It’s been a long time since I’ve talked technical here on Activerain, but some of us Rainers are actually more focused on real estate technology rather than house viewings on a day to day basis. If you're one of those people you may find the following post interesting. Written by my colleague Richard, lord knows even I'm not this clever ;-) , the rest of this post details the changes we've made to our property site (Zoomf) in the last couple of weeks. So lets forget about the art of selling houses as agents for a minute, and look at how we can sell more houses with our websites. Let's put on our geek head and get ourselves excited with codes, plugins and filters...
Over the last month or so our entire site has been given a face lift, that much is obvious to anyone who's had a look. What is not so obvious are some of the less visible new features, such as GeoRss, Kml, better tag filtering, better sorting, better content and Opensearch plugins.
- GeoRss - GeoRss is best described on the Wikipedia page here. Basically we now put location data into our RSS feeds, which can be used by all sorts of different applications, the most useful of which is Google Maps. If you paste any GeoRss enabled feed into the google maps search box it will instantly display the contents of that feed in the map. Check out my home town here. For anyone thats interested we also tag our RSS feed with photos using the Media RSS extensions.
- KML - Again its probably best to look on wikipedia. KML is the markup used by Google Earth, and many other applications such as Google Maps. You can either download the kml and open it with google earth, or paste the kml url into the google maps search bar (as with the rss url) to view the results either Google Earth or Google Maps respectively.
- Better tag filtering - The tag filtering (eg garden, Victorian) now works as an OR query rather than an AND query as before. We felt this gave a better user experience as people can now search for properties on either the 1st or 2nd floor, which was previously impossible.
- Better sorting - You can now sort by price, number of bedrooms and freshness, both ascending and descending.
- Better content - Using the Geonames.org wikipedia web service we display a random wikipedia article based within 10km of your current search area on every zoomf results page. Check out my hometown results page and you will see wikipedia entries for such interesting places as Creswell Crags and Bolsover Castle. The webservice itself is straightforwards to implement and our thanks go to the people at Geonames.org for providing it free of charge.
- Opensearch plugins - Opensearch is yet again best described by wikipedia, however all you really need to know is that it lets users of firefox and internet explorer 7 (and do a zoomf search from their browser. For Firefox users, all you do is go to any zoomf page and click on the search engine selector icon in the top right corner (it probably has a big google ‘G’ in it), then click on ‘add Zoomf.com sales’ or ‘add Zoomf.com’ lets in the drop down bar. We even support search suggestions like Google does. More details of how to do this will be posted to the main zoomf site as soon as we get chance.
Thats it for now, expect another geeky zoomf tech update when we bring back improved visual search in the next few weeks.
Thanks Richard, I think I need a cold shower to get over that blog post