Data Exchange Standards

SAVE TIME, SAVE $

The WF&FSA Technology Committee has addressed the ever increasing demand for seamless transfer of data, in this case specifically product information, by developing the WF&FSA Data Exchange Standards. Please read the information below to understand the power that this tool can provide to your company, and view the items on the right for further details.

The WF&FSA Data Exchange Standards is the road map we have created to carry the vehicle, in this case XML (Extensible Markup Language) to transfer all of the information on any specific product that may be required for the ultimate use in marketing distribution and data capture of that SKU.

  • One roadmap
  • One language
  • One Vehicle
  • One consistent set of rules for all commodities
  • One program

Why consider using the Standards? The Vendors perspective…

  • Discipline having all information a Wholesale/Distributer would ever require available in 1 file 
  • Eliminate data entry errors for your customer
  • Vendor only required to do the work once
  • One program communicates with multiple wholesalers

Why consider using it? Wholesale Distributor perspective…

  • All information that could ever be required from a vendor is presented in 1 download.
  • Save time updating existing items
  • Save money
  • Eliminate Data entry errors
  • Avoid duplication
  • Update 1 vendors files in a single pass
  • One program communicates with multiple vendors

WHAT IS XML?

Extensible Markup Language (XML) was first brought into the spotlight in 1996 by the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3). XML is a markup language just like HTML, but without the fixed format. A markup language provides words and tags that describe a document and identify the pieces.

While HTML is about presentation, XML works to store and transport structured data. All XML files follow some basic rules for syntax and form. The simplicity of the language allows the author to develop a structure that focuses on the data with customized element tags. XML improves the functionality of the Internet by providing files that are flexible and adaptable.

XML is a simple language that most anyone can master. It does not carry the same rules and strict syntax that other Internet languages require. This makes it a good choice for novices and experts alike. Once you have the basic rules down pat, creating a well-formed XML file will provide a straightforward way to organize, transmit and update data.

SIMPLE XML EXAMPLE

<contact number="00001">
  <name>
    <first>Jane</first>
    <middle>Q</middle>
    <last>Public</last>
  </name>
  <phone type="voice">
    <areacode>407</areacode>
    <number>555-1212</number>
  </phone>
  <phone type="fax">
    <areacode>407</areacode>
    <number>555-1213</number>
  </phone>
  <email>jpublic@gmail.com</email>
</contact>

FIVE REASONS TO USE XML

Simplicity – XML is easy to understand. You create the tags and overall set up of your document. What could be simpler than that? When writing a page in XML, the element tags are your own creation. You are free to develop the system based on your needs.

Organization – XML allows you to build your platform by segmenting the design process. Data sits on one page, and formatting rules stay on another. If you have a general idea of what information you need to produce, you can write the data page first then work on the design. XML allows you to produce the site in stages and stay organized in the process.

Accessibility – With XML you compartmentalize your work. Separating data makes it accessible when changes are needed.  When time comes to change an inventory record or update your details, with XML, separating data makes changes easy and time-saving.

Standardization – XML is an international standard. This means that anyone in the world is likely to have the ability to view your document. Whether you are sending data to users in Alabama or Timbuktu, chances are they can to access the data. XML puts the world in your virtual backyard.

Multiple Applications – You can make one data page and use it over and over again. This means if you are cataloging inventory, you only do it once.  The end user can create as many different displays of the information as they want for that data. XML allows you to generate different styles and formats based on one page of information.

Ultimately, XML is a tool. It keeps your design work organized into practical compartments. The easy nature of the language doesn’t require massive amounts of knowledge or an alphabet behind your name. XML saves time and keeps the design flow organized. When you think about it, why wouldn‚t you use XML?