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Ebay auction manager for OSCOMMERCE

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Well hotnuts21 this script is just a little part of the big picture. If the info parsed form ebay can be put into the OSC database. on auction closing OSC would send out a e-mail to the auction winner to come to a link on the site to pay for their auction. This would make the whole process automated. The only thing is you would have to list your auction. Sure there are ebay auction managers out there that do this sort of thing but they cost money. I guess the whole point of this is to make an open-source application to handle the auction process.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Look At The Big Picture Not The Little One.

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Hey smitty, this mod kicks ass - I've got it up on my site if anyone wants to see another working example:

 

http://www.dm-gremlin.com/sales/current_auctions.php

 

The ideas I have to fully implement this as per your suggestions are a little beyond my abilities to program unfortunately, but I'm going to spew forth a few thoughts anyway...

 

the first issue would be to figure out how to get osC to automatically read when the ebay auction closes. As it stands now, the script only calls (I think) data from the ebay page when the current_auctions.php page is loaded - meaning if you were to put something in the current_auctions.php script to detect when the auction closed... and nobody opened that page after the auction closed, it wouldn't know the auction was over... so you'd have to put it somewhere else.

 

once this issue is solved, the next step I suppose would be at the auction closing time, to parse all the information and create a product - perhaps a hidden product like it was discussed earlier in this thread - and a user account that can access that product...

 

finally, the script would send the login details to the buyer (also possibly a problem, since you have to be logged into ebay to access the buyer's email address).

 

Hmm... step two seems difficult, but understandable... I have no idea how I would go about solving step one and three, though I'm sure if we all put our heads together we can figure it out.


-D. M. 8)

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Guest

Well dmGremlin I think I should elaborate on this. That is why it is so important to build a table for the variables that current_auctions.php creates. This info would be updated every time the script is executed and one second after the auction ends. If you take a look at current_auctions.php you will see my count down timer. Part of it says if time left is equal to or less than zero than display ?Auction Ended?. I could use some thing similar to this like if time left is equal to or less than zero than upate table and send email to winning bidder. And I would need the countdown timer to run in the back ground that way OSC would know that the auction has ended.

 

Then my plan is to cross reference the OSC auction table with the products table. This shouldn?t be too hard. It could be a hidden product. In my case I am building this auction manager just for my auctions so it will be my only use for OSC.

 

The only real issue I see so far is the e-mail address. From the search by seller feature on ebay If you are the seller you can get their e-mail addresses. I think this is cookie driven. If there is a way to manipulate this cookie to allow you to see the e-mail address, that would be key.

 

The winning bidder would get a link (I would use the ?Buy Now? link) they would come to the auction manager site and It would bring then to the cart with there item in it. Then they would proceed to check out where I would have the check out without logging in contrib. installed and they would proceed as normal.

 

Yeh, I definitely think if we all put our heads together we can figure it out.

 

I am not real good with mysql commands, that is the main place I will need help. Anyone?

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One good place where I check out SQL commands is in PHPMyAdmin - whenever I take any action using the html buttons, it shows me up at the top what the SQL command that it executed was... I've used this a few times to figure out the proper way to state a query.

 

I'll look into the cookie thing. I was just reading up on cookies, trying to modify the PWA mod... I hope all is going well

 

-D. M.


-D. M. 8)

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Hi Everyone,

 

I have been a lurker in this forum for about two months now. I have a client that is an Ebay Power seller, and she wants to use Oscommerce to support that. I installed the contribution, and it works perfectly.

One problem I think she will not like is the page takes so long to load if you include all of her auctions. Right now she has over 200 items listed.

I set the display number to 15, and it still took the same amount of time. The continue button made me think that it would display the next 15 items.

 

I have a significant amount of programming experience and would like to help with this contribution if someone can just point me in the direction I need to go.

 

The other thing I would really like to know is if there is a way to get data from Ebay into the database for Oscommerce. I have Easy Populate installed but as far as I can see Ebay doesnt give me enough information to create a csv -- unless I am missing some document that tells me how to get that from them ????

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One idea I had and i think mentioned earlier. Modify easy populate to give you another file a tab deliminated file. Then use the Turbo lister programme which can import the file you have modified to the requirements of turbo lister ;). Then let turbo lister do the work, its free and you can download it from ebay somewhere.

 

Then upload all your changes as a contrib :D

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Hi All,

 

just thought I'd throw in my 2 penneth worth at this point.

 

What's been done so far is good, but it looks like you're starting to hit the limitations of what can be done without buying-in (literally!) to the eBay system.

 

The only way to integrate things wholeheartedly is to get access to the eBay API and as we know this costs money in the form of an annual fee for developers.

