Merging multiple data sources from multiple suppliers into one output file was the requirement which stood at the creation of the Blending Bull application. I will therefore share some information which is good to know.
Sometimes a retailer has multiple suppliers. It is thus necessary to merge the data into one file. For example because you want to process it further in Mergado (tuning of product pictures, pricing etc.). Or it is beneficial for accounting or warehouse software, shopsystem, etc.
The principle is as follows:
Blending Bull works on the level of files. It will “merge” data sources into one file. It will provide necessary functions for it:
- Merging an unlimited number of data sources into one file
- Removing headers and footers of data sources (suitable for feeds in an XML format)
- Inserting new header and footer to an output file
- Renaming elements by the Find and replace rule
These tools should be sufficient for merging common data sources, mainly in a XML format. Technically also CSV and other formats could be merged. But the situation is more difficult. CSV feeds need to have the same order of columns.
From version 3.0, Blending Bull has a new file creation wizard. I will therefore not go through the process in detail. Only briefly:
- Create a new file. Fill the file name in the wizard.
- Create data sources. Multiple if you wish. Assign them all to this file. In the set up of the individual file, remove headers and footers (in XML feeds).
- Using rules, perform any other needed amendments of the data.
3.1) Insert a new header and footer of the output file (XML format). In the file, editing rules are available for this.
3.2) Data can be further edited using rules – rename elements, delete elements, delete other content, edit values…
- For data import, Blending Bull was design in such a way so that more advanced operations will subsequently be performed in Mergado. But it is not necessary.
- Merging “files” is low level. I was worried that it will cause troubles. It, however, works well actually.
- You can perform all data editing *yourselves. If you do not want to or cannot get involved in it, one of our Mergado specialists can help.
- Blending Bull was designed in such a way as not to overload servers providing data sources. If multiple users download the same data source, Blending Bull will download it once and will provide it to everyone separately. It thus optimizes the load on the server providing data.
- Blending Bull can merge data sources “one after the other”. Thus e.g. more product feeds. It cannot add data from one feed to items from another feed. This can be done by Mergado using data import rule. Both the tools can be used at the same time.
- Renaming elements was originally intended to be addressed later in further processing, e.g. in Mergado. In the end the Find and replace function proved good and the names of elements can be united directly in Bull.
- When designing the application, I assumed merging feeds in the same format (applies to XML feeds). Thanks to the removal of headers and footers of the individual data sources and the possibility of renaming elements corresponding to
SHOPITEM(and others), a clever user can merge even varied sources. Or the user can potentially use Mergado for conversion before the merge.
- Unification of elements using the Find and replace rule can seem clumsy. Nevertheless, even if the application was designed in a “more clever way”, mapping of elements to each other would have to be performed.
Blending Bull works well in practice. It is highly universal and the complete set up is in your own hands – without any interventions needed from application administrators. May it serve you well