eBay’s Farhang Kassaei announces “Selling Manager” as an OpenSocial gadget implementation
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eBay’s Farhang Kassaei announces “Selling Manager” as an OpenSocial gadget implementation

Hello, my name is Chris Schalk. I’m a Google
Developer Advocate and I’m here at the Web 2.0
Conference in San Francisco. And I’m here
with Farhang Kassei, and he’s going to tell us
a little bit about the platform that
they just announced. So feel free to introduce
yourself and tell us a little bit about the platform
that you announced today. Kassei:
Hi, Chris. My name
is Farhang Kassei. And we are here today to announce that eBay
is opening up Selling Manager to all developers. And Selling Manager
is the application where all the sellers go to manage their business
on eBay. And we are opening it up so that you can
deploy your applications, develop your applications, and deploy directly
to the Selling Manager. Schalk:
Cool. So can you describe
a little bit of, like, some of the technical details
behind your implementation? Such as how–
how does it use OpenSocial’s
gadget technology? Kassei:
So we are opening up Selling Manager
to developers, and the applications
that developers deploy on Selling Manager are based on the gadget’s
specification. And this is the same
extensibility technology that is underlying
OpenSocial. Schalk:
And so can you explain maybe some of the reasons
why that you felt standardizing
on gadget technology to base
your implementation on– like, why was that, like,
the right choice for you in your particular case? Kassei:
That–that’s a very good
question ’cause we have a–
we had a very lively debate about this at eBay. Gadget technology,
as you know, provides the–what I call
the “so-called plumbing” underneath all applications’
infrastructure– stuff like security,
configuration, resource management,
internationalization, portable deployment–
things like that that are not
terribly interesting to the application layer but are extremely vital. And we could have
actually duplicated and developed it ourselves, but we think it’s
to the benefit of everyone in the Internet community to actually help
one standard to shape up around all of these application
infrastructure components. So we thought that we’re
going to use gadget technology and we help
develop the spec towards where
it actually enables all classes of application
to be developed– not only social applications but also commerce
applications as well. Schalk:
Great, thanks. Can you explain
a little bit, like, also how you use the Apache
Shindig technology, and how you actually
took that and created, actually,
your product. Can you explain a little bit
of that process? Kassei:
So Apache Shindig, for people who might not
be familiar with it, is an open-source reference
implementation of gadget. And when we decided
to use gadget and to support gadget, it gave us,
actually, a boost for rapid deployment
and development. We adopted Apache Shindig and we started, obviously,
changing some of the code. And Shindig’s
actually designed to be customizable
per deployment. So we changed some stuff,
mostly around the periphery– security stuff,
some configuration stuff, some of the caching. But using Apache Shindig
actually gave us a pretty good boost
in our development. Schalk:
Mm-hmm. And how would you
describe the experience when working with
some of the other developers who actually commit
code to Shindig? Kassei:
So Shindig is an open-source
application, and it has a vibrant
community around it. And we had the benefit of actually using
their contributions, and they
constantly developed different features
on Shindig. They constantly improved
different aspects of it including performance
and security. So that was another
attractive aspect of using
an open-source paradigm that led us–
chose Apache Shindig. Schalk:
Mm-hmm. So let me shift
gears a little bit. Kind of stepping away
from the pure technology but also speaking,
like, in plain language, how will your OpenSocial
implementation now both improve
the eBay PowerSeller as well as a gadget
developer’s experience overall? Kassei:
So whatever helps eBay sellers helps eBay. And these gadgets
are actually food for the commercial
applications, and they’re going
to help our sellers– PowerSellers
or otherwise– to improve their efficiency and improve
their productivity. So in this case,
we think it’s going to be a good help
to our sellers. Schalk:
Mm-hmm. And how about from the gadget
developer’s perspective? How’s the environment
going to help that? Kassei:
Oh, from the gadget
developer’s perspective, this is a very good
opportunity to actually access a qualified
large customer base. We’re actually
willing to pay for any tools
or any application that helps them
be more productive or more competitive. So to my knowledge, this is one
of the very few solid money-making
opportunities that the gadget community
has out there. And they can deploy
the applications. It’s very easy. They’re already familiar
with how to develop gadgets and they can
make it available to a large community
of eBay sellers. Schalk:
Mm-hmm. Great. So how do you see your new
OpenSocial implementation affecting eBay’s
overall business? Like, what’s the net effect
that you expect to see? Kassei:
As I mentioned, anything that helps
our sellers helps eBay. And we definitely are enabling
the development community, the gadget
development community, to help eBay sellers
drive their growth by increasing
their productivity. So in that case,
we think it’s going to help
our sellers that way. Schalk:
Great, great. So getting back
to gadget technology– so right now you have it in your Selling Manager
implementation. Do you expect
to see gadgets in other portions
on eBay’s site? Kassei:
Let me ask you the question. What do you think
we should do next with our gadgets? Schalk:
Sure. I could see
a number of ways where you could–
for example, I could see gadget
applications themselves being created,
which could then exist on other
OpenSocial containers and–providing kind of like
a front doorstep that would allow
anyone out there who has, like, their
comfortable social environment to then quickly jump
into the eBay experience. That’s one thing
that I could see. Now that you’re a container, you could easily facilitate
that with your implementation. Kassei:
That’s another reason
that we chose gadgets. That’s the beauty of it. Exactly what you said– which is a technology
that is well-understood by everyone–
including, for example, you– and based on that,
you start thinking about, “What other
possibilities are there?” And some of them you might
need eBay help to implement it. And most of them
actually, you don’t even need
eBay help. And you can actually
implement these gadgets, and eBay is a container, and your gadgets can do anything that is useful
to our seller community. Schalk:
Great. So I’d like to wrap it up
and if– before we finish up,
if you could tell me– what are the next steps
a gadget developer can take to learn about how
to develop on your platform? Kassei:
So the gadget developers can visit
developer.ebay.com/web20. The URL again is
developer.ebay.com/web20. And you’ll find
all the information to get started
over there. You can sign up to become
an eBay developer, and if you’re already
an eBay developer, you’ll find
all the information to learn about
the Selling Manger Apps– how to develop one,
and how to deploy one on eBay. Schalk:
Great. Well, I’d like to take
this opportunity to thank you again. It’s been a pleasure
working with you. And I’d also like
to congratulate you on the launch of your new
gadget container implementation for Selling Manager Apps. And–and again,
hats off to you guys. Kassei:
Thank you. We are very excited
about it as well. And thank you
for inviting us and letting us tell people
about this opportunity. Schalk:
Great. Thanks. Kassei:
Thank you.

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