EBay releases its own API

Online auction house eBay has launched a developer program, complete with an API that the company claims will enable developers at other companies to build applications based on eBay technology.

          Not many websites issue APIs. But online auction house eBay has launched a developer program, complete with an API that the company claims will enable developers at other companies to build applications based on eBay technology.

          Third-party developers will be able to access eBay's data and business processes via the eBay API Kit.

          The API will allow eBay to be integrated into customers' websites. The sites will be able to use the eBay commerce engine, saving merchants from having to build their own engines.

          A small, independent bookseller, for instance, could use the API to sell through eBay, thereby reducing infrastructure costs while gaining access to the online auction's nearly 19 million registered users.

          As a second benefit, the API will allow eBay and partners to expand services to new devices, such as wireless telephones and handheld computers.

          The benefit for eBay is potential ubiquity.

          "We believe eBay will eventually be tightly woven into many existing sites as well as future e-commerce ventures," says Brian Swette, eBay's chief operating officer, in a statement.

          To get companies to use the API, eBay also launched a developers program that includes sample source code, a certification process, and technical support.

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