ETIM International releases ETIM BMEcat guideline 4.0

Last comment 21/09/2018 15:26 by Nico
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Marc Habets 5 years ago created
Today we released version 4.0 of our internationally coordinated guideline for suppliers to provide ETIM based product data according to BMEcat® version 2005. This guideline aims to give international suppliers a clear and uniform exchange format to distribute their product data to all ETIM supporting countries. 

Version 4.0 is not just an incrementally updated version, but with new elements like country specific PRODUCT_CHARACTERISTICS, a new transaction T_NEW_PRODUCTDATA and supporting ETIM MC and dynamic ETIM release, as well as many other smaller changes and extensions.

The guideline documentation consists of a format description with corresponding XSD schema, as well as an overview list that defines which elements are considered mandatory or optional for data deliveries in the respective ETIM countries. The documentation is completed with a XSD diagram and a small sample file for testing. You can find the complete documentation as a zip-file in the download section on our website.
Nico Schmid 5 years ago created
Thank you for the release of the new ETIM BMEcat version.
Since I generally find that the heterogeneity of exchange formats is not so easy to grasp, I made an overview. Please see the attached pdf. Everyone, please feel free to make suggestions and point mistakes out, I will update the figure accordingly.

Planning the implementation for an international environment, I'd like to address two issues:

1.  Compatibility of ETIM BMEcat 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, and Dynamic
We, as a supplier of data, would prefer to implement only the latest format. What about those customers who are still using 3.0 or 3.1? Are those able to use our data if it's formatted according to the 4.0 schema? Accepting that we are not in the role to impose the use of the latest version, do we need to offer all three, or at least 3.1 and 4.0? In the extreme case, what is going to happen if we offer the data in the schema ETIM BMEcat 4.0+ (aka dynamic), and customers expect us to deliver 3.0, 3.1, or 4.0 (static)?

2. Compatibility of country-specific ETIM BMEcat 4.0 versions
We want to provide ETIM exchange files in a multinational environment. If it comes to country-specific assortment and language, it is easy to see that the content is context-specific. Thus, we will offer one BMEcat exchange file for every context.
Things get hairy when not only content is country-specific, but also the exchange format (or at least some of the features). Has anyone an idea how this is elegantly implemented? Do we need to implement several different exchange formats? Or are they "compatible"?
Quickly scanning the 4.0 guideline, I can see two sorts of country-specific features:
a) type "DESCRIPTION_SHORT" (limitation of characters) -> I assume that the smartest way to implement those, is just to use one standard, namely the highest common factor.
b) additional elements -> We add the sum of all countries' additional elements to the BMEcat export manager and simply leave those blank, which are not applicable for a specific country.

Would love to discuss this here as I feel like this is relevant not just for me. Any comment is much appreciated. Thanks!
Rob Pouwels 4 years ago created
Some thoughts.....

About the diagram
- In The Netherlands at this moment the PAB2 (ETIM) format is still very common, but only for useage in the Netherlands itself. This is a rich format but multi file fixed text and it it's not ready for multilingual usage.
- Manufacturers are mostly using the BMEcat 3.1 format to export to international wholesalers/agents or incompany
- INSBOU004 is not used as exchange format in the Netherlands for as far as I know.

About 1: version compatibility
- 3.0 is a version which was only shortly alive, 3.1 was released directly afterwards, with some fixes
- 3.1 is the most used format for now
- 4.0 has more functionality for International usage, ETIM dynamic and ETIM MC, so our customers (manufacturers, agents and wholesalers) want to switch to this format!
- in common: it is always an agreement with both parties. If there is a demand for better and more fields , the switch to 4.0 has to be made obviously. Manufacturers will have to make a planning together with the companies they send the data to, before they can start to make the switch. 

About 2: country specific versions
- We do have some customers who are exporting data to countries with strict country specifix demands (Norway f.e.). In our software they can use the standard and program the country specific rules and use fixed and custom fields together with SQL formulas or 1 to 1 mapping in order to get the data in the exported xml. For now it is a bit too much asked to add all country specific functionality in the default BMEcat export formats. Of course we have to support all the country specific demands in these exports.
Nico Schmid 4 years ago created
Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Two cents from my side:
- To my knowledge is used/accepted by, amongst others.
- Thanks for the background on compatibility. I generally agree on the fact that it's an agreement with both parties. Given the fact that we did not commit ourselves to the outdated 3.1, we decided in favor of 4.0. It's the first time we configure a BMEcat scheme as a PIM export format, and we can't see a reason to stick with the old one, just for the need to switch to (respectively add) 4.0 soon. 
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Topic started 28 February 2018 at 16:41
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