 

What we are working on right now is a contribution that will provide access to a new service that will form a bridge between osC and the eBay API. Naturally there will be a cost involved for the end users of this service, but it is a necessary evil due to the fees that eBay charge us developers. The aim is to make the cost for the end user as low as possible whilst still making the new service commercially viable.

 

This will provide the possibilities of everything that it difficult right now - listing items on eBay direct from your osC shop (no duplication of effort) - callbacks direct from eBay into your shop when auctions end, etc, etc.

 

Just thought I'd mention it. Of course, this doesn't quite fit with the admirable aims of open source (and thus totally free) software, but as far as I can see this is the only way to achieve the desired end result.

 

Regards,

 

 

 

Mark

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Mark,

Ebay offers free individual access that allows 50 API calls daily. It will require XML parsing to work with php. Listing and relisting items do not count in the 50 limit. Most times multi things can b e accomplished with 1 call - for example, to get list of winning bidders or closed auctions - 1 call will get up to 200 auctions

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Hi Bluephoenix,

 

thanks for that. Yes, you are right, individual members can get up to 50 API calls a day, once you're operating in the live environment (as opposed to the Sandbox).

 

This is where I am at the moment, and have developed the code required to make XML requests to the eBay API and to parse the output.

 

The problem with individual membership would be that you need to get access to developer keys in order to access the eBay API on the live site. In order to go this you need to get your application certified and that currently costs $100.

 

Basically, the eBay developer system doesn't quite fit in with Open Source because of this. I don't think things will change as otherwise there would be a risk of the end users modifying code which could substantially change the way the application interacted with the API without the knowledge of eBay requirements for recertification in these circumstances.

 

Throw in the fact that the API is moving beast, with function calls often be superceded, etc, and the "compatibility level" changing every year to ensure the attention of developers to the latest rules, then perhaps maintaining configuration control through a central provider makes a certain amount of sense.

 

If there's another model here I'd be willing to explore it. At least it would offer the opportunity of a few of us to work together on the project. I have done most of the groundwork, but the remainder (particularly where the product listing requests are concerned) is sheer grind!

 

Regards,

 

 

 

Mark

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Guest

Hello,

The eBay API works great but how can you fit Open-source into that equation? I don?t see where it comes into play. What I am doing, which could get me into trouble with eBay, is to develop a FREE source for an Auction Manager. It is possible if we all put are heads together. Other wise we can pay money to eBay and not even bother with this forum. I would rather put my brain to the grinding wheel and integrate a auction manager into OSC. EBay is not bullet proof and it can be done. Everyone thinks Microsoft is the monopoly of the software world does that mean eBay is the monopoly of the auction world? I will do it with or without anyone?s help, you?ll see. :roll:

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Hi smitty1,

 

your aims are admirable, but I have my doubts as to whether they are fully achievable. There are limits as to what can be done using your method - displaying listed auction items is one thing, but a fully integrated auction manager is another.

 

Regarding monopolies - if eBay don't have the monopoly on online auctions, they're certainly not far off it. By endeavouring to build an interface to eBay, surely you are trying to enhance that effect?

 

My suggestion of a contrib which allows connection to a service providing an interface to the eBay API still fits in with the Open Source philisophy. This is not different from many of the other extensions which have been provided for osC to allow connection to paid for services; Paypal, Worldpay, Nochex, etc, etc.

 

You should be wary of coding something that relys on "holes" in eBay's system - they could be plugged overnight. Once people come to rely on them, that then puts them in a bit of an awkward situation when one day it suddenly no longer works.

 

Regards,

 

 

 

 

Mark

A realist not a capitalist! :)

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Don't let them discourage you smitty, I think you've got a good idea here. It looks like we're having a little 'contribution rivalry' - anyway, I was just poking around Ebay today and I found you can pass your password through the address bar... although it has to be encoded somehow, so if we can figure out this how to encrypt the password in the way that ebay wants to see it, this should fix the password issue. I don't see this as changing, either, since eBay will need to have a way to function for users without cookies.

 

i.e.:

http://contact.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ReturnUserEmail&requested=jwphotovideo&de=off&iid=2926539763&frm=366&acceptcookie=0&loginconfirmed=0&pass=XXXXXXXXXXX/&userid=dmg@dm-gremlin.com

 

As you can see, I changed my password to X's - in case someone figures out how it's encoded, but this is the link that would need to be followed to find the email information page for 'jwphotovideo'... anyways, give it a go and see what you think.

 

Actually, perhaps it wouldn't be necessary to figure out the encryption... since you can pretty easily see what your own encrypted eBay password looks like in the address bar, you could just have each user copy that bit and paste it into a definitions part in your .php file so that the program sends this unique information when trying to request the email info page.

