XML, Standalone, AJAX or Webkit – what’s the difference? As one of our most frequently asked questions, we recently sent a newsletter out with a brief overview of XML vs AJAX. Our mailout was copied, changed and redistributed. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s not a good business plan.
The technical explanations of the differences are quite boring and you can find more detailed information further down the page. Each MLS provider offers a different service, but generally, the differences between our XML/Standalone and AJAX/Webkit websites are:
Frontend – often you cannot see a difference on the frontend, but the underlying technology gives the website very different functionality.
XML – more calibrated so you can search for, and display, only the Listings you want. With QRES-XML you create complex searches, focus on particular areas, niche markets, create and deploy Landing Pages, and edit all Listings within your website Admin as well as upload your own properties. Plus if you have multiple MLS suppliers, their data can be merged and seamlessly searched.
Standalone – does everything XML sites do, without the XML feeds. With QRES-Boutique you add your own properties via the Website Admin.
AJAX/Webkit – simple, basic platform, more generalised, list thousands of properties which are instantly updated with virtually no website maintenance on the Agent’s part. With QRES-Cloud there is no website Admin for Listings, only for creating and editing web pages & blogging.
It’s important that you get the product that best suits your business. XML, Standalone, AJAX or Webkit gives you choices!
Let’s look at some different scenarios to see which product might best suit your requirements.
I have of my own properties, am a member of an MLS Provider but I don’t want to share my properties with anybody else. I do want to list other Agent properties on my website.
AJAX/Webkit – add your own properties via the MLS Provider Admin, but DO NOT SHARE them with other Agents.
XML – add your own properties via your website Admin and take a XML of all other properties you want to display on your website.
I am a member of an MLS Provider but I want to filter all properties which display on my website.
AJAX/Webkit or XML – filter properties by Location, Property Type, Price Bands and Property Reference numbers.
I have a small budget and I don’t have a lot of time to maintain my website. I don’t have any of my own properties, but I’m a member of a MLS Provider and I want to list all their properties on my website.
AJAX/Webkit – low budget and low maintenance.
I have my own properties and a small budget, I’m a member of a MLS Provider and want to share my own properties as well as list all other Agent properties on my website.
AJAX/Webkit – add your own properties via the MLS Provider Admin.
I am a member of an MLS Provider but only work within a small area. I want to display both mine and other Agent properties, but I can market other Agent properties with better images, descriptions and in more languages.
XML – you can change the Listing title, images and descriptions within your website Admin. Well written unique content promotes good SEO and improves marketing. Only the Metadata (price, location, property type etc) cannot be changed and is maintained and updated via the XML feed.
I am not a member of an MLS Provider and I have my own properties.
Standalone – add and maintain your properties via your website Admin. If at a later date you become a member of an MLS Provider, you can also add XML feeds.
I want to export all of my properties to a Property Portal.
AJAX – check with your Provider.
XML – we work with all major Portals – please ask us.
I want to export some (but not all) of my properties to a Property Portal.
XML – selected via a checkbox on the Listing within your website Admin.
I am a member of several MLS Providers, both national and/or international and I want to search and display all Listings on my website.
XML – we take XML feeds from all over the world so if you want to display Listings from UK, Barbados or Italy together with Listings in Spain, you can.
I am a German Agent in Spain selling to mainly German clients. I also want to sell my client’s property in Germany.
AJAX – if it’s for a small number of properties, you could create a general page on your website, however, it would not be searchable with the rest of your Property Listings.
XML – just upload it as a regular Listing and we add the Country Search to the Property Search.
I have properties worldwide, not just in Spain.
Standalone – add you own Listings via the website Admin.
XML – add multiple XML feeds to your website.
I do my own marketing and want to improve the website SEO, as well as create my own Landing Pages.
XML/Standalone – simply add the Property Reference numbers to a form input field and the pages are built automatically. All Property Enquiries go to your mailbox and are stored in the Lead Manager in your website Admin. You can see an example here – Luxury Properties in Marbella. You can also improve on the visibility of any Listing by creating unique property descriptions and eye grabbing Listing titles etc.
What is included in the QRES-OD monthly subscriptions?
Whether you choose XML, AJAX, Webkit or Standalone, your monthly subscription includes to following:
- Premium SSD European Hosting
- Daily offsite backups
- 24/7 website uptime monitoring
- XML feed monitoring (where applicable)
- Basic email hosting
- Free software upgrades
- Minor maintenance requests
AJAX & Webkit
Essentially these are the same – some MLS Providers refer to it as Webkit (or Weblink) or AJAX API. QRES Cloud uses the latest remote data functionality by connecting directly with your Provider for all search results and Listing details. The advantage of this is that you get the most up to date information without having to wait for Listing updates delivered on daily MLS feeds.
All property maintenance is carried out in the Provider Admin panel – there is no Listing maintenance required at all on your website. It is quick, easy to use and Listing pages are built on the fly.
The biggest disadvantage is you are served the same information for each Listing that everybody else has using the same Provider and AJAX/Webkit platform and you cannot change it. Google gives a high ranking boost to the first few words on a web page, so the title and first paragraph containing your keywords should be the first thing Google sees on any page. Any marketing strategy would be reliant on your website content and/or blogging as you have no access to change any Listings.
It is possible to creating a Listing through a general web page, but the Listing would not be included in the Listing search with the rest of the properties and you would need to keep it up to date manually.
XML feeds are updated every 24 hours, (either as a full feed or as an incremental feed) of all Listing changes in the previous 24 hour period. XML feeds are far more complex but this also allows users to define their own elements for sharing structured data.
You can target areas and locations with particular property types and features creating niche websites with focused marketing. The Metadata (price, location, property type etc) will always be updated through the XML feeds, but you can the option to improve the images and descriptions, add new language translations and target your demographic. This works well when you are featuring a property – both your own properties and those of other agents. See our article on Tips for Writing your MLS Listing as an example.
When it comes to choosing an MLS Provider, choose one that is reliable with the service that best suits your requirements. Providers in the same area will often list the same properties so having XML feeds from local Providers may not always make sense. That said, we do have clients that have multiple local XML feeds going to one website – because that’s what they want.
As with any technology, things don’t always run smoothly and issues can arise such as the MLS supplier having server downtime, Listing updates taking more than 24 hours to be sent out or a failure in processing XML feeds. However, these happen infrequently, are quickly and easily rectified so with the right MLS provider and the right web technology, you should have little or no issues with synchronising data.
Standalone websites have all the same features as the XML websites, without the XML feeds. Add, maintain and delete all Listings through the website Admin.
XML, Standalone, AJAX or Webkit means having the right Real Estate website has never been easier. There are many products and services available and choosing the right one for your business and budget now is as important as having the right software that allows your business to grow with you.