Two new sites and two new products from FBS: A WordPress plugin and the API that powers it.

Feb 1, 2011 Michael Wurzer

Disclaimer: This post promotes a new IDX product from FBS that costs money. If you use our IDX system to develop your site, you should probably read the post. If not, you’ve been warned.

On Monday, FBS released two new sites and two new products for users of our flexmls IDX system. First, we released a WordPress plugin that works with our IDX search. Second, for developers creating sites for agents and brokers using flexmls IDX, we’ve also made available the API (application programming interface) that powers the WordPress plugin, so that you can have ultimate control over the sites you’re developing for your agent and broker customers.

You can check out details about the plugin on this demo and documentation site for the plugin and you can check out details on the API in our new flexmls Developer Center web site.

First, let’s check out the WordPress plugin, which allows you to publish a lot of content to your WordPress blog site that can be indexed by search engines. For example, you can publish market stats like this:

[market_stats title=”Fargo Home Prices” width=”400″ height=”250″ type=”price” display=”SoldMedianListPrice,SoldMedianSoldPrice” property_type=”A” location=”City=’Fargo’&Fargo”]

In addition to price trend graphs, there are graphs on DOM, inventory, sale/list price ratio, and volume, and you can target the graphs at specific cities or zips or even map overlays you’ve drawn in flexmls Web. These statistics automatically update over time, so you can build neighborhood pages that are continually current.

The plugin also includes a listing slideshow widget you can insert into your blog posts or pages or your sidebar, like this:

[idx_slideshow title=”Fargo New Listings” link=”default” horizontal=”3″ vertical=”1″ source=”location” property_type=”A” location=”City=’Fargo’&Fargo” display=”new”]

The slideshow can be customized to show new listings, recent price changes, open houses and, if your MLS allows, recent sales. I’m hopeful this widget becomes popular, because I think it could lead to agents getting photos in faster and making sure their open house and other information is up to date in the MLS, because the live nature of these widgets makes it pretty clear when new listings don’t have photos yet and open house info isn’t entered.

Another widget you can insert into your sidebar, pages or posts is a targeted search form, like this one for horse lovers:

[idx_search title=”Find Horse Properties” link=”u532nk2c48k” property_type=”A” location_search=”on” buttontext=”Find” std_fields=”list_price,beds,baths,square_footage”]

You can create these forms by pointing the basic form (location, price, bedrooms, etc.) at a saved search IDX link that has more specialized criteria in it like Horse Property or, if your MLS allows, short sale or foreclosures.

You also can add a bunch of links for popular areas or saved searches for 1-click entry points into your IDX search:

[idx_location_links title=”Popular Cities” link=”default” property_type=”A” locations=”City=’Fargo’&Fargo|City=’West Fargo’&West Fargo|City=’Moorhead’&Moorhead|City=’Horace’&Horace|City=’Dilworth’&Dilworth|City=’Harwood’&Harwood|City=’Mapleton’&Mapleton|City=’Casselton’&Casselton”]

As mentioned above, you can combine the various widgets in a lot of ways to create pages for each community in which you specialize. We look forward to seeing what types of pages you create. In that regard, please let us know if you have some pages you’d like us to feature here or on our plugin site.

We’re hoping many agents and brokers find the WordPress plugin useful. We know, however, that not everyone uses WordPress and that many developers will want to help their agent and broker customers create a custom look and feel to their pages integrating flexmls IDX. To meet that need, we’re also making available the API on which we built the plugin so you can do your own thing. You can check out documentation on the API in our new flexmls Developer Center.

Importantly, the API is only for our IDX customers and it does require a $240 additional annual fee (which also includes the the WordPress Plugin; well, technically, the plugin is free, but the API access requires the license fee), but we think the combination of the WordPress plugin and the API will have a lot of value for developers wanting to leverage the flexmls IDX solution without having to re-host or synchronize any data or images. We take care of all of that for you, ensuring the data on your web site is always up to date and accurate directly from the MLS IDX program.

As mentioned above, we’re excited to see what you create with these new tools and we’re excited for the many upgrades we have planned as well.

Special thanks to Jay Thompson and Matt Pellerin (via Max Chirkov) for beta testing the plugin!