eBay rolls out new, revamped APIs

The new APIs will allow sellers to manage eBay commerce end to end, while enabling buyers to purchase merchandise without going to the eBay platform.

eBay, one of the first companies to embrace public APIs, is rolling out a new generation of APIs that will allow third-party developers to fully manage eBay commerce -- as a seller and a buyer -- from end to end.

The 10 new standards-based APIs include a set of "Sell" APIs that allow sellers to quickly integrate with eBay and onboard all their inventory using retail and industry standard practices. The new "Buy" APIs allow shoppers to buy eBay merchandise without having to visit eBay.com.

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The new APIs use OAUTH authentication, JSON payloads, and RESTful design principles, giving eBay's more than 340,000 registered developers "more features and a modern, well-performing platform," said Gail Frederick, senior director of developer ecosystems and services at eBay.

With a more modern platform and retail standards in place, eBay is hoping to lure more buyers and sellers and grow its inventory.

Its public APIs already drive significant selling activity from eBay's medium and large partners, Frederick said. In August 2016, developers used them to create 175 million new listings for the month and manage 700 million active listings, driving more than 1 billion of gross merchandise volume globally.

As the company is nurturing its relationship with third-party developers to drive sales, eBay is also engaged in a "multi-year evolution" of the eBay platform itself, as CTO Steve Fisher noted earlier this year. "This replatforming will manifest itself in the form of powerful, new ways for consumers to shop, moving well beyond the listing-based approaches that have typified the past," he wrote. "And, this new approach will reduce reliance on search as the only path to discovery."

The new APIs were officially announced at the Anita Borg Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, where eBay is stressing the importance it places on having a diverse workforce.

Frederick, who led the development of the new APIs, leads a team on which 30 percent of the software engineers are women and 20 percent of the managers are women.

"Diversity is built into our product," she said. "Differences in the way people work and communicate make our product better."

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