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Author Topic: IDEA: ebay watcher and robot  (Read 4617 times)


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IDEA: ebay watcher and robot
« on: December 18, 2007, 12:27 PM »
I've just posted an idea for a somehow useful thing to the Opera widgets forum, as I can easily imagine it as an Opera widget.
Btw, it makes sense to post the same idea here, as it could also be a desktop application with an "always on top" option. So, here we go (cut and paste from here):


This is a widget I'd like to have, and it seems to me it doesn't (still) exist. If I'm wrong, please suggest.

The widget should include a set of tools to assist ebay users which are interested in buying stuff.
It would appear as a small box (used in "always on top" mode) with some little buttons: "home", "force", "configure", "wishlist", "compact/normal".

The "wishlist" view lets us add new "entries", as many as we want. An "entry" is created by specifying some fields in a form, which could be somehow similar to the "advanced search" of ebay. Something like:

  • label
  • search string
  • check every...
  • price min/max
  • sellers
  • location
  • (some other options...)
  • (sort options...)
  • ending within...

Only the "label", "search string" and the "check every..." fields are mandatory. E.g. we add these three entries, just by specifying the label, the search strings, and the time interval between two automatic checks:

  • 1. [gc contr.] silver gamecube controller original (check every: 2 days)
  • 2. [t. car] tesla car -poster -photo -image (check every: 30 days)
  • 3. [inv. cl.] working invisibility cloak (check every: 30 days)

Of course, the "label" field is a text with a very limited number of characters which we'll use to recall what a whish number is, in a compact view.

When going back in the "home" view, the widget takes action, sending to ebay the requests as specified in the "wishlist" view; it will parse the results, and show us a list (in the widget). Probably, we'll have some results from the first entry, and nothing from the other two. Let's say we have two "gamecube controllers", and a "tesla car", so the home view will be something like (just text, no images please - it has to be a very compact widget!):

([wish number], [label], [time left], [from country], [current price], [shipping], [buy it now or not], [paypal])

  • 1 (gc contr.): 3 days, Australia, 10 € + 40 €, B.N., P.P.
  • 1 (gc contr.): 2 days, UK, 16 € + 5 €, B.N., P.P.
  • 2 (t. car): 5 days, China, 1E9 € + 1E8 €, B.N., P.P.

Of course other fields could be included with some processing by the widget (seller informations, etc.), this is just an example similar to the ebay results output, and it should be ok for most needs. The "config" view of the widget could be use to add/delete the fields showed and every other "config" option.

The widget, following the specified time intervals for each entry, will query ebay, and if it will find some differences it will update the list with more (or less) items. E.g., after 3 days, it will eventually show:

  • 2 (t. car): 2 days, China, 1E9 € + 1E8 €, B.N., P.P.

The "force" button will send the query to ebay for each entry of the wishlist and update the list in the home view, regardless of the time interval still not reached.

The "time left" showed for each entry will be dinamically shown by the widget, and synchronized whenever an ebay query is done; it will be a "smart" indicator, that is we'll see for each entry a self-going countdown like:

2 days, 1 day, 20 hours, 10 hours, 5 hours, 4 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour, 50 minutes, 40 minutes, 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 59 seconds, 58 seconds, [...(go on)...], 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second, CONTACT!

Whenever the "force" button is pressed, or it's time for a query to ebay for some entries of the wishlist, the informations retrieved will also be used to update the "current price" of the already shown items.

Moreover, every shown item has a checkbox at its side, and in the bottom (or top) of the widget there is a select field with some actions which can be performed on the selected ones (think to the Gmail web interface): the most important action I can think is "ignore", so that it's possible to exclude some non-interesting items from the home view, regardless of the fact they're retrieved and fitting the specified parameters.

Of course, every item shown is a link to the corresponding ebay page.

Hitting the "compact/normal" button, the "home" view switches between the "normal" and the "compact" mode (the button will show the complementary label). The "normal" one is that I've just described. The "compact" one makes the widget a very-very little box, wasting nearly no space on the screen and shown with transparency: it will just show, if any, how many items are there for each entry of the wishlist; with the previous example, it would be something like:

1:2, 2:1

The little compact box would be resize-able, and the content would be a one-line text with automatic wrap. And with a very very small font size.

I'll eventually add some other hints I've in mind for this, but that's enough for now, I'll wait for someone able to accomplish what already described, which is not simple.

Of course this is a widget I would use as an auto alert for something I would like to have, hoping it will eventually pop in ebay some day, avoiding the effort to search and check ebay for it every now and then. It would also help in following the auctions when I'm interested in some items, with the counting countdowns...

I hope I've been clear enough and you can "envision" the final thing like I do, if you think something could be explained better please add your comments. And of course, suggestion time is open!

Let's also vote in the poll to see how many of us would find this widget useful. (NOTE: this doesn't apply to DC's forum system: in Opera forums a poll can be included with a thread)


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Re: IDEA: ebay watcher and robot
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2007, 10:38 AM »
There is a discussion on eBay helper programs here.. it might have some useful programs for you.

What's your favorite eBay/auction helping software?