The RESO Board of Directors has been busy for the past ninety days, holding thirteen meetings instead of the three typical for the period. They have created a strategic plan and technology roadmap for the next generation of RETS, and discussed what is needed to complete the data dictionary. They have also explored RESO governance, communications, incorporation, staffing and funding of the effort, and development of an intellectual property policy.
Discussion of the need for staff to better leverage volunteer efforts was extensive, and there was a great quote on funding RETS from one software provider: [If we can improve RETS and] “If I can get rid of a $50,000 programmer, I’d be glad to kick in a few bucks.”
It was explained how the RESO organization will improve the current standards development process, with the board setting the vision, working with the community to define goals and resources, ensuring accountability, integrating feedback and iterating. An architectural oversight committee will be formed to take the output of workgroups, and will be responsible for taking action on it.
I am hopeful that the new board will organize RESO quickly and we will start seeing the benefits of that effort soon. This is a difficult task and I appreciate their volunteer efforts!
While we all want the RETS standard to improve, there was a brief session discussing how successful RETS 1.x is today. Vendors provided statistics about the millions of RETS transactions they perform daily, moving the data effectively. The Cornerstone product alone processes 2.6 billion RETS transactions per year, moving 158 billion records.
There was then a discussion of RETS 1.8, which I imagine will be posted more prominently soon on the rets.org website. The primary benefit of this new version is an improved RETS update transaction – allowing data to better be sent to a RETS server rather than just obtained from it. RETS 1.8 was approved during the meeting. There was some uncertainty whether current NAR RETS compliance rules meant that MLSs would have one year to move to 1.7.2 or 1.8 (away from 1.5). Several people in the room indicated a preference that companies shouldn’t have to move from 1.5 if it worked for them. The specification is currently located here:
RETS Next Generation (RETS NG) was then discussed – a smaller, easier to use standard – stateless, cacheable, scalable, moving away from queries and XML metadata. There are lots of ideas on how various additional mechanisms for more easily and efficiently moving data could be implemented. The important thing to note is that RETS NG isn’t intended to be a wholesale replacement for the current RETS standard, just augment it as part of a family of standards. Rob Overman suggested we refer to it as “RETS Services” rather than “RETS NG” to avoid confusion in this area.
There was a lot of other great content, including a commercial real estate point of view provided by Robert Toothaker, client vendors points of view from Ed Newman and Pace Davis, discussion of the minor additional work needed on the “Common Payload” (standard data definition) already implemented by some MLSs, and Dave Story from MOVE explaining how Realtor.com stops the data screen-scrapers.
Day 2, Track A – We reviewed various use cases and functionality with an eye toward resources and return (rank & prioritization). Wed narrowed down the list of business cases to evaluate based on feedback. If you want to join the Google Group and have access to the use cases we are discussing:http://tinyurl.com/3as2r2q
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