A Product Information Management system is not only a place to store and add product information, it is also a tool for publishing – or pushing – that information to different channels.
Dynamicweb contain two ‘native channels’:
- Dynamicweb Ecommerce is a built in distribution channel for those solutions which include a web shop
- The Digital Warehouse functions as a frontend for PIM, and allows select users to download digitals assets and product data in a variety of resolutions and formats
In addition to these native channels you can create custom channels where you can organize products in a custom group structure, and publish these products and groups using custom feeds.
Publish to Channels
From any view mode in PIM, you can select one or more product and use the Publish to channels button (Figure 2.1) to push the product to one or more channels.
This opens a distribution dialog (Figure 2.2) where you can fold out the group structure for Ecommerce and any other channel you have created, check the groups you want to publish to, and then click Save and close to publish the product data.
Once products have been published to a channel, they act as any other product in the channel – for Dynamicweb Ecommerce, this means that they are published when the product index used to publish products in frontend is built. You can edit the shop settings and activate auto-building for an index whenever the shop content is changed.
Channels are simply containers for custom group structures – but group structures which can be different from both the group structure in the warehouse and the group structure in Dynamicweb Ecommerce.
That is to say, the structure can conform to whichever way a particular channel expects to receive data. Amazon, for instance, expects data to be organized in a number of fixed categories – so for an Amazon channel you want to create a group structure which conforms to that demand.
To create a channel:
- Go to Settings > PIM > Channels
- Click New channel to open the channel
- Name it
- Save – the settings not related to Channels will disappear, this is normal and nothing to worry about
When a channel has been created it appears in the PIM tree and acts as a container for channel groups.
To create channel groups:
- Go to PIM > Channels
- Right-click the channel and click New Group (Figure 3.1)
Once a channel has been created, you can use the Publish to channels button in all PIM views to push product data to one or more channels (including Dynamicweb Ecommerce, which is a native channel).
Please note, that channels are organizational structures only – all product fields are read-only when accessed via a channel, and all product enrichment should be done via the warehouse structures or PIM queries.
Changes made within a channel will affect the product everywhere.
Just like product in Ecommerce must be published using a product catalogue app, products in a channel must be published using a feed. A feed is a web page which contains data in a specific format – e.g. JSON – that complies with the requirements of an external service.
The data is typically not formatted to be human readable (Figure 4.1), but you can use a JSON formatter to prettify the output and verify that you have added the right data.
Feeds are simple constructions which consist of:
- A query which retrieves product data from an index
- A context section which defines the languages & currencies which should be included in the feed
- A format section which defined the data which should be published and the format it should be published in
Feed data is published in on a page by default, but it can also be saved to a file.
Creating a feed query
First, you must construct an index query to retrieve the correct product data:
- Go to Settings > Repositories and open a product index
- Create a new query which returns the products you want to publish – this typically means:
- You create a Language parameter
- You create an expression which checks that the SHOP IDs field contains the channel name (here Amazon)
- You create an expression which checks that the Language ID field equals the Language parameter value
The idea with the Language parameter is that you can use the same query for multiple feeds – and simply set the parameter value on each feed. This means you won’t have to create different queries for e.g. Amazon UK, Amazon DK, or Amazon DE feeds.
Creating a feed
To create a feed go to the PIM area, open a context-menu, and click New feed – then configure the feed:
- Provide a name
- Select the index query
- (Optional) override the Language parameter and set the default value to the language ID you want to publish (e.g. LANG1)
- In the context section, select the languages & currencies you want to publish data for
- In the format section select an appropriate feed provider and configure it.
Currently, the following providers are available:
Template feed provider
Generating custom feeds using a ViewModel template
An API URL to the feed will be generated, and can be visited/used externally.
Like many other parts of the system, Feeds can be organized on folders.
Feed File Export
Feed data may be automatically saved to a file by creating a scheduled task using specific add-in called the Feed File Export Task:
- Go to Settings > System > Scheduled tasks and click Add in the toolbar
- Name the task
- Switch the activation selector to Add-in
- Select the Feed File Export Task add-in and configure it (Figure 7.1)
- Select a feed
- Specify a file name and a destination
- Select the language and currency you want to export
Once the task is run – either manually or on a schedule – the file is created and can be interacted with, e.g. moved to an FTP server for upload to an external system.
The Digital Warehouse
The Digital Warehouse is a frontend to PIM (Figure 8.1) which can be used to download images and text from a PIM solution. The Digital Warehouse is a part of all Rapido releases which include PIM.
The Digital Warehouse is a stand-alone website and can be accessed from the frontend of a solution by simply adding /pimtool to the solution URL.
Once logged in, a user can:
- Use the Digital assets area to download files from the Digital Assets folder and subfolders in the file system.
- Use the Products area to download product data in a variety of formats (XML, CSV, JSON)
Please note, that the user logging in to the Digital Warehouse cannot be a regular website user with favourite lists created – this interferes with Digital Warehouse functionality.