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a ruby gem wrapper for the Zillow Rentals (formerly Rentjuice) API

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README.rdoc

rentjuicer

Rentjuicer is a ruby gem that wraps the Zillow Rentals (formerly Rentjuice) API for listings, neighborhoods and adding leads. Rentjuicer is built on top of HTTParty.

Rentjuicer requires access to rentjuice.com's api through an Rentjuice api key so make sure you have acquired a key from Rentjuice before starting with this gem.

API documentation is here: api.rentalapp.zillow.com/documentation/RentJuice_API.pdf

Installation

gem install rentjuicer

In a rails 3 app

gem 'rentjuicer', '~> 0.10.1'

In a rails 2.3.x app (0.6.x only)

config.gem 'rentjuicer', :version => "~> 0.6.3"

Usage

Responses from the api come back as Hashie::Rash objects, each response will be described below

For documentation on Hashie::Rash see the following: github.com/tcocca/rash

Basically HTTParty parses the JSON response into a hash, which is then converted into a Hashie::Rash. This takes all hash keys and converts camelCased keys to underscored keys (eg: 'camelCase' => 'camel_case') and then makes those keys accessble as methods.

So all responses create a :body method to access the data:

@results.body.neighbhoroods # => array of Hashie::Rash objects

Look at the JSON being returned and all of those keys are accessible as methods on the :body method for your Rentjuicer::Response method.

Rentjuicer::Response also implements some method_missing so any methods on response.body can be accessed directly on response, eg:

@results.neighborhoods == @results.body.neighborhoods

Rentjuicer::Response by default does not raise an exception if the API errors, but the success? method will return false. There are some methods that you can call that will trigger exceptions (typically the ! methods, see below).

In the rest of the README I will be accessing the methods off of response as I think it is cleaner to use and read.

Creating a Rentjuicer Client

A rentjuicer client is necessary as this is the object that makes requests, each of classes that interacts with the api requires a rentjuicer client to be passed in to the new call.

@rentjuicer = Rentjuicer::Client.new('some_api_key')

Getting a list of your neighborhoods

To get a list of your neighborhoods in rentjuice you can access the neighborhoods resource and call find_all

@neighborhoods = Rentjuicer::Neighborhoods.new(@rentjuicer) # where @rentjuicer is the client created above
@response = @neighborhoods.find_all # returns a Rentjuicer::Response object

@response.neighborhoods contains an array of Rentjuice neighborhood objects in Hashie::Rash format

If the request is invalid a Rentjuicer::Error exception will be not be raised but the @response.success? will return false. To trigger an error to raise if the request is invalid call:

@response = @neighborhoods.find_all!

Adding a lead to your account

To add a lead to your Rentjuice lead management system there are two methods, create and create! create will not raise an error but the response will not be successful if there is an error. create! will raise a Rentjuicer::Error if there is an error.

@lead = Rentjuicer::Lead.new(@rentjuicer)
@result = @lead.create('John Smith')
@result.success? # => true

@result = @lead.create!('John Smith') # raises an error if the create fails

create and create! take a mandatory “name” paramater and also take an optional hash of parameters as specified in the API documentation. All optional params are passed straight through to the api so keys and values should be passed in exactly as the documentation states.

Searching for listings

There are 5 methods to the Rentjuicer::Listings class in two “groups”

The first group will return Rentjuicer::Listings::SearchResponse responses

:search - searches for listings based on the params passed in, if no params are passed in it will return all properties
:featured - same as search above (takes a params hash) but merges in the :featured => 1 param so that it will only return featured listings

Search and Featured default to 20 listings per page of the request

These methods all return a Rentjuicer::Listings::SearchResults response

@listings = Rentjuicer::Listings.new(@rentjuicer)
@results = @listings.search(:neighborhoods => 'Boston') # => all listings in Boston
@results = @listings.featured(:max_rent => '2000') # => all featured listings under 2000
@results = @listings.find_by_id(18330) # => returns listing 18330 as the only property in @results.properties if that property is found

Rentjuicer::Listings::SearchResponse

inherits from Rentjuicer::Response so @results.body will return a Hashie::Rash of the json that is returned from the api call

method_missing applies here as well so any methods on @results.body can be called on @results

It also adds 2 methods

:properties - this method returns an array of Rentjuicer::Listing objects (see below)
:paginator - returns a WillPaginate::Collection object created from the response where the pager cycles the :properties array

@results.properties # => an array of Rentjuicer::Listing objects
@results.paginator.total_entries # => total number of properties
@results.paginator # => the @results.properties objects

Rentjuicer::Listing

Rentjuicer::Listing creates an object from a hash (or in our case our Hashie::Rash object) by converting the hash keys to instance variables who's value is the key's value from the hash, then it creates methods that return those instance variables.

