• Nick Lansley

Original API closes tonight after changing the game at Tesco.com

Tonight at 6pm (17:00 UTC), the original API that we launched privately back in October 2008, then to external developers two months later, will be shut down.

The CTP API’s end coincides with the demise of our old grocery platform which it accessed, as we have moved nearly all our customers to the new grocery service now.

The API, known as our ‘Community Technical Preview’ (CTP):

  1. Powered the prototype ‘Kitchen PC’ that I demonstrated on stage at Microsoft PDC in November 2008;

  2. Helped us think how we could improve our health & beauty range through a ‘Beauty Room’ silverlight application in Spring 2009;

  3. Provided the search and add-to-basket functionality for our live ‘Back To School’ web application that ran throughout the summer holidays in 2009;

  4. Allowed us to try new ideas with third party organisations that linked it to their technology when demonstrating possibilities to us;

  5. Powered (until last week) the Tesco Finder iPhone application.

As a result of what it allowed us to do, suddenly our business realised the ‘art of the possible’ and as a result put in both time, effort and money that made our TJAM innovation event the success that it was.

As well as doing great things, the CTP API nearly got me into trouble with my colleagues:

During a regular senior team meeting last summer involving both IT and business managers, an IT manager had to inform that meeting that one of his projects was going to be delayed. This was greeted with some dismay by the business unused to such news.

The next item on the agenda was the ‘Back To School’ application which Marketing informed the meeting had been built in just a week “on the back of Nick’s API” and was now live and taking money.

A senior director exclaimed, “Why can’t the rest of IT be like Nick Lansley?”. Turning to IT manager, the director told him, “Go and talk to Nick and find out how he does it!”. And he did (that was interesting conversation!).

The later that day I wrote an email to the director thankful for their praise, but pointing out one thing: “It is thanks to the hard work, attention to detail, performance and resilience of our existing systems that I can do my job. It is thanks to the work by this IT manager and his colleagues that I achieved what I have – because they let me stand on their shoulders.”

I never received a reply back, but when I saw the senior director in the distance a couple of days later, they saw me, smiled and nodded.

When the CTP API closes tonight, it will still exist at its endpoint, but whenever it is accessed it will respond: StatusCode: 999 StatusInfo: “Please see http://www.techfortesco.com/forum for news of the next version of the Tesco API. Everything that has a beginning has an end. Let me sleep.”

#tescoapi

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