We were recently asked to set up an integration service between one our client’s websites and the rightmove.co.uk property website. It was part of our White Labelling programming services, offering web development to other design and marketing agencies – so sadly we can’t tell you who the client was, or tell you where to find the website (it’s all part of our White Label terms of service), but we can (we got permission) give you some information below about the process.
If you haven’t heard of RightMove, here’s a bit of information: it is the UK’s leading property listing website (reporting a 58% market share), where the vast majority of high street estate agents (as well as individual sellers) list their current portfolio of available properties for both sale and rental. In 2014, RightMove had 15.4billion page impressions, making it a vital resource for the property market.
Our task for the integration was to compile a list of properties from our clients portfolio database and process the information into a format that RightMove could understand. This included all of the standard property information you might expect (address, asking price, description etc) but also all of the property images, floor plan documents and energy rating certificates.
The integration had to be able to update the RightMove service on a daily basis, adding new properties, updating existing information, and deleting any old or sold properties from the database.
This all had to be done with an automatic process, to remove the manual interaction for our client’s staff.
With many web integration services we have worked with previously and since, the standard process is a two way communicating of sending a data request and retrieving a response for action.
With RightMove however, the integration required us to compile all of the required information, compress the files into a zip folder (.zip file), and then send the finished ‘packet’ over to RightMove’s integration server via FTP (file transfer protocol). RightMove would then scan the holding area on a scheduled basis to find any new packets which it could process and update the live site with the relevant information.
As you might imagine, this integration procedure proved more difficult to troubleshoot, as any communication issues and formatting problems with the data required the entire packet to be processed, and an error record be sent back for review and amendments to the integration script.
The finished product of this integration was an automated procedure on our client’s server that would follow the process above to send the portfolio packet over to RightMove on a regular basis to keep the property portfolio up to date.
This integration allowed the client to save a lot of time in administration overheads where previously they were having to duplicate the property details onto the RightMove manual user interface one by one, as well as remember to update all records with the most recent information.