eBay Turns to Open-Source Developers

 
 
By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-06-21
 
 
 
Online marketplace eBay Inc. is wooing open-source developers by launching a community Web site for sharing source code to tools and applications tied to the online marketplace.

The San Jose, Calif., company introduced on Tuesday the eBay Community Codebase program, which provides a collaborative forum wherein open-source developers can tap one another to create tools and applications using Web services from eBay and its PayPal online payment division.

"Some of the most innovative applications in the world are open-source," said Greg Isaacs, director of the eBay Developers Program.

"We wanted to tap into the open-source community, and prior to this announcement we didnt have a great way to incent developers to create open-source applications."

eBay announced the open-source initiative during its Developers Conference being held through Wednesday in San Jose.

Through its Web services program, eBay has signed up about 15,000 developers, which has led to the development of 1,200 applications focusing on managing eBay auctions.

eBay also has revamped some of its terms to attract open-source developers. It now is letting individual developers access as many as 10,000 free call to its APIs each month, six times more than the previous cap of 1,500 a month. The company also is waiving certification fees for individual developers.

Participants in the Community Codebase program can choose to license their applications through one of five leading open-source licenses, Isaacs said.

The community site is powered by CollabNet Inc.s software-development collaboration software.

To help jump-start development, eBay is contributing a set of sample applications to the program on which developers can collaborate.

These include a "My eBay" toolbar for the Firefox browser and a tool for accessing eBay auctions through the TiVo digital video recorder.

Separately, PayPal announced Monday a new set of payment processing options for online retailers.

Read more here about PayPal waiving fees after sporadic shortages.

Called PayPal Website Payments Pro, the suite offers businesses options for using PayPal to handle payment processing without requiring a consumer to complete a transaction on PayPals site.

One option, called Direct Payment API, lets retailers accept credit-card payments from non-PayPal members directly from their sites. Another part of the suite, called Virtual Terminal, helps merchants use PayPal with phone, fax and mail orders.

For PayPal members, an option called Express Checkout simplifies the process of completing an order on merchant sites.

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