Thread tagged as: Question, Discussion

Solution Recommendation.


I have just started working with Perch and I need a little guidance as to how I might best designing (from an architecture perspective) a real estate agency website.

The current website I have built merchandises properties for lease and sale via a list-detail (single page) solution that was written up by Drew.

This solution was always intended to be stop-gap measure to get the client's website up and live asap despite the additional human overhead of uploading and maintaining properties.

The client now wants to extend this functionality to pickup property data from their internal property database.

The software allows the client to export properties and their associated assets (images and documents) as a zip file, and then opens a FTP connection to a specified web server and moves the files accordingly.

The package consists of two XML files. One XML file (let's call it alpha) includes the data and file references (images & docs) of new properties. The other XML file (bravo) includes information to modify or delete properties that exist on that website.

Each property has a unique ID.

Each "package" is incremental. It only includes data that is "new" or "flagged for change".

I don't have much if any control over what gets sent and how it gets sent. I need to build a tool that parses the XML, populates a database with said data, and move associated assets accordingly. I then need to programmatically "add" detail pages.

Essentially I need some guidance from the experts here as to how I should approach building this.

Hamish Henderson

Hamish Henderson 0 points

  • 6 years ago

Are you asking for FREE advice? Cause this is a serious undertaking. If I were doing this I would write a custom app to handle the parsing and updating. Now the tricky part for me at this stage is updating assets, as I have not poked around the assets portion of perch to know what triggers would be necessary to update those tables. Anyways, I have been doing a great bit of custom app building and using the perch api to really interact with perch in magical ways. Anyways I see this as a very workable project with perch but it is a serious undertaking.

EDIT: I am not shocked you want free advice as that is the function of this forum. I was merely trying to alert you how difficult the task is and likely it would require considerable programming skill, but perch has the ability to handle this data once formatted.

Hi Robert,

Yes I am asking for free advice. I'm sorry that shocks or offends you.

I am not asking for the solution, rather I am asking for the direction in which to explore.

I want a discussion around the technical implications of different solutions and high-level direction as to how one might begin building one.

Sorry for misunderstanding the point of this forum, I thought this was a place to ask questions.

I'm happy for the moderators to close this thread for breaking convention/rules.

Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew 394 points
Perch Support

Hi Hamish

yes this forum is absolutely a place to ask for advice! Is the existing site on regular Perch, or Perch Runway?

Hi Rachel!

Thanks :) - the site is a regular Perch 2 site, but I'm happy to upgrade if that is what's necessary.


Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan 2638 points
Perch Support

Neither content regions, nor collections (Perch Runway) are particularly suited to this task, as they don't have APIs to programatically modify the data.

That said, it sounds very much like all the content editing is done elsewhere and the site just needs to import and display the result - is that correct?

If so, a custom app may be the way to go.

Hamish... Wow, that was pretty defensive. My question was simply to establish how much effort to put into giving you a solution. And Rachel, I would have hoped you would have backed me up knowing I am a regular contributor and registered developer for perch. I wanted to establish if I should reach out to help this person with examples which would require serious programming time and if there was the possibility of compensation. I regularly spend a couple hours a week providing FREE programming examples to people who request help in this forum. All that being said, Drew supplied the same answer, so I guess Hamish is happily coding away now.

Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew 394 points
Perch Support

Robert - this forum is for asking for free advice and help. Although I am sure that is not what you meant, your response came across as if you were objecting to the request. Please remember that people might think that you are responding officially, leaving a Perch customer feeling as if we - Perch - had turned them away. We're really happy for registered developers to post, and if Perchers would like to contract a Reg Dev (or anyone else) to work with them that is great! We love to see that happening.

We can't build a custom solution for everyone however we will give endless free advice if people want to chat through ideas here. Sometimes that is all a person needs - a bit of a sounding board to work out what is possible. There are plenty of times people come into the forum with something they don't believe is possible and yet Perch can just do that, so we'll always encourage people to ask.

Also, all of our features really come from discussions with Perchers. I couldn't tell you how many features have come about due to us discussing something that isn't possible in the forum and working out a way to make it so!

Thanks for the response Rachel. I LOVE Perch and I want everyone to know it will work in almost all situations. I try to make sure and point people to the developers page for additional help rather then solicit them directly. I will always give as much advice and free code as I can afford. I am happy to help and glad you let us.

Finally... I will make sure to use a little smiley next time to make sure my comment comes across as smiling and happy to avoid situations like today.


Hey Rachel/Drew,

Thanks for the input.

Drew - the content is created / modified outside the website via the property management software.

I built a quick test rig to consume and present the data which I think has legs.

I would have built it outside perch except the client wants CMS control of the listing agents which appear alongside the property listing.

The only information I get in the XML is the listing agent (no ID, no bio, no contact details etc), so I guess I'll need to associate each property that is displayed with an agent profile that is managed via Perch.

I'll have a think about how I might proceed. Happy to make the code open source and discuss/share.


Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan 2638 points
Perch Support

Ok, let us know if you have any questions.