Trulia rolls out open-source software to fuel apps powered by MLS data

Portal collaborates with data standards group RESO

Real estate search and marketing company Trulia has rolled out open-source software the company says will make it easier and less expensive for developers to build new real estate applications that work with data licensed from multiple listing services.

The Trulia Java RETS Client software is available on an open-source basis — meaning the source code is freely available for use — through the Real Estate Standards Organization’s website. RESO is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to standardize real estate data so that tech developers spend less time trying to make products compatible between MLSs and more time creating products that boost efficiency in real estate transactions.

Real estate data image via Shutterstock.
Real estate data image via Shutterstock.

Alon Chaver, Trulia’s vice president of industry services, joined RESO’s board in January.

“Technological barriers increase the complexity and costs of development, hampering innovation using MLS data,” Chaver said in a statement.

“We wanted to create open source software that reduces these barriers thereby encouraging developers to collaborate with the MLS industry and use high-quality data to build new applications that benefit the entire real estate community.”

Trulia’s engineering team found the original code on RESO’s website and spent six months updating and improving it with the intent of sharing it back when it was complete, according to Trulia spokesman Matt Flegal.

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Trulia currently uses the code in back-end applications to procure data from MLSs, but “wanted to make it available to all developers through RESO as a contribution to the real estate tech community,” Flegal said. The code is currently not being used directly in Trulia’s mobile apps. Trulia plans to update the software over time to make sure it retains its utility.

“We appreciate companies like Trulia sharing technology that inspires innovation within the MLS community,” Russ Bergeron, president and CEO of Chicago-area MLS Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) and a RESO director, said in a statement.

“Trulia’s commitment to the real estate industry and sharing of its technical expertise establishes a positive framework with which to collaboratively address technology challenges.”

The open-source software is based on the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS), a common language used by systems that handle real estate information, such as MLSs, to connect and exchange that information so that it is accessible online. With the software, developers will be able to easily access data licensed from RETS-enabled MLSs and ensure compliance with MLS licensing standards, allowing them to accelerate development of products such as mobile apps, Trulia said.

The company says it has long contributed to open-source communities, including in the areas of iOS software development, geospatial technology, and data visualization.


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