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Final Thoughts - PHP

What is RETS? At first glance it sounds like something you may want to avoid, but for the professional Realtor and their web developer itís like gold. It helps Realtors update property information on the MLS server, saving time and keeping listings current. It can all be done through PHP and a good database.

  1. RETS: Small Name, Big Possibilities
  2. How it Works
  3. The Basic Login in Detail
  4. The Login Script
  5. Authentication
  6. Benefits of RETS
  7. Final Thoughts
By: Ron Goff
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October 25, 2004

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The standard is good and is also in its starting stages. The server I log into uses the RETS standard 1.0 and is currently in the process of going to 1.5. Most of these service providers offer backward compatibility, which is good for those whose clients won't pay for an upgraded product. It will be interesting to watch as RETS grows and how it will be used in the future.

The important thing about the RETS standard is the use of a standard to share information from one computer to another. This is a great example of a standard that has been accepted and actually used across a large area. The power of the standard can be seen by looking at homestore.com, which allows a user to view houses and property for sale from all over the US. Imagine if other areas of industry could develop standards to share information freely. Currently the RETS standard is not international but specific to the US, but there are rumors of getting the RETS standard into the international arena. I know to some this may be a scary thought, and this is one reason why the standard has not gone international. Some see it as stripping away other's culture for western ideals. I don't know about that, but having everything the same does leave little room for individuality.


Now as a web developer you can see the potential to help your local Realtors create better and more exciting websites using RETS. This is why it's like gold, the Realtor benefits from the automatic updates to their website, and the web developer benefits from building a program to interface with RETS.

The nice thing about the whole RETS standard is that it is open and continually being developed to make it better and easier to share information. It is not proprietary and does not require any one piece of software, so that means anyone can create a client and have Realtors use it. In the example here we used fsockets, but you could develop it using other tools like curl. Most of the clients available use Java, but you can see it is open and defiantly not proprietary. You can also use your client over and over for any Realtor that would like to use it with small modifications. Also the things you learned in creating your client will work for other projects.

The main area for information on the RETS standard is http://www.rets-wg.org/. Another good source of information and pre-made open source RETS clients is http://www.crt.realtors.org/. Documentation http://www.rets.org/docs/.

To gain access to RETS, you will have to get a username and password from the RETS or MLS provider for your area, but it is a fairly painless process.

>>> More PHP Articles          >>> More By Ron Goff

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