How to Automatically Import Data from Centris to Your Website

In recent years, we have worked on several broker projects that involved automatically importing data from Centris. After several tests and validations, we were finally able to establish an easy and generalized import approach. In this article, we will see how to do an automatic import on WordPress websites. You can also apply this approach on any website using the Cron Job module.

Overview and need to use Centris

Centris is a web-based solution for real estate brokers that are widely used in Canada. This is certainly the most popular database that brokers use to propose properties for sale or rent to their clients.

How it works (From a technical point of view)

Brokers can access their information through the Centris website. They can either copy and add them manually or import them. If the information is used manually, adding the data may require some time investment.

  1. In the case of manual addition of information, the broker or his team will take the data from the Centris site or from their server location and insert it into the website.
  2. To automatically import data from Centris to a website, you will need to program a code that will retrieve the information from your server location. The code will take care of importing into the database to finally create the pages.

We have had the opportunity to experiment with both approaches in various projects. In this article, we present the second approach.

Some difficulties in adding data manually

According to the remarks of several brokers, manual data addition has several disadvantages. Below are some of them:

  • An investment in time. It can take a considerable amount of time to enter the listings manually on a website.
  • The risk of not being up to date on its website. The data on the Centris website is subject to constant change. To this end, if the broker does not put the information on its website in time, its clients could have incorrect data.
  • Several risks of errors when adding data. Manual work is usually error-prone in that you may forget to enter the correct information or put in all the data.

How to automatically import data from Centris to your website?

To import data from Centris to WordPress, we have developed a module that you can find via this link. Before we start explaining the steps to follow, we will first talk about the prerequisites:

  • Have your website on WordPress (open-source version). We have not done the installations on the wordpress.com version. In addition, wordpress.com would not give you access to the server to do your configuration.
  • You should have access to a web server. Via your server, we will have to configure the Cron Job functionality. It is a tool that allows to automatically execute codes according to a time frequency.
  • Download our extension from our online store.
  • Install the extension and perform the configuration.

Below we look at how the extension works and the steps to automatically import data from Centris

Step 1 – Installing the extension

After ordering and downloading the extension, you must follow the standard procedure for installing the extension. Among other things, it will be about:

  1. Import the extension on your website from the extension tab
  2. Install and activate.
  3. Make some initial configurations.

For the basic configuration, you must provide the path to your Centris repository folder, the name of the folder where you want to extract the data and the key for the automatic import.

  • Your Centris deposit file. This is the path to the folder where Centris deposits your entries at a certain frequency. We will briefly explain how this works. However, if you are familiar with a web server, you will easily understand.
  • Name of the folder where you want to extract. The extension extracts the zip file to a folder in your current theme before running the import. You can give any name.
  • The key to automatic import. This is a secret key that you will use with the server functionality to perform the data import.

You will also have to fill in a few fields such as the types of publications of your listings (Properties, Consultants and Agencies).

How to Automatically Import Data from Centris to Your Website

Extension configuration

How to Automatically Import Data from Centris to Your Website

Types of publications

Step 2 – Create a “Cron Job” to automatically import your data

The cron job is a server feature that is used to automatically execute codes. You can set a certain execution frequency and let the server do the work. After installing the extension, you will have the link to add in your Cron Job configuration. Below is an example of what this might look like.

Creation of cron job

Step 3: Use WordPress blocks to insert data on your website

We chose the short code option and the use of blocks simply because you don’t need advanced skills to understand how it works. You will be able to insert the elements on your web pages. You might see in the documentation different block names depending on the usage. For example, to display the list of registrations, we have provided the block for this purpose.

Advanced options

If you have web development skills, you will be able to easily make changes in the design by adding CSS and JS. We will provide you with documentation to this effect.

Conclusion

With our extension, importing Centris data into a WordPress website is relatively easy. If you would like to save time, it would be a pleasure to assist you in the initial setup. Contact us to find out more. You can consult our achievements from this page.

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