Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

eBay Desktop moves to public beta

Category: Adobe, Offline

<>p>eBay’s San Dimas project has finally moved to public beta. The application, developed using Adobe’s AIR runtime, provides the ability to manage your eBay experience via a well-designed desktop interface:

The product has also graduated to public beta, thanks in no small part to the enthusiasm and support of all of you. Whether or not you installed San Dimas, you can now download eBay Desktop, for free, from http://desktop.ebay.com

eBay Desktop works with eBay US, and in the coming weeks and months we will be extending support to other countries. You can continue to use San Dimas to shop on any eBay site in the meantime. The response to San Dimas worldwide was incredible, and we are committed to bringing this desktop eBay experience to everyone.

The application team made substantial changes for this release to ensure a more personalized feel. Changes included:

  • Revamping the home screen to dedicate more area to highlighting your eBay activity — your watch list, bidding list, recent items, recent categories, and favorite searches.
  • A new browse feature
  • Favorite search feeds allow you to automatically pull down items that match a favorite search
  • Ability to run in the background even when the application itself is closed, so that you can get reminders or outbid alerts at any time.
  • Performance improvements
  • Numerous bug fixes

eBay Desktop is a free download and all you need to use it is a valid eBay account. You can download eBay Desktop from http://desktop.ebay.com

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Posted by Rey Bango at 10:05 am
20 Comments

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3 rating from 39 votes

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why does it try to install Air when I already have Air? I just want the app.

Comment by ziggy — October 3, 2007

Hi Ziggy,

eBay Desktop takes advantage of AIR Beta 2 which was just released on Monday. It’s possibly that you had Beta 1 installed which was released on 6/11. The eBay Desktop installation process detects whether you have Beta 2 installed. If you do not, it will install it first before installing the application. If you have Beta 2 installed, it will simply proceed to install the application.

- Rob
Sr. Product Manager, Adobe AIR

Comment by Rob Christensen — October 3, 2007

Very lame. Why not just build this enhanced interaction directly into ebay likwe it should be, oh ya forgot so they can be in the news. It’s not like an air web page is better then a regular web page. The only thing I can see, from this posting, it has going for it are the alerts and If you really want desktop alerts that badly, go get one of the zillion desktop widgets that monitor ebay.

Comment by Matthew — October 3, 2007

I feel like eBay may have missed the point of desktop apps with this release. To me, the point of a desktop application is to provide a quicker and more responsive user experience.

This app seems to be so loaded with graphics and network activity that it runs slower than if I were using eBay in a web browser.

Am I on the crack here? Maybe my computer just sucks :|

Comment by TZone — October 3, 2007

I’m really wondering what this has to do with Ajax: it’s a desktop application developed with Flex. Okay, an Internet-aware desktop application, but still a desktop application.

Comment by Jep Castelein — October 3, 2007

Wow… so much hate!!

@Matthew: One of the potentials I see with an app like this is when selling items on eBay. Drag and drop of images to your listing is probably the first thing I’d see as a real benefit over having this as a web app.

@Jep: I thought the whole point of Ajaxian was not only to showcase/discuss Ajax, but RIAs in general. I’d rather see broad coverage of anything that makes our jobs easier/more enjoyable, rather than a narrow focus on Ajax (and even then, people are always hating/complaining). Definitely not cool!

I’m no way affiliated with eBay, but I definitely give them props for going ahead with something like this, so early into the AIR game! Seeing big companies embrace new technology is refreshing, if nothing else!

Comment by Frank Manno — October 3, 2007

@Jep: Frank’s explanation was right on target. Ajaxian covers a broad range of topics involving RIA development. This includes not only Ajax but advances in RIA development in general.

@Frank: Great explanation. Thank you.

Comment by Rey Bango — October 3, 2007

In this case drag and drop is not the entirely right technology to be using because you will still need to enter in all the information about whatever it is you are trying to sell. So you can’t just drag a photo in to the Air window and have it automatically post.

Comment by Matthew — October 3, 2007

I think it’s a great showcase for Adobe and AIR technology. But overall I found the ebay application tried to do “too much”, the application was hogging the CPU most of the time and not responsive enough to make it a good user experience. Note that I found the same to be true for silverlight, it will be interesting to see who can squeeze performance and reliability first.

