VP Innovation at Axway, Co-founder at Vordel

Mark O'Neill

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Amazon Dash shows the continued value of APIs to Amazon

It's well known that one of the keys to Amazon's success has been its APIs. Kin Lane has pointed out Amazon's internal APIs, which were famously driven by a directive from Jeff Bezos himself. And, of course, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is fully API-driven, which allows for full automation. Just this week, the Boston Globe covered the fact that Jeff Bezos has been advising iRobot, and it was no surprise to read that "one of the key pieces of advice Bezos supplied was about the value of open APIs".

Even more recently, Amazon has released the "Dash Replenishment Service " (DRS). Although I'm writing this post on April Fools Day, it was released yesterday so I think I can confidently say it's not an April Fool :-). Dash will allow customers to re-order stocks of items such as paper towels, simply by pressing a physical button. Amazon has launch partners for Dash, but of course they don't want to limit DRS to just these items. The key is an API. An API would allow other products to be integrated into DRS. So, the first thing I looked for under the DRS announcement was their API. And, sure enough, I found this:
Can we really implement DRS with 10 lines of code?
Yes. Device makers can start using DRS with as few as 10 lines of code using simple HTML containers and REST API calls. Device makers can place orders on behalf of their customers without having to manage addresses, payment instruments, or billing systems.
It's always advisable not to bet against Amazon. APIs are a big reason for this. With DRS, we see the value of APIs again.

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Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.