 

Well, perhaps one more piece in the puzzle.


-D. M. 8)

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Also, a possible idea for the 'timing' problem, you could perhaps have a page on the admin side that stays open and uses javascript perhaps to open the ebay auction .php page and refresh it every 30 minutes, to keep itself updated... maybe not the most elegant solution, but it would function.


-D. M. 8)

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Guest

Great D.M.! I am glad to see some positive thinking. I just wanted to mention one more thing to equilla and then I will move on. I have been following this forum since the beginning and way back it has been mentioned about parsing text from eBay?s web pages. And wala, look what?s been accomplished. Parsing info from eBay is just the tip of the iceberg. Any ways I just wanted to point out when people put their heads together anything can be accomplished, especially with PHP.

 

Ok, on to better things. Unfortunately D. M. first I deleted all of my eBay cookies from my browser and tried your link. It brings me to the login page. I do have an idea but it would only work for those of us that have our own webserver. I have the Lynx browser on my webserver I could install my eBay cookie on there and it should work. Otherwise I need to do some more research on cookies.

 

For the timing, I wonder if there is a way MySQL could keep track of a time left field in a table and execute current_auctions.php when time left equals 0? Or I like the JavaScript idea but the page does not need to be open to run it could run in the back ground. Maybe Perl could work for this?

 

100% OPEN-SOURCE

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You tried my link, but did you replace the x's with your own encrypted password...? Hmm.. I'm not sure if you already tried this, but in order to get this to work you have to turn your cookies off, then actually log in with your username and password - in the address bar then you'll see your encrypted password.... then replace the x's in my previous link with that password and it should work, and my username with your username and it should work.


-D. M. 8)

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Point taken. Don't get me wrong, I'm am pro Open Source and of late have been posting a new contrib every couple of weeks (more to come....), but was just playing devils advocate on this one.

 

Have you considered cron jobs for the timing?

 

Cheers,

 

 

Mark

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Guest

Cron job great thinking! :lol:

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Hello I have been looking around for the best solution for a timer that is multi threaded and runs in the background. So far I think a java script will do the trick. So from here when the info gets parsed from ebay I will tell the php page to check the auction table for auction number. If the auction number is not there insert parsed info to the table, start the countdown timer, and display info. If it is in the table just display info. This will keep the timer from running every time current_auctions.php is opened. The only thing is you would have to view current_auctions.php to start the timer. Once the timer hits zero it will update info and send e-mail to winner.

 

How does that sound?

 

100% OPEN-SOURCE

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"The only thing is you would have to view current_auctions.php to start the timer."

 

Or I could add a update auction info button from the OSC admin?

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Hi,

 

I'm new to OSC but I've been using ebay etc for some time - so I hope this helps.

 

There are a number of sites that go off and do things on ebay for you, for example

 

http://www.auctionlotwatch.co.uk/lotsnipe.html

 

This site allows you to enter your details, and the lot you're interested in & it goes off and bids just seconds before the end of the auction.

 

So.... in terms of sites accessing ebay on a users behalf - it's clearly possible - proving that there is a way of passing the password to ebay.

 

As far as I know the above site isn't affiliated with ebay in any way, so you guys should be able to use the same functionality within ebay?

 

HTH!

 

Dan.

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Equilla and Smitty,

 

BOTH of you guys have excellent ideas, and NEITHER of you guys are wrong in your logic. I wish I had the knowhow to implement my own AM (auction management) solution into osc RIGHT NOW. But I don't, so I pay. I'm no huge auction giant like hdoutlet or some of those other guys, but I STILL pay 100 bucks a month regularly for auction management services. Add that to the money I have to pay to ebay and paypal and, well, it starts to add up very quickly. Enter the individual API license, and the clouds start to disappear.

 

The great thing about Smitty's efforts is that it would provide auction management solutions to us NOW, at no cost. The bad thing about smitty's solution is that it IS something we will have to chase on a regular basis. And to the regular auction seller (ie, the person who has no clue when it comes to modifying osc), trying to keep up with something like this would become old very quickly. Imagine, having everything up and running smoothly, going on a two week vacation, and coming back to find that ebay had changed something and your auctions are now gonna have to be handled manually. A nightmare to say the least. So for the user who is not osc or php saavy, Smitty's work will not work.

 

The great thing about Equilla's efforts is that they play by ebay's rules. Equilla will therefore have MUCH more support from both ebay AND osc on this. If ebay's going to be changing something in the near future, equilla will know about it in advance and will be given everything he needs to make sure his code is updated as it needs to be for the change. There will be no ugly surprises. This means that someone who is not familiar with the workings of OSC will not be left out in the cold if ebay changes something overnight. This change may SEEM like it was overnight, but equilla will have known about it for months. The bad thing about equilla's solution is that it will cost money.