Comment by Jonathan Bond-Caron — October 3, 2007

@ Frank and Rey: I agree that it’s good to cover RIAs. Ajax is not suitable for every job. But I’m really wondering whether Adobe AIR is in fact a Rich Internet Application. Wikipedia states that RIAs “run in a Web browser, or do not require software installation” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Internet_application). In this case, there clearly is a software installation needed. Will Ajaxian also start covering Visual Basic or other development tools for desktop applications? And just to be clear: this is not a judgment on Adobe AIR (I think it’s an interesting product) and I certainly don’t “hate” Adobe AIR, but when I was reading this article I wondered why it was posted on Ajaxian.

Comment by Jep Castelein — October 3, 2007

@Jep: Thank you for the feedback. Obviously, I want to provide content that’s of interest to you, the reader and many times, I run these types of topics by both Dion and Ben just to be sure I’m not off-topic. To date, addressing topics such as AIR or XULRunner have been cool. If you’re truly concerned about this, I would suggest that you give Dion or Ben a shout and see what they have to say. This is by no means meant to dismiss your concerns and I certainly want to keep you guys interested. They’re the founders of the site, though, and would have the ultimate say.

Comment by Rey Bango — October 3, 2007

It’s still ugly as sin. Is ugly a marketing technique?

Comment by Trevor — October 4, 2007

How is this any better? Its hideous! :\

Comment by Zubair Hamed — October 4, 2007

> Very lame. Why not just build this enhanced interaction directly into ebay likwe it should be, oh ya forgot so they can be in the news.

We are making improvements to the site as well, but having a desktop application as an alternative user experience is a good thing. You don’t have to use this, and we think choice is a good thing.

>I feel like eBay may have missed the point of desktop apps with this release. To me, the point of a desktop application is to provide a quicker and more responsive user experience.

I’d be happy to dig in with you to see why it is slow. Most users are reporting very fast response times – the amount of data sent over the wire is much smaller than the website (because only the necessary data and not full pages are sent) and so typical performance is 3 – 5 times faster than the web site. There may be bugs that are affecting things for you – we’ll continue to iterate the beta until we get it super solid and fast

> It’s still ugly as sin. Is ugly a marketing technique?

It can be, although we weren’t trying for it :-) Curious that you say “still” as if this looked or behaved exactly like the eBay site, which I really don’t think it does

> How is this any better? Its hideous! :\

I trust that your comment is based on actually trying the free application out, right? I’d love to hear what exactly doesn’t float your boat. If you haven’t tried it out, you should – you may just like it.

Comment by Alan Lewis — October 4, 2007

Exactly *how* beta is it ? It doesn’t even want to install on my machine. Doesnt throw an error either. Just sits there and ‘installs’ forever. :-)

Comment by jax — October 4, 2007

I could install easily to my desktop and I love to see that as an adobe AIR showcase application. Thanks Ajaxian.

Comment by kevin — October 4, 2007

@Jep: I didn’t mean to imply that your comment was “hateful”. I just find that the theme around here lately is to bash the type of content that’s being posted on Ajaxian. Rather than being hateful/negative, we should try to foster encouragement and praise… it may sound corny, but it definitely makes a difference.

In terms of the Wikipedia definition, I definitely think it needs to be revised/updated. Like anything, definitions change/grow, and so my thought is that RIAs should include things like AIR/XULRunner. Sure, they’re desktop applications, but they’re most than that. They’re a hybrid. I think of them as browsers without all the cruft. And they’re better than browsers in the sense that they allow so much more interaction between the host OS and the app. But that’s just my take on it… not sure how others feel.

Either way, my apologies if my comment came across harsh and directed solely at you.

Comment by Frank Manno — October 4, 2007

I think Air apps are cool but the thing I never see commented on is how incredibly annoying it is going to be when every site has an Air app (with features they don’t have onsite) and I need to open and update all these apps just to do what I could normally do with only Firefox running. The nightmare approaches…

Comment by ziggy — October 7, 2007

Also Rob:

>>installation process detects whether you have Beta 2 installed. If you do not, it will install it first before installing the application. If you have Beta 2 installed, it will simply proceed to install the application.

I do have v1. But, for example, http://www.johnwu.com/ora runs on Air 1 only it says yet the installer still says like yours it will install Air on my system again, so I of course cancel the install and can’t try it at all now. Probably wants to install v2. Is this an Air installer bug or maybe that developer just posted the installer wrong?

Comment by ziggy — October 7, 2007

Ziggy – If an application uses AIR Beta 2, and the installation link is correctly configured, it should auto-install Beta 2 even if you have Beta 1 of AIR installed.

-Alan

Comment by Alan Lewis — October 9, 2007

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