What Are Product Data Feeds?

Product data feeds provide the possibility to transfer the content of the product repository to different types of targets: either to files of a specific format, or to a separate Intershop Commerce Management system (target system).

For details about managing product data feeds, see Managing Product Data Feeds.

Product Data Feed to a File

If the target of transfer is a file, product data feeds work similar to - and serve similar purposes as - export processes. In fact, they rely on the same internal operations. However, product data feeds go beyond standard product export with respect to the following features:

  • Export to different XML formats

    Product data feeds allow you to determine the formatting of XML data in the resulting export file. By default, product data feeds support exports to Intershop XML, Sitemap XML, Feed Dynamix Feed and Product RSS Feed. For details, see Product Data Feed Targets.

  • Data transformation before export

    Similar to the product syndication process, product data feeds support attribute mapping. This enables you to modify data structures as required, e.g., by changing attribute names or transforming attribute values. The mechanism can also be used to control which attributes are to be exported, and which are not.

  • Scheduled exports

    Product data feeds can be triggered manually in Commerce Management, or via an automated job at regular intervals.

Product Data Feed to an Intershop Commerce Management Target System

In cases like this, the product data feed is used to selectively transfer product data (database content and related file system content, including images, thumbnails and attachments) from a source to a target system, similar to data replication. In fact, the product data feed - if used to transfer product data to a target system - relies on the same environment as data replication in terms of architecture, setup and configuration of the source and target system. However, the underlying mechanisms to actually transfer data are entirely different. With product data transfer using the product data feed, data objects are converted to WebObjects and serialized by Apache Axis. A Web service residing at the target system is then used to deserialize the WebObjects and merge the data into the target system's database.

Note: In contrast to data replication, the product data feed is designed to transfer small sets of data, for example individual products that have been modified on the source system, with the changes having to be transferred immediately to the target system.

When using the product data feed to transfer product data to a target system, the following specific issues are important:

  • System Environment

    Before the product data feed to a target system can be used, the system administrator has to set up source and target system and prepare them for data transfer. The steps are identical to the steps necessary to prepare the source and target system for data replication. System administrators can refer to Concept - Mass Data Replication and Cookbook - Mass Data Replication - Administration (Intershop Support login required) for a detailed description of these steps.

  • Modification of Live Tables

    Transferring product data from a source to a target system using the product data feed directly affects the target system's live tables. In contrast to product data transfer using data replication, table switching is not involved.

  • Impact on Page Caching

    If the data transfer via the product data feed has been successful, all affected pages in the page cache are invalidated, using the selective page cache deletion mechanism.