 

While both solutions are admirable and seem to be in the spirit of osc, when I weight the positives and negatives from each, I'd have to say to go the route of equilla's solution for safety's sake. Granted, I'm not saying to ditch your efforts smitty. If those who are using your contrib are comfortable with using it, then more power to ya. I salute you guys saving that AM money, and wish I could do it do. I'm just saying that in the long-term, maybe an intermediary service like what equilla is suggesting would be the way to go for us ebay sellers who don't want to spend too much time trying to keep up with our "renegade" auction management services. In short, while the renegade solution certainly fits more within the scope of the osc project and lives up to it's spirit, the "by the ebay book" solution looks to me like it would be the safer of the two options.

 

I had wrestled with this for awhile. Ever since hearing about the new individual api license, I've been wondering how this will affect auction management as we know it today. I can honestly say that instead of paying "per transaction" fees to someone like auctionworks, I'd much rather pay 199 a year to license out software that would allow me to use the individual api to hook up to ebay and run my own auction management. You know it will happen eventually, whether it's compatible with osc or not. After hearing equilla's take on the subject, it occured to me that THAT'S the way to go, if you want your solution to work with both osc and ebay.

 

So equilla, perhaps instead of trying to create a service that "works with osc", you should concentrate first on creating a service that is a full-fledged auction management service with tools that are available at other auction mangement services, but that runs on the sellers server instead of a third party's. This could be done using the methods you described (playing the intermediary api developer's role) OR by creating software that could be used by anyone with an individual api license. THEN concentrate on creating a contribution that will allow osc to work with the auction management software. THAT is not against the osc license. While the contribution itself would be free, the software that the user will be hooking up to is not. Like you said, this happens all the time. The paypal IPN contribution is free, but it's not free to use the paypal IPN (you have to pay fees on the money that comes through using the IPN). The "your own auction management software" contribution would be free, but that doesn't mean it's free to use the "your own auction management software" itself.

 

Another way around this would be for someone like equilla to pay the big license fee (allowing them to distribute their app) and develop a package that holders of the free api license can use on their own server. They'd have to pay a licensing fee to equilla of course, so that he can get back those developer fees he has to pay to ebay, but equilla would then not have to worry about any api calls going through his account. AND he would not have to charge the end user for them (they would use the software according to their own individual api license). THEN, the osc community could create a contrib that would allow osc to work along with this software. So long as the contrib didn't require any changes to the auction management software (meaning you'd have to get the software recertified), then we'd be golden. Everything that is open source is still freely distributable, while the auction management software remains it's own entity and can be used by the individual license owner freely.

 

Anyway, I'm just throwing my ideas about this out there. They may not be completely correct, and I may not be on the right track here. But I just wanted to say that both of you guys are valued in my book. We need renegades, and we need legit apps. It goes without saying that open source is a must, but there's also alot to be said for apps that you have to pay for. At any rate, you can bet that I WILL be one of the first in line when the day comes around where I can get my own auction management software and be done with these expensive 3rd party solutions!

 

Beau

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How about an ebay api reseller? Suppose ebay would allow something like that?

 

Create some code that pulls ebay api information from the ebay site and then forwards it to the seller in the form of their choosing. If ebay would allow it, it would likely be a breeze for someone else to come along and create a contribution for osc to work with such a service.

 

Instead of charging your customers "per transaction", simply charge "per api call". You won't get any ugly surprises (except maybe a sudden need to get yourself a bigger server) since your api call rate is set in stone even at the entry level commercial tier.

 

I seriously doubt ebay would go for that though. Probably wishful thinking....

 

Beau

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Guest

I cannot quite conceptualize a peer to peer auction, but if one could be made, OSC would be the ultimate tool. And maybe the OSC guys could make some cash hosting the main servers.

 

Look at these links for white paper type info:

 

http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Non_20stop_..._20type_20thing

http://www2002.org/presentations/fontoura.pdf

http://www.iids.org/publicationdata/db/194/pubdetail

http://wdvl.internet.com/Authoring/ASP/Ebay/

http://archive.infoworld.com/articles/op/x...17opprophet.xml

http://www-rocq.inria.fr/~abitebou/PRESENT...AXML-EDBT02.pdf

 

And these for self purported implementations:

 

http://www.p2pbazaar.com/

http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20001207S0004 - defunct

http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/Labs/dsl/sugg...s_projects.html - maybe these guys would be interested in working with an open source project in order to do some real-world testing?

 

--gabe

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