Thursday, January 22, 2009

RETS Project, back on track (again)

This project is finally back on track. The RETS implementation is just one of many modules in this project that I have been working on for a client, and it kept getting put on the back burner. Now the time has come to wrap this thing up. I should also mention that the contracting agreement for this particular project somewhat restricts what I can publish on this blog.

I think it is important to say a few words about the “big picture” in regards to this project. The developers of RETS have done a great job. Don't underestimate just what that job must have entailed. Creating a transaction standard for the hundreds of MLS systems must have been like wrangling cats. This Coldfusion project is unlike most RETS projects you will come across. Most are using existing code libraries to communicate with the RETS server. There is no native Coldfusion library. We are essentially creating our own library. If you are a developer with little or no MLS experience, this will be a long road that I don't think you will want to venture down. The documentation available is really more of a specification, there are no code samples. Most of the information you will come across online is focused on using the existing .net, java or php libraries, when what you really need is to know what the library is doing. There is little or no support structure out there. You can browse the RETS forums, but once again, you will find most of the people there are using existing libraries. I have been working with MLS data for most of my career and this has been a very frustrating experience. Imagine being locked in a room to learn a new programming language, the only resource in the room is a phone that connects to an instructor that will only answer yes or no to any question. You better know what questions to ask, and expect a lot of trial and error. Maybe I am being a little dramatic here, but my point is, as a programmer, don't think you can jump into this and bang some RETS functionality into your project in a couple days. Consider bringing in a consultant for that part of the project that already has his/her head around RETS. I might as well toss in a shameless plug here for my services, but really, this isn't my reason for giving the warning, if it was I would not be sharing my experience here. So enough venting, lets get on with it.

No comments: