Review for IDX Broker Platinum
IDX Broker Platinum 4 months in (by david_knudsen)
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After a very rocky start, I've had four months of experience now with IDX Broker Platinum. Overall, the system works well, and has a lot of features that put it head and shoulders above IDX Broker Classic. It's a very powerful system with a lot of customization options, but there's a steep learning curve if you want to customize it much beyond the basic templates. I use it standalone, and not as a plug in with a template site with themes like Wordpress, so the experience of Wordpress users may be different.
The mobile version was a big reason that I upgraded to platinum. (According to my Google Analytics stats, visits from mobile and tablet devices account for 30-40% of my traffic.) Customization of the mobile version is difficult, and there's little to no documentation for the mobile CSS. I spent hours 'reverse engineering' the mobile CSS to find the correct tags to style. The CSS, in my opinion, is very complicated and convoluted. It's possible to style the mobile version, but it's not easy.
Also, when IDX Broker tinkers with the back end, it sometimes changes my saved searches. For example, I have some advanced searches saved with "lakefront" (as a land feature) or "log cabin" (as a style feature) that worked flawlessly for months. Then all of a sudden, those criteria selections were gone from those searches. I also subscribe to IDX feeds from two MLSs, and on advance searches you select the "Market Area" (MLS) to use for the search. Weirdly, that has changed on some searches. This may be a one time glitch related to some back end upgrade, but I've taken to checking all my saved links every couple of weeks.
On the positive side, users like it. The site is definitely 'stickier'. The average time per visit, according to Google Analytics, is up about 20% to 11 minutes, from 9 minutes with IDX Classic. The option to use Bing Maps (in bird's eye view) in searches and aerial views is great. The widget selection is much better than Classic, particularly the map search widget that I've embedded on my main site.
I also use showcase and slideshow widgets on my main site, to highlight favorite properties or properties in a specific category (selected by listing ID rather than a saved search.) In IDX Classic, the listing id's were part of the embedded widget's script URL. So if I wanted to pull one listing id out and add another, I had to do that on the page where the script was embedded. For me, that means firing up Dreamweaver, making the change on the page and uploading it to my website. in Platinum, the embedded script for the slideshow or showcase widget stays the same, and you make any changed to the included listing ids from the Platinum dashboard. This is much more convenient and a HUGE timesaver.
One thing I'd like to see IDX Broker launch is a users forum. IDX Broker support only deals with issues related to the functionality of the program, and not much with customization or extensibility. If you want to do much styling with CSS, or want to extend the system, you're pretty much on your own. A users forum would enable those of us who are delving deeper into the capabilities to share tips with each other. IDX Broker Platinum arguably is the most customizable and extendible IDX programs on the market.
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