Advantages of Spark®/RESO Web APIs Over RETS
There are two options for accessing Flexmls data outside Flexmls:
- Our APIs. We offer two: the Spark API and our RESO Web API.
- RETS, which is an older legacy XML-based format.
Although RETS is still widely used, the industry is shifting away from RETS towards APIs as the new standard for data exchange. Some MLSs are beginning to retire RETS and provide data access only via APIs. The Real Estate Standards Organization also no longer updates their RETS specs, having shifted their standards and certification efforts entirely to the RESO Web API. We encourage all developers and vendors to make the transition from RETS to the APIs - the standard for the foreseeable future - as soon as feasible. Beyond keeping up-to-date with industry standards, our APIs come with many advantages over RETS.
The advantages of the Spark and RESO Web APIs over RETS include:
- API field name standardization
- Real-time, specific queries via the APIs
- Modern architecture for accessing data
- More features available via the APIs
- Automated API key request and issuance via the Spark Datamart
- More reliably pull data via the APIs
API field name standardization
RETS field names are not human-readable and apply only to one MLS, but the APIs offer a greater level of standardization. The Spark API supports descriptive, human readable field names, with a large set of standard fields that apply to all MLSs. The RESO Web API offers the highest degree of field standardization, with mappings from Flexmls fields to RESO Data Dictionary fields wherever possible.
More standardization results in faster time to get up and running or expand to new markets. It also helps guard against field changes in the MLS system, whereas these usually require manual updates for RETS feeds.
Real-time, specific queries via the APIs
RETS requires users to download listings to their own local database for use. The APIs support live queries, allowing users to request data from our APIs in real-time and pass the response straight through to their website or app’s user. This ensures users see the very latest, up-to-the-minute accurate data with no lag. There’s no need to replicate and store data locally unless you choose to do so. The APIs also allow for much more specific requests than RETS, allowing developers to better target their requests and pull only the exact data they need.
Modern architecture for accessing data
Today, most programmers and apps not specifically familiar with RETS would expect to receive data via an API. RETS is a years-old, legacy system built on outdated technology. The APIs allow for seamless integration into modern technology stacks, without the overhead of learning an unfamiliar system.
More features available with the APIs
The Spark API provides access to a lot of data which is not available via RETS, including but not limited to:
Automated API key request and issuance via the Spark Datamart
The Spark Datamart automates the process of developers and agents requesting API credentials, bringing licensing terms, pricing, and approvals together in one secure, convenient online space. MLSs can offer data plans (VOW, IDX, etc.) in the Spark Datamart and make them accessible for brokers, agents, and third-party developers to license.
More reliably pull data via the APIs
RETS requires many individual requests to pull all the data for a specific property. With the Spark API and our RESO Web API, far more listing data is accessible with a single request, reducing the chances of failed requests leaving holes in your data.