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Subject: Re: [docbook] Standard schema or format for product sheet

Hello Peter,

Thank you for your answer.

I'm working in a telescope dealer company in France. But I think that my question is not specific to telescopes and astronomical items. this is the case for all technical products, or generally all products (mainly durable goods) which are sold over the Internet with E-Commerce plateforms, from clothes to toasters.

For many years, I wrote many product sheets about telescopes, binoculars, accessories and all those product sheets look the same structurally from a product to an other (short description, long description, table of specifications and so on). And it could be applied to other selling field like clothes, shoes, washing machines or perfumes, perhaps with some little adjustment, from a dealer point of view. So, I'm surprised not to find an XML "standard" for a "dealer" product sheet. This is strange because all e-commerce platforms like Magento, Prestashop, Wix (open-source) or Amazon, Aliexpress (closed systems) organize their product sheets in the same way even in their databases (at least for the open source ones).

We have changed our e-business engine four times in my company, to adjust our needs and our growth. Everytime, I had to format the product sheets differently because the HTML output format for the new platform was different (other HTML tags, other HTML attributes...). Reinventing the wheel.

So, in my opinion, XML is the best way to build "universal" product sheets, due to its flexibility and the possibility to quickly and easily convert XML document to another format for web or print purposes. And DocBook is the best format I found for now to do that.


Le 14/10/2020 Ã 17:36, Peter Flynn a ÃcritÂ:
On 14/10/2020 13:57, Vincent Bouttard wrote:
Hi all, I'm currently working in a company which sells technical products through multiple distribution channels (shop, dealers and e-shop) and I'm writing most of the product sheets.

Are you able to say in what field of technology this is?

I would like to know if there is a standard or an existing schema to
format a product sheet in XML. I have created my own one few years
ago but I'm currently using DocBook to do that. It works fine but if
there is a "universal" and wide-used format for product sheet (with
schema and XSL/XSL-FO style sheets), I will consider to use it
instead of DocBook.

We have done several for individual manufacturers over the years, in several different fields, but they have been bespoke proprietary layouts. I'm not aware of any global standard that covers everything, so if there is one, I'm missing something.

There are certainly standards in specific industries (pharmaceuticals, chemistry, food, and others) with safety-related international standards which mandate many aspects of size, shape, and appearance for data sheets, like the Nutritional Information block on foodstuffs. These are usually mandatory, so it's an offence in law to do it wrong :-)Â There is ISO GUIDE 31:2015 "Reference materials" which is not a standard but a guide to how the information can be treated.

There are also design trends over time: what was thought to be a very suitable product sheet in 1970 is possibly very different from what a designer would produce in 2020 (or maybe not â who knows?).

But none of these would reference markup in any way, just appearance AFAIK.


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