LAS VEGAS—eBay spent the weekend paying tribute to its developer base, announcing four new APIs, a new contextual ad system, and new developer hubs, sites and resources for its PayPal and ProStores properties.
At its fifth annual eBay Developers Conference running June 10-12 here, eBay brought its developers together to show the companys vision for the future of online commerce and communications, said Greg Isaacs, director of the eBay Developers Program.
This years conference was the first time developers from eBay, PayPal, ProStores, Shopping.com and Skype came together. eBay acquired ProStores, Shopping.com and Skype Technologies last year, and acquired PayPal in 2002.
Isaacs said the eBay Developers Program introduced four forthcoming APIs: an eBay Express Search API; an eBay Express Shopping Cart API; an eBay Product Info API, which includes eBay reviews and guides; and a Contextual Keywords API beta. The new APIs will offer developers additional opportunities to integrate their solutions with eBay Express and to create innovative applications on the eBay platform, Isaacs said. More details about the newly announced APIs will be posted on the eBay Developers Program Web site, www.developer.ebay.com.
The eBay Express Shopping Cart API enables developers to add the capability to search for eBay Express items and populate shopping carts.
"We think this is a great way of extending the long tail of commerce," Isaacs said.
Meanwhile, Isaacs said the eBay Affiliates Program will introduce a beta version of a new contextual ad system called eBay AdContext. The beta is built on eBays relevant keyword selection technology and is billed as a mechanism to give affiliates an automatic way to incorporate eBay content into their Web sites. The system scans the text of a Web site for keywords and returns relevant eBay listings, search results and categories to the Web page, Isaacs said.
"This system enables developers to submit a URL to eBay, and eBay will say, Here are the ranked keywords for items you should be showing to a user," Isaacs said. For example, a Web site about sports could use eBay AdContext to display ads for sporting goods listings or eBay search results for memorabilia related to a specific sports team. When users click on the eBay ad, they arrive directly on the eBay site. eBay affiliates can request to test the AdContext beta by contacting email@example.com.
"The eBay portfolio of businesses offers a powerful combination of commerce, payments and communication tools for the new generation of developers and entrepreneurs," Isaacs said in a statement. "This conference celebrates the tens of thousands of developers in our extended community who are driving innovation and creating economic opportunities in creative, unexpected ways. Our goal is to give these developers the resources they need to succeed and to encourage them to push the boundaries of the Web."
PayPal unveiled at the conference a new Developer Community Web site and Developer Hub, designed to provide merchants and developers with centralized access to the resources they need to integrate PayPal into their online stores, said Tim Villanueva, general manager of the PayPal Platform and Developer Network.
The new PayPal Community site, available at www.pdncommunity.com, offers new forums, blogs and RSS feeds for developers to share ideas and connect with PayPal e-commerce experts and other members of the PayPal Developer Network, Villanueva said. The Developer Hub, available at www.paypal.com/developer, centralizes all developer resources and provides access to an Integration Center with the tools, product documentation, API references and SDKs (software development kits), which are needed to easily integrate PayPal, he said.
Villanueva said PayPal merchandise services have continued to grow, to the tune of some 55 percent, "and developers have played a big role in that growth."
Also, in its Integration Center, PayPal has introduced a new form of credential checking by API calls. The PayPal API Signature is an encrypted string value that developers can include with their API calls to identify themselves.
In addition, PayPal will introduce an enhanced PayPal account provisioning mechanism. And the company will, by the end of this year, introduce "REST-like interfaces for all of our APIs," Villanueva said, noting that many developers see Representational State Transfer, also known as REST, as a simpler alternative to SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).
"The primary implication is today our APIs are based on SOAP, and some developers say theyre too complex, especially for mashups," he said.
Meanwhile, ProStores, which enables small and midsize businesses to build full-featured, customized e-commerce sites, launched the ProStores Developer Network at the conference. Developers can register to join the network at www.prostores.com/developernetwork.
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