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Amazon S3 Objects - Introduction

Object and Object Key : All of your files that you upload (PUT) and store on Amazon S3 in Amazon S3 Bucket s  are called S3 Objects . When you create an S3 Object in a Bucket, you will need to specify a Key name. This name is the Object key. It is the name assigned to an Object and is used to retrieve the Object. Object key identifies the Object in a Bucket uniquely and is a sequence of Unicode characters whose UTF-8 encoding is 1024 bytes long at the most.
Folder : At Amazon S3, there is no concept of  folders. Here, folder means a common prefix. If Object key has "/" in its name, then strings separated by "/" will be treated as a folder in Bucket Explorer. A Folder (Virtual) just like any computer file system folder is used to group your Objects. The folder name will then become a part of the URL of the Object in it. You can also upload or copy Objects directly into the folder.

There is no limit on the number of objects uploaded in a Bucket. You can upload any size of objects in the Bucket. For objects more than 5 GB in size, you have to upload the object using Multipart API. Bucket Explorer allows you to upload your objects in multipart from 5 MB to 5 GB in part size. Bucket Explorer also provides Multipart Download feature for its user. Multipart Download is an exclusive feature of Bucket Explorer.

How to perform operations on S3 Objects in two ways:

  • Using Amazon S3 REST or SOAP APIs
    If you are  programmer, you can send requests to Amazon S3 Server to perform Object related operations, by using Amazon S3 supported REST or SOAP APIs in your application code. Throughout this website, we will only talk about REST APIs. You can read on AWS Documentation pages about details on SOAP APIs.
  • Using Bucket Explorer
    If you are not a programmer and do not want to write your own program, you can use Bucket Explorer's user interface to perform same Object related operations using point and click, without writing any code.

You can perform the following operations on an Object in a Bucket

  • List S3 Objects : You can list objects in a Bucket using GET Bucket request. Check the link the get more details about List Object - GET Bucket using Amazon REST API as well as using Bucket Explorer.
  • Prefix and Delimiter
    In order to limit the results returned when listing objects in a Bucket, you can use Prefix and Delimiter parameters. These parameters return a subset of the Objects and will group all keys that share a common Prefix into a single list result. To get more details, click on the link Prefix and Delimiter.
  • Object Key and Metadata
    Object key is the name assigned to an Object and Metadata, also called as Headers, is a set of key value pairs on each S3 Object (file) stored in Amazon S3 Bucket. Click the link to know more about Object Key and Metadata

    There are two types of Metadata for files on S3

    • System metadata
    • User metadata
  • S3 Common Prefixes
    These are prefixes which delimited with "/". Virtual folder in the selected Bucket is the list of "Common Prefixes". To know more, click on the link S3 Common Prefixes.
  • S3 Versioning
    With S3 versioning enabled on your Amazon S3 Bucket, you can preserve, retrieve, and restore every version of overwritten and deleted objects in your Bucket. You can enable this feature by setting S3 versioning on the Bucket. To know more, click on the link S3 Versioning.
  • Create Object (Upload S3 File) - PUT Object
    You can add an object to a Bucket or upload file(s) from local file system to Amazon S3 account using PUT Object request of REST API. Check the link to get more details about Create Object (Upload S3 File) - PUT Object using Amazon REST API as well as using Bucket Explorer.
  • HEAD Object
    You can retrieve Metadata from an object using this request. This request is useful when you are interested to know more about Object Metadata instead of Object itself. To know more, click on the link HEAD Object using Amazon REST API as well as using Bucket Explorer.
  • DELETE Object
    You can Delete the S3 Objects from Amazon S3 Bucket if you do not require those Objects in the future and you want to reduce your storage bill. You can enable "S3 Versioning" on a Bucket, if you want to preserve all versions to avoid loss due to accidental Deletes. You can retrieve an Object which was deleted, if you had S3 Versioning is enabled on the Bucket, by specifying the Version ID of the Object when you send a GET request. If you do not enable S3 Versioning on a Bucket, Bucket Explorer keeps your deleted objects in system bucket. You can delete an object in a Bucket using DELETE Object request of REST API or using Bucket Explorer. Check DELETE Object title for more details.

    There are two options to delete an object:

    • Object Delete
    • Quick Delete (Batch Delete API)
  • GET Object - Download
    You can download or retrieve selected file(s) / folder(s) from an Amazon S3 account to a specified location in local file system using GET Object request of REST API. Check the link to know more about GET Object - Download using Amazon REST API as well as using Bucket Explorer.
  • Copy S3 Object
    You can copy an object from source Bucket to target Bucket in the same or in different account using PUT Object – Copy request of REST API. Check the link to get more details about Copy S3 Object using Amazon REST API as well as using Bucket Explorer.
  • Access Control List (ACL)
    All Buckets and Objects are associated with Access Control policies. ACL is a mechanism who decides who can access what. You cannot only see your ACLs but can also update them.
    ACL is the set of permissions of read, write, and update an Object as well as Bucket. On the basis of these ACLs, a user can perform such as uploading new files or delete existing objects.
    Check the link to get more details about Access Control List (ACL).
  • Torrent
    Amazon S3 also supports BitTorrent protocol. You can retrieve the torrent file using GET request and specifying the torrent subresource. This torrent subresource can only be retrieved. You cannot create, update, or delete it. Check the link to get more details about Using BitTorrent to Retrieve Objects
  • Full Path View Object Listing / Folder View Object Listing
    When listing objects in a Bucket, Bucket Explorer allows you to view the objects in two formats.
    • Folder View
    • Full Path View

    Check the link to get more details about Object Listing in different view.