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eBay Buys Into SOAP, Java

Officials at the world's largest online auction site announced Thursday the first major expansion of its developer program in a year, hoping to draw in more programmers to build applications around its platform.

In Spring 2004, eBay said it will roll out support for Java and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Web services standard in its software development kit . Currently, the company's SDK only supports Extensible Markup Language , Perl/PHP , Component Object Model (COM) and .NET platform programming languages like C#, C++ and Visual Basic.

The Thursday announcement signals a new era of inclusion for the San Jose, Calif.-based company; while Microsoft's .NET and COM are common in the programming world, Java is becoming increasingly more popular in a Web services environment, and is used by many independent programmers. SOAP, on the other hand, gives eBay developers another standard to use when transporting information to and from eBay servers.

Inclusion only makes eBay a more attractive arena for independent software vendors (ISVs) who make tailored applications that reside on the client side. In the case of eBay, ISVs can make auction management or buyer automation tools to make it easier for active buyers and sellers to conduct business.

The theory goes that if there's more software out there making it easier to make a sale or find a good deal, the more people will visit eBay. And building a developer community, said Dana Gardner, Yankee Group application infrastructure and software platform senior analyst, is a goal many companies have been aiming at the past couple years.

He expects SOAP and Java support won't be the last announcement surrounding eBay's developer community, as it builds a program that can operate in any computing environment.

"Developer tools need to be as inclusive as possible, and also embrace every level of interoperability and integration that it can to be able to build on its community and its ecosystem," he told internetnews.com.

eBay's developer push began back in 2000, when officials released an application program interface that let developers tie directly into the eBay database.

Widespread adoption didn't take off, however, until the release of their individual-license free SDK, which made it easier for less-experienced programmers to make applications. Last year, the eBay developer community registered approximately 200 users; today there are 4,000.



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