eBay to Expand Developers' Access With Beefier Web Services

By Matthew Hicks  |  Print this article Print

eBay plans to add SOAP and Java support to its Web services program for developers. Experts say it and other major Web players increasingly are becoming application platforms.

SAN DIEGO—eBay Inc. is expanding its developer program to support more Web services protocols and programming languages, the company announced on Tuesday during the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference being held here.

eBay's announcement meshed with one of the key themes outlined during the opening day of the conference: That major Web players such as eBay, Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. increasingly are becoming platforms themselves as they provide connections into their services and databases.

"The Internet is the platform," said Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly & Associates founder and president during his opening keynote. He termed these major Web sites and portals the "big, killer apps of the Internet."

"These things are services and not packaged apps," he said. "They're exploring how to become platform players themselves by exposing APIs to developers."

Following that path, eBay in the second quarter of this year plans to add support in its Web services offering for Simple Object Access Protocol and Java. It already had exposed its online marketplace to developers through an Extensible Markup Language-based Application Program Interface as well as a Microsoft Windows software development kit for .Net integration.

"This lets developers use more of the tools they want," said Debbie Brackeen, director of the eBay Developers Program.

Mainly in the past four months, the eBay Developers Program has grown from about 200 developers to 4,000 developers, who have created links into eBay for everything from automating listings of auctions to handling post-transaction fulfillment.

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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for eWEEK.com, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for eWEEK.com. Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.