EBay Launches Community Codebase

As part of an effort to foster innovation and help developers more quickly and easily build applications using the eBay and PayPal Web services platforms, eBay today introduced a new online forum for open-source developer collaboration.

Free to all eBay Developers Program and PayPal Developer Network members, eBay Community Codebase allows participants to access source code for various eBay and PayPal tools and sample applications, and collaborate on new projects and innovations.

The announcement was made at eBay’s fourth annual Developers Conference, where more than 500 developers gathered to share ideas and broaden their understanding of eBay and PayPal Web Services.

Reducing Development Time and Cost

“Open-source development has been proven to reduce the time and cost of developing software, while increasing quality through collaboration and continuous improvement,” said Greg Isaacs, director of the eBay Developers Program.

“By creating the eBay Community Codebase and increasing the limit on free API access for our individual tier members, we hope to create fertile ground for the innovators of our developers program.”

Initial projects available in the codebase include a My eBay toolbar for Firefox, a TiVo/eBay sample application, five payment scripts for integrating PayPal, an Eclipse Plug-in built by eBay, and a PayPal payment data analysis tool using Excel.

Continual Upgrades

EBay said one of the benefits of open-source collaboration is that code can be continually improved and edited by members of the developer community. To facilitate collaboration, the eBay Community Codebase offers version control and issue monitoring functionality to track how members are progressing in writing code, as well as project-specific mailing lists.

With 147 million registered users of the eBay marketplace, the eBay Developers Program provides an unprecedented global opportunity for developers to expand their businesses and create new channels of revenue, according to the company. eBay Web Services is one of the world’s most widely used platforms of its kind, with 41 percent of all listings on coming in through the Application Programming Interface (API). In Q1 2005, eBay supported approximately 1.7 billion monthly API requests.

The Open Development Trend

EBay’s last major expansion of its developer program came in February 2004 when it rolled out its Java and Simple Object Access Protocol. Since that time, the Internet has seen Amazon and Google, among others, come out with their own developer programs.

Kelsey Group Managing Editor Greg Sterling told LinuxInsider that opening code to developers sparks a marketing dimension that helps the Internet giants gain momentum in the marketplace.

“When a company makes it easy for developers to work with their software, it causes proliferation and further development,” Sterling said. “Not only do you get enhancements to the product but there’s also a marketing aspect to it. It can strengthen the community of developers and it can increase loyalty.”

Encouraging Distribution

To encourage the creation and distribution of open-source applications, eBay also introduced a new pricing structure for Developers Program members.

Individual tier members now have access to 10,000 free API calls per month, up from approximately 1,500 per month. In addition, eBay has waived all certification fees for Individual tier members.

CollabNet, a provider of on-demand distributed software development solutions, will host the eBay Community Codebase. CollabNet’s collaborative development environment will allow eBay Developers Program members to work together from across geographically distributed areas and throughout application development life-cycles.

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