Had a great time speaking in Redmond last night to the VB .NET user group on the Microsoft campus. Mister Robert Green, VB .NET evangelist extrordinaire, reminded me that my article on building an eBay search app using VB .NET is featured this week on the Visual Basic Developer Center. Cool!
I’m in the middle of writing another article that will cover programming to eBay’s product taxonomy, a topic which I touched on briefly in my talk last night but don’t have a great code demo for yet. The basic problem is this: how do you make a database of 20 million products browseable? The answer to date has been to create a hierarchical taxonomy of 30,000-45,000 nodes called product categories and assign each listing to one or two categories. This isn’t a great choice when what you’re looking for is a pair of tickets to see the Giants play on September 21 — there’s no September 21 category for Tickets, and the concept of “September 21” would suck mightily as a keyword search, but you actually *can* ask eBay to show you all the baseball games slated to take place on September 21. The way that eBay does this and the way you can take advantage of this as a programmer will be the topic of my next oeuvre.