Amazon S3

by Erica Sadun

You've probably heard about S3. It's Amazon's new storage service that debuted just a couple of days ago. Developers can store data of any kind, up to 5GB per chunk, and retrieve it at will. (The 5GB limit is just for a single file. You can store as much data as you want.) The idea is to provide flexible and reliable data storage using the same scalable model already seen with other Amazon Web Services (AWS), such as the Simple Queue Service, Mechanical Turk and Alexa Web Search. Amazon, in short, is building the backbone for a new kind of Web.


2006-03-16 19:17:23
Please post your code! I've been curious about this API too.
It's a shame the examples didn't work. Have you tried a package manager like DarwinPorts or Fink for installing the right dependencies?
John Cormie
2006-03-17 12:28:26
The reason you need to sign the lower case "x-amz-acl" is that HTTP headers are case-insensitive. "X-Amz-Acl" must have the same meaning as "x-AMZ-aCL" If there is a HTTP client library, or an HTTP proxy between your code and Amazon that changes the capitalization after you sign it, the signatures wouldn't match when checked by S3. By signing a "canonicalized" version of the request, these intermediate changes shouldn't matter.
Nathan McFarland
2006-03-20 08:59:12
So at CastingWords we use a perl interface we wrote to interact with S3 completely via code. However once in a while having a GUI would be nice - and we're a mac shop.

I'd love to see what you've got when you through your stuff together in to a GUI. I say go for it!

Nathan McFarland
2006-03-20 16:30:10
Looks like Leon Brocard has released a perl module - so now there is a way to access S3 from perl that is completely available from CPAN .
Dominic Da Silva
2006-03-29 20:42:26
I have created a Java app called jSh3ll which is the fastest way to get up and running with S3 if you have Java 5 installed!
2006-04-04 23:51:26
Glad to hear I am not the only one struggling to make it work from a Mac. And I am trying to use Leon's perl module...just error's out with
Can't use string ("aws_access_key_id") as a HASH ref while "strict refs" in use at /Library/Perl/5.8.6/Class/
2006-04-05 06:15:19
I wonder if the API is sufficient for someone to create a sharing/syncronization tool like FolderShare, which runs on the Mac, but seems to fail as soon as you throw any significant number of files at it.

Yes, FolderShare is p2p, but it would be nice to have something that worked the same way with s3 storage as the "owner" account. And FS requires client software on every machine, so clearly the application architecture would need to be totally different. It's just a use model that we would really like to subscribe to.

So the client app would in all likelihood need to use metadata libraries to compensate for lack of a server side app, to provide necessary information about modification and maybe even pseudodirectory structure. (limit of 100 buckets? does that mean 100 file-level organizational groups like directories?)

2006-08-29 20:18:10
Thanks for mentioning the acl case-and-space issue. John Cormie's comment would make absolute sense EXCEPT that:
a) I found the space difference is significant, i.e. it needs to be there in the HTTP header, and must not be there in the signed version
b) I found the case was significant too, i.e. X-Amz... case was required in the header; whereas in principle we should be able to make the header version look exactly like the signed version if Amazon was agnostic about such things. And it should be!
2006-08-31 04:27:31
I created a Cocoa app to interact with S3, with the protocol implemented in Objective-C on top of the Foundation URL loading system:, let me what you think.
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