@results.properties is just an array of these Rentjuicer::Listing objects that are converted from @results.listings

so @results.listings.first.neighborhoods == @results.properties.first.neighborhoods

Where this comes in handy though is that now that it is a class, we can extend it to add more methods which is exactly what we have done

a Rentjuicer::Listing object responds to the following methods:

:id - returns the rentjuice_id for convenience
:sorted_photos - returns the self.photos sorted by the :sort_order key passed back through the api
:main_pic - this is not always the first photo in the sorted list, in fact there is a specific key in the photo hash to designate the main photo, so main_pic returns the photo object that is designated
:thumb_pic - returns the url for the main_pic thumbnail
:first_pic - returns the url for the main_pic fullsize photo
:neighborhood_name - returns the first name in the neighborhoods hash

Also, we have added another method :similar_listings which takes an optional limit and optional search params and does a search call Note: Starting with v0.9.0 similar_listings no longer takes a Rentjuicer::Client param as we are passing this to the Rentjuicer::Listing automatically

@results.properties.first.similar_listings

This method performs a search and returns an array for Rentjuicer::Listing objects based on the following criteria

:min_rent => self.rent.to_i * 0.9,
:max_rent => self.rent.to_i * 1.1,
:min_beds => ((self.bedrooms.to_i - 1) <= 0 ? 0 : (self.bedrooms.to_i - 1)),
:max_beds => self.bedrooms.to_i + 1,
:min_baths => ((self.bathrooms.to_i - 1) <= 0 ? 0 : (self.bathrooms.to_i - 1)),
:max_baths => self.bathrooms.to_i + 1,
:neighborhoods => self.neighborhood_name

You can also pass a limit to the similar_listings method, the default is 6 properties (max) returned

@results.properties.first.similar_listings(10) # returns max 10 similar listings

Finally, you can pass an optional hash of params to merge into the search

# would do the normal similar listings search but with the added condition of returning only featured listings
@results.properties.first.similar_listings(10, {:featured => 1})
Extending Rentjuicer::Listing

Another benefit to this Rentjuicer::Listing class is that in your app you can open the class again and add more methods if you wish. For example create a file: RAILS_ROOT/lib/rentjuicer_extensions.rb with the following:

module Rentjuicer
  class Listing

    def neighborhood_list
      self.neighborhoods.join(', ')
    end
  end
end

and add require 'rentjuicer_extensions' to your config/environment.rb file.

Now you can call @results.properties.first.neighborhood_list to get a nice comma separated list of neighborhood names. This class allows you to create any methods you want on a listing.

The second group returns Rentjuicer::Listing responses

:find_by_id - takes a rentjuice_id for a listing and returns a Rentjuicer::Listing if the property is found or nil if it is not found
@property = @listings.find_by_id(18830) # returns either nil or a Rentjuicer::Listing

These methods just return a Rentjuicer::Listing or an array of Rentjuicer::Listing objects. These methods work by making subsequent calls to go through the pagination of the results for you and compaction each request into a single array. Use these methods only when absolutely necessary as they are expensive to use as they will make repeated api calls through the entire set of pages, so if there are 20 listings per page and 571 pages, this will make 29 api requests which is obviously quite time consuming.

:find_all - take a hash of search params (same as :search above) and returns every result on every page of the response in an array 
:find_all_by_ids - takes a comma separated string OR an array of rentjuice_ids and returns every listing in an array

@results = @listings.find_all(:neighborhoods => 'Boston') # returns an array of every listing in Boston in a single array - no need for pagination
@results = @listings.find_all_by_ids('200306,200221,200214,200121,199646,198560,197542,197540,197538) # returns an array of all of those listings that can be found

Searching MLS listings

Rentjuice provides the option to return MLS listings for your account if you pass the include_mls=1 argument to the search.

Rentjuicer adds some extra methods to the Rentjuicer::Listings::SearchResponse and Rentjuicer::Listing for working with the mls listings from Rentjuice due to the requirement that you display the attribution for each property.

These attributions are typically in the following format:

"This listing courtesy of Holly Kampler at Classic Realty<br \/><br \/>The property listing data and information, or the Images, set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc.  The property listing data and information, and the Images, are for the personal, non-commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing.  MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information, or as to the accuracy of any of the Images, set forth herein."
On Rentjuicer::Listing we have added the following methods:
:mls_listing? - return true if the listing has a #source_type and that #source_type == 'mls'  (as opposed to internal)
:courtesy_of - returns the first half the attribution string after being split on the '<br /><br />'
:mls_disclaimer - returns the second half the attribution string after being split on the '<br /><br />'
On Rentjuicer::Listings::SearchResponse we have added the following methods:
:mls_results? - return true if and listing in the #properties array is a mls_listing (uses #mls_listing? on the listing)
:mls_disclaimers - returns a array of the uniq #mls_disclaimer responses off the listings in the #properties array

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.

  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.

  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.

  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)

  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.

Copyright

Copyright © 2010 Tom Cocca. See LICENSE for details.

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