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Category Archives: Development

Open Source CLI (command line interface) for Querying RETS Servers and Searching Metadata

by Drew Meyers on 4:36 pm May 4, 2016

Props to Ari Summer for releasing an open source CLI (command line interface) for querying RETS servers and searching metadata. The gem is built on top of the rets gem, which handles the actual querying and parsing of the RETS server requests. You can download and clone the repo on GitHub: Ari, please feel free to leave further clarification about what exactly this would enable a developer to do in the comments.

How A Bot Reduced Our Workload By 80%

by Ben Kubic on 9:00 am April 26, 2016

As both Drew and now Nathan have written, there is a lot of nascent interest in bots for real estate. Most technologists tend to focus on the consumer-facing use cases: helping buyers figure out which homes to look at, answering basic questions about listings, etc. At Virgent, we took a little bit of a different tack. Since we exclusively focus on home sellers, we handle a lot of showing requests from buyers’ agents – in some cases it can be dozens of requests a day. It … Read More »

Bots, Aren’t So Elementary, Watson

by Nathan Joens on 8:00 am April 25, 2016

Bot, Why? Sherlock Holmes once said, “It is my business to know what other people don’t.” Real estate agents can certainly attest to this as they are inundated with requests from prospective home buyers and sellers for information. This information is a real estate agent’s most valuable asset, but what does this mean for the consumer? It means we have to wait 5 hours for a response with no real context…   Bots Are Better People Bots are built by context and what consumers want is a simple, … Read More »

Bots, and Real Estate

by Drew Meyers on 11:22 am April 22, 2016

Some of you may have heard the recent news Facebook launched a bot platform for messenger (see GeekWire post here). The developers/technologists reading should head over and learn more here: What are some of the uses for the bot platform in a real estate context? How about for answering basic questions about listings, and scheduling showings? Buyer: I’m interested in 1511 2nd Ave N as a result of driving by it this morning on my way to a meeting. What middle school does this fall into? Bot: McClure … Read More »

Need Development Work by a Senior Rails Architect?

by Drew Meyers on 4:35 pm April 15, 2016

Finding trusted developers is a challenge I hear fairly frequently from real estate entrepreneurs I speak to. I know a trusted senior Rails/backend engineer (here in Seattle if location matters to you) looking for contract work at the moment. Shoot me an email at drew at horizonapp co with a short description of your needs, and I’ll connect you if it’s a good potential fit.

Cloud MLX (via a Hack Week)

by Drew Meyers on 7:00 am February 6, 2016

W&R Studios team worked on a MLS search app, called Cloud MLX, at a recent “hack week”… the presentation is below. Read more about the hack week project in part 1 here and part 2 here.

Parse Shuts Down – Alternatives?

by Drew Meyers on 12:13 pm February 1, 2016

Parse is a “backend as a service”, supported by Facebook. We actually had been talking about switching the server side of Horizon to Parse off and on for the past year. It does geo fairly well out of the box (which is one of the areas we need to improve). You’d think with Facebook behind it, it would be around forever, right? Well, there was some shocking news last week. Parse is shutting down (to be discontinued on January 28, 2017). I’d be curious to know whether any … Read More »

My Experience at the RETSLY / Zillow Hackathon

by Seth Siegler on 11:11 am November 21, 2015

I meant to write this immediately following my return from the Zip.Code Retsly Hackathon but I think I literally needed this much time to catch up on the sleep I deprived myself of, over the course of the 34 straight hours I was at the event… I arrived at the Trulia office (site of the event) shortly after my flight arrived in SF. It was Friday night on Nov 6th and I had been struggling hard with a migraine all day long. Not an ideal way to … Read More »

Need iOS Development Help?

by Drew Meyers on 9:40 pm October 13, 2015

If you’re currently working on an iOS app, or need a new one built from scratch, and short on development resources — I know a junior iOS engineer who is looking for some contract work right now. Shoot me an email if you’re interested. drew at

A New Tool for Data Aggregation (for Non-Developers) – Knime

by Drew Meyers on 11:14 am July 22, 2015

Early on at Zillow, I used Yahoo! Pipes as a way to aggregate and filter web results with zero actual programming knowledge (Pipes was mentioned by Justin in this article from 2010). It was a cool tool back in the day. Fast forward several years, and Yahoo! has shut the service down. Of course, IFTTT now exists – but’s it more for accomplishing tasks than for doing deep data aggregation and analysis. A new tool I just learned about today: Knime. This morning, I had coffee with a … Read More »

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