eBay Development : Finding API

These are complimentary informations to my first post about eBay Development and are focused on the new Finding API. The homepage of the eBay Developers Program is http://developer.ebay.com/.

eBay provides a set of keys (DEVID, AppID, CertID) for the sandbox and for production. These keys are registrated at the personal eBay developer account webpage. Developer centers are available for Windows, Java, PHP, Javascript and Flash. There are different API’s available for selling, buying, research and monitoring :

  • Finding
  • Shopping
  • Merchandising
  • Feedback
  • Trading
  • Large merchants
  • Client alerts
  • Platform notifications
  • Research

There are call limits per day for the different API’s. For higher call limits, applications need to complete a compatible application check process.

eBay Finding API enables applications to search for eBay items using eBay’s next generation Finding Platform. Today I replaced the eBay shopping API by the new Finding API in my applications.

The supported functions for the Finding API are :

  • getSearchKeywordsRecommendation: Get recommended keywords for search
  • findItemsByKeywords: Search items by keywords
  • findItemsByCategory: Search items in a category
  • findItemsAdvanced: Advanced search capabilities
  • findItemsByProduct: Search items by a product identifier
  • findItemsIneBayStores: Search items in stores
  • getHistograms: Get category and domain meta data

The function findItemsAdvanced enables searching for items on eBay by category (using categoryId), by keywords (using keywords), or a combination of the two. By setting the descriptionSearch field to true, the keyword queries also search the item descriptions, in addition to searching through the item title and subtitles. Another interesting finction is getHistograms which returns category and/or aspect histogram information for the eBay category ID you specify.

There are different possibilities to obtain the list of categories ID’s for a specified eBay website (php program,  special API, …). A simple solution is to access the storelist online at the eBay website with the url http://listings.ebay.xx, for instance:

Other needed informations to use the eBay API efficiently are the Global ID, a unique identifier for combinations of site, language, and territory. The list of Global ID’s is available on the eBay developer website.

The keywords field is the basis for item searches. The value specified in the keywords field can contain one or more keywords and combinations of wildcard characters. The words “and” and “or” are treated like any other word.  You can use AND or OR logic by including certain modifiers. The complete list of modifiers and wildcards for searching by keywords is available at the eBay developer website.

A search can be refined with item, aspect and domain filters. Filters provide better control over the search results by narrowing the range of items returned. Domains are a buy-side grouping of items, such as women’s dresses. A domain can span many eBay categories and some categories may be included in more than one domain. Aspects are item characteristics, such as brand, product type, size, which are shared by certain types of items. For example, for Shoes, aspects include Style, Color, and Shoe Size. For Digital Cameras, aspects include Product Type, Brand, Megapixels, and Optical Zoom.

In addition to filters, you can specify certain properties to control the way data is returned. These do not control which data is returned, but rather how it is sorted and the volume of the response. The applicable sort values are available at the eBay developer website.

Use paginationInput and its child elements to break the items matching the search criteria down into smaller subsets, or “pages” of data. The paginationInput.entriesPerPage field specifies the maximum number of items to return for any given request. The paginationInput.pageNumber field specifies which “page” of data to return in the current call. The maximum value for paginationInput.entriesPerPage is 100, this is also the default value.

To include additional informations in the search results as the default values, the outputSelector fields can be used. To earn money from eBay for driving trafic to their website, affiliate-related fields, which are included in a call request using the affiliate container, enable the tracking of user activity. Commissions are generated when users do qualifying actions, such as bid, buy, or register. The affiliate container has the following fields: networkId, trackingId, and customId.

There is no difference between uppercase or lowercase characters in the keywords. Special caracters as é, è, à, ü etc are however not recognised.