Streamline the leasing process
Over the course of the two years we’ve been building Rhino, we’ve met with numerous listings platforms, brokerage firms, property management system operators, landlords, renters, and software developers, and eventually arrived at a list of what is now 84 product integration requests.
While we’ve already built integrations into many of the most popular real estate platforms, people keep coming up with awesome new ways of using Rhino to make their lives easier and to better serve their customers, and we want it to be as simple as possible to build new products on top of our ecosystem.
The Rhino API
Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re sharing the Rhino platform with the world.
Developers will be able to add deposit-free search tools to their listing platforms or agent dashboards, receive inbound leads from prospective renters, track applicants in real-time through the Rhino enrollment process, or view information about their enrolled tenants from the comfort of their existing tools (like Salesforce or Yardi).
We’re offering a conventional JSON REST API that will be familiar to any web developer. You can be up and running in minutes.
Igluu is a new listing platform which aims to be New York City’s largest set of verified home listings. Since listings are verified, they’re able to allow more powerful search tools than competing platforms. As an early beta user of our API, they were able to quickly add the ability to allow renters to search strictly for deposit free apartments.
In our early beta program, we’ve also helped brokerage teams and property managers to build tools to search their own inventory for Rhino availability, and to view information about their enrolled tenants’ coverage.
Our core web applications are built with Ruby on Rails with React, and are architected as distinct services. As a new member of the Amazon Activate program, we’ve been migrating slices of our infrastructure from Heroku to AWS, which has led to a distributed architecture that made extracting our public APIs straightforward, and which allows us to scale each piece independently.
While Rails continues to serve us well (as it has for me over the past decade using it to build startups), we saw our API as a great opportunity to assess a new technology. We don’t know for sure yet what our normal use case will be, how many developers will integrate with the API, or how many concurrent users we’ll need to service, so we wanted to choose a programming language and framework that would allow us to remain flexible, without needing to think much about performance (or migrate to a new stack years down the line).
For that reason we built our API with the Elixir programming language and Phoenix web framework.
While the internet is filled with articles about the rock solid performance and reliability of Erlang (the technology Elixir is built on top of) and Phoenix, there is one benefit I’ve come to appreciate I haven’t seen outlined so much elsewhere, which is Elixir’s consistency with regard to response time.
This screenshot from our application performance monitoring system shows what I’m talking about. Yes, Elixir is fast. The endpoints profiled in this screenshot make database queries, call out to external services like Algolia, and still return in a small fraction of their Rails counterparts, but one thing I’ve grown to appreciate is how the mean response and the 99th percentile response are nearly identical in every case. Coming from Rails, where I’m used to the 99th percentile often being several times slower than the median, I’ve been shocked by how predictably our Elixir services perform, even under load. I’d highly recommend giving Elixir a try if you haven’t already.
If you’d like to give the Rhino API a spin, sign up for early access here: https://www.sayrhino.com/api
We can’t wait to see what you build!