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

On 15/10/2020 08:57, Vincent Bouttard wrote:
For many years, I wrote many product sheets about telescopes, [...]
could be applied to other selling field like clothes, shoes, washing
machines or perfumes, perhaps with some little adjustment

As Gerrit said, most people doing this probably keep the details secret.

So, I'm surprised not to find an XML "standard" for a "dealer"
product sheet.
Probably because so few dealers use XML to *store* the data: I suspect that the data is stored by manufacturers in their product database, possibly even "in XML" (eg a blob of pointy brackets), and dealers get whatever format the manufacturer deems sufficient to export.

This is strange because all e-commerce platforms [...] organize their
product sheets in the same way even in their databases (at least for
the open source ones).

I would be very surprised if product sheets were *stored* in databases. They would usually be PDFs, generated by some pipeline, from data stored in the database. (Although there's no reason why the resulting output shouldn't be put into the database as well. I think it would be odd, but database people sometimes do odd things :-)

But I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the product sheets all *look* very similar, and that the fields in the databases would also be very similar. At some level, everyone has to have Product Number, Product Name, etc., the same way that every Article schema has Title, Subtitle, Author, etc.

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 [...]
Yes, this is very common.

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.

I don't think anyone here would disagree with that in concept. For technical descriptions, DocBook is by far the most general schema, so in the absence of a specialist schema, adapting DocBook looks like a good move, as Gerrit described.

UN/CEFACT/EDIFACT, UNECE, and several other organisations do business schemas, possibly including product data, but these are *vast* packages and probably gross overkill for what you want to do. Right now, anyway.


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