Many businesses today are sharing data with customers, partners or suppliers to transact business. Before starting, it is necessary to analyse the inbound data feeds compared to existing data files to ensure common attributes between two sources can integrate without corrupting the target files. Are the same attributes the same length or same data type? What will be the process to ensure accurate loads, who will monitor the errors or load failures and ensure they are fixed with correct data resent. Who will track the timeliness to ensure updates are made at the right time and who will investigate why updates were not sent?
Much of today's data is not static, so business have to respond to "adds, changes or deletes" for every record in their database (for product data, they can also have changes occurring on any attribute). For some attributes, the business may require historical changes to identity fields. Sometimes, within the suppliers own business, other departments need notification when an attribute is updated.
dataZen had extensive experience in electrical industry product updates, data validation rules and data change management to help you stay ahead of your competitors in making sure your data is current and updates are correctly maintained.
Call dataZen Engineering at 919-526-1018 Ext. 5000 or email to Sales@dataZenEngineering.com
XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. There are many advantages of using XML to transfer data as shown below.
1. XML is a good choice for data transfer using text-based documents supporting Unicode.
The beauty of XML tags is that it permits lay readers to understand the data and its meaning. XML is written in Unicode so its symbols and special characters are included as part of the data. No more need to scour the data to find the single symbol that threw an error.
In the example below for contact information, the first shows the correct XML code. This provides clarity for computers and for those working with data.
2. XML is platform, network and system independent.
The biggest dilemma any company faces isadhering to internal data rules and standards, external industry standards, plus their own customers' requirements. Being text-based, XML can be read by any coding language, on any platform, or on any system. There is no longer a long drawn-out process to ensure compatibility, because data can be transferred quickly and seamlessly.
3. Users define their own tags in XML.
These days, companies have their own data requirements and standards. Developers don't have wait for emerging new standards, with XML tags they can proceed based upon known requirements.
4. Searching data in XML is easy.
Not only are XML tags written in an easy-to-read format, but utilizing an XML parser permits users to search for a particular tag. The days of plodding through endless code are over!
5. XML provides easy communication of the hierarchy of data elements using the tree structure.
Data elements are often found in multiple tables and structures, see example below:
In this example, there are multiple attributes and values describing one item in a manufacturer's catalog. This item, for example, is 15 volts and is branded 'EnergySaving1'. Unlimited attributes can be assigned to identify each item, just as there are unlimited branches emanating from each tree trunk.
6. Can be saved in XML or text format, in any database.
SQL, Oracle, or Documentum. With XML, data can be saved in any database and modified for any requirements, context, or syntax.
7. User interface can rearranged for cosmetic reasons or better usability, without needing to change the underlying data structure.
Frequently data specialists are asked to rearrange the interface of the data. Without XML, this means the underlying data structure must also be changed. This is costly in terms of time and manpower, and it increases the probability of errors. When the data structure does not have to be touched, costs are minimized.
8. Developers have greater flexibility as they design and develop websites or user display formats.
Developers can easily re-vamp a website, or change the way data is displayed creating a design-driven site with changing the supporting data structures.
XML continues to grow in popularity as the language of choice for transmitting data between different platforms, devices or data targets. It is a platform independent language which can simplify complex data transfers like attributes for catalog data or multiple table structures supporting your website.
dataZen Engineering recently completed for Schneider Electric Inc., their compliance with IDEA's new '27-point IDEA Data Attribute requirement' providing XML attributed catalog data updates to the IDW. Please contact us at 919-526-1018, Ext. 5000 or email to Sales@dataZenEngineering.com, for information on creating your own automated attribute updates for the supply chain.