Zoopla are one of the largest estate agents companies in the UK and have a vast network of information about current properties available for sale and rent. Aside from common information such as property rent and number of bedrooms, Zoopla also have access to extra information such as neighbourhood average property prices and average council tax value.
Handily for developers, Zoopla have opened up access to this data in the form of an extensive API. From this API, we can create property web applications for a client or personal projects. Here, I will go into detail on how we can create a developer account with Zoopla and start collecting data from the various options that are available. Finally, I will provide some guidance on using the data in a custom property web application.
Before I begin, I want to point out that I will use PHP to create the application. However, the raw data is in JSON or XML format, so you can use a programming language of your choice. Please also note, you will need basic HTML and CSS knowledge for you to build out your custom application.
1. Set Up Zoopla Developer API Account
The first port of call is to get set up with a Zoopla Developer account, which we will use to collect data from the API. Go to ‘Applications’ and click ‘Create a New Application’ and then enter your details about the project you are creating. There is a temptation to only provide the basic details, but the more information you provide at this stage will make it easier to get the application up and running and avoid any unexpected issues further down the line.
Be sure to select ‘JSON’ in the ‘Preferred Output Format’ field, so you can follow on with this tutorial. Once created, be sure to take note of the API key, as this will be used to get authenticated access to the data from Zoopla.
It is at this point, we will run into the first issue that we will need to resolve. For unexplained reasons, Zoopla will deactivate your application after 24 hours. It will remain switched off indefinitely unless we carry out some preventative actions. You will need to contact Zoopla and explain the application that you are building and why they should switch it back on. It usually helps if you have a client that is paying them a monthly fee, for the reactivation process to go more smoothly. Depending on the volume of requests that Zoopla are dealing with, you should have access again within five working days.
In terms of getting set up, I wanted to quickly mention that there is documentation on the Zoopla Developer website, which covers the data requests that can be made. Sadly, the Zoopla Forum is no longer in use, however, Stack Overflow is available, if you want to see some historical questions on the subject. Also, be sure to give the Zoopla API ‘User Requirements’ a read so you are up to speed with the conditions that Zoopla asks developers to comply with. For example, Zoopla asks for a small ‘Powered by Zoopla’ image to appear beside your property listings.
The rest of this article is available on The Digital Den.
Image credit: Emese Pop (Pexels), Zoopla