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InfoQ Homepage News eBay Announces New Buy and Sell APIs

eBay Announces New Buy and Sell APIs

eBay recently announced the release of two brand new buy and sell API's. These APIs are aimed at fostering better integration of eBay products within third party applications. eBay posted several articles on their blog on October 19th detailing not only the highlights of what these new buy and sell APIs offer but also a full summary of their API journey as a company from SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to REST (REpresentational State Transfer) and all the hurdles in between.

eBay introduces two buy APIs in this release, Browse and Order. The Browse API allows you to retrieve specific items from eBay's goods collection or provide search filters to retrieve a list of matching items from the collection. On the sell side, eBay has released six new APIs, Account, Inventory, Fulfillment, Marketing, Analytics, and Metadata. The Metadata API offers a singular get method to retrieve sales tax information, which seems out of place given that there is an entire sales tax resource in the Account API with many contextual methods. The Analytics API allows you to retrieve some basic metrics on eBay user profiles, such as a user's marketplace region and page traffic numbers, but does not support any exciting predictive analytics or data modeling. The rest of the APIs provide numerous useful methods for manipulating inventory stock, fulfillment orders, etc. throughout a sales cycle. The Marketing API in particular provides a huge amount of functionality in letting a seller create and successfully maintain several different ad campaigns.

All the APIs are RESTful, have JSON payloads, and utilize OAuth 2.0 for authentication. These updates bring eBay up to speed with the standards that most APIs of the past decade have already been using. Gail Frederick, Senior Director of the eBay Developers Program, says of the APIs, "With these APIs, developers can rapidly create an integration and help accelerate buying from eBay anywhere, anytime. To me, that's true disruption - and, it's a leap forward for eBay developers." By utilizing dominant rather than dated API paradigms and providing a bevy of API functionality around the buying and selling process, Frederick hopes to make eBay more accessible to developer community.

In this release eBay has provided a total of eight new APIs. Every aspect of the buy and sell process is meticulously contained within resource HTTP methods. It's clear that this is more of an introduction to a whole new eBay ecosystem, than to one new technology in particular. Tanya Vlahovic, senior architect at eBay, says as much in her eBay tech blog entry on the release of the APIs: "Our goal is a large and powerful ecosystem of developer applications that add value and benefits to our buyers and sellers." While the eBay website is incredibly well-known as a buying and selling tool, this functionality is rarely seen integrated fluidly in third party applications. These updates to eBay's API infrastructure are sure to make eBay's data more accessible to the developer community and bring eBay closer to the modern world of API development.

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