EBay boosts developer program

EBay this week is expanding its developers program, providing a single API schema to link to the e-commerce vendor's site and adding other resources.

The eBay Developers Program allows for development of third-party front ends to the eBay e-commerce site. The program has spawned more than 1,000 applications and 15,000 members who generate 1.7 billion Web services calls per month, according to eBay. Developers can sell applications that link to eBay.

A key improvement is unification around a single API schema to provide consistency when developing eBay applications. The API schema is featured in the eBay Web Services component of the program and is based on eBay's current SOAP offering. It supports five interfaces: SOAP, XML, .Net, Java, and REST.

"Essentially, what it means is developers as of June 1, 2006, will no longer be able to use the old schema," said Matt Ackley, senior director of the platform solutions group at eBay. The new schema is easier to use and features integration with the Borland JBuilder IDE. Integrations with other IDEs are planned also, Ackley said.

The schema upgrade includes a revised SDK, improved technical support, and a revised Sandbox to test migrated applications.

EBay's developer program enables third-party innovation in the eBay ecosystem, said analyst Steve McClure, a program vice president at IDC.

"The more you can get people to innovate, the more you can open up and bring traffic to (the eBay) marketplace. It's a win-win situation," McClure said.

Also being added to the program is expanded developer support, featuring live chat, telephone support, and greater online participation by eBay's support team. A developer program road map is being featured to provide information about feature changes. Marketing support is being boosted as well, including provision of an eBay Compatible Application logo.

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