customer account credentials and adding real products to your real Tesco.com grocery basket in real-time. However, you will have to go to the standard Tesco web site for functions such as select a delivery slot and checkout. The CTP edition of the API will not have that functionality.

If you wish to take advantage and rustle up an application or two over the Holiday period, you are welcome.

If you wish to download some free software development tools, here are some links:

Let me know if your favourite free develoment platform is not listed - I'll include it on the API support website when it launches in a week or so. Monitor this blog for the web address which I'll publish here as soon as it's ready.


  1. Hi Nick we are already in the new year and the api hasn't be released yet. Are you still planning to release it because I know the iPhone is missing a good tesco app

  2. Hi Nick,

    I'd really like this so that I can simplify doing my Dad's weekly shop! Please let me know when it becomes available (-- david at davidbond dot net --)... Thanks!



As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: