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  1. #1
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    Does anyone have an idea how to use webmerge with the art.com datafeed? It's got thousands of main categories. Mind you I'm just learning but when I make an index page from the art.com datafeed it pulls from the parentcategory column all the different categories which are for example instead of animals being listed as the parentcategory and birds being the secondary category, it would list an animals link, a birds link, an eagles link and so forth.

    Art.com's feeds categories are not lined up with animals being the main cat, then the subs like birds and dogs, and then another sub for eagles, hounds and so forth. It's all listed together under the parent category. It would take more time to fix the datafeed than to make pages one at a time.

    Is there a way to do this with the art.com datafeed?

  2. #2
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    I made separate templates and webmerge files for each category. I used 2 webmerge files and index, subcategory, & detail templates for each category. I sorted and then cut and pasted data into new data files. A bit of work but I couldn't get the data to sort out to my liking any other way.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  3. #3
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    First, my disclaimer. I am looking at an art.com datafeed from last year, so no guarantee that what I am seeing matcheds the current feed.

    In my feed I think they have the fields prodPrimCat and prodSecCat reversed. If I sort the feed by prodPrimCat followed by prodSecCat it doesn't make sense (and looks a bit like what you described in your post).

    If, however, I sort the feed by prodSecCat followed by prodPrimCat, the fields line up the way tha I normally use them in making a four-tiered website:

    Animals Antelope & Gazelle
    Animals Badgers & Martens
    Animals Bears
    Animals Bears
    Animals Bighorn Sheep
    Animals Birds
    Etc.

    Does that help?

  4. #4
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    I think my datafeed is different.

    another question i keep getting multiple instances of the same dang link on the index page. 20 animals, 20 whatever, etc , and how in the world do you get more than one poster on each page instead of one per each page.

  5. #5
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    If you are getting multiple identical links on an index page, this means that your datafeed is not sorted correctly.

    The WM index function creates a link each time it encounters a change in the field that is indexed. So, if your animal products are scattered throughout the feed in 20 different groups, it will create 20 links.

    This is the problem I encountered when I sorted the feed using prodPrimCat. However, sorting using prodSecCat, solved that problem (for me with my old feed, that is!).

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    The art.com feed is totally different than last year The feed is pretty massive, and very (categorically) deep (80,000 records?). I guess I'm saying it's not for the faint-of-heart.

    Short story for me, was that I ended up spending a ton of time hand-massaging the thing with access prior to running with WM.

    Without looking in my files, I think I ended up with three settings files, and four templates.

    Fred

  7. #7
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    Tim F,

    The Art.com datafeed is especially set up for relational databases such as MySQL. You really are better off going this route. Many web host will offer Mysql and PHP at no additional charge so you can do this.

    I've created many site's this way with datafeeds, which have search engine friendly URLs, but without having to upload thousands of separate static HTML pages (what a mess trying to delete or update).

    The book that help me understand how to apply this was: PHP and MySQL Web Development, by Luke Welling (AMAZON).

    Hope this helps you thinking of an "easier" more efficient way. In the long run, you'll be happy to have learned this. It really is not as hard as some want you to think.

    Akogo

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Akogo:
    The Art.com datafeed is especially set up for relational databases such as MySQL. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sounds like a lot of work just to help folks get going with a product list.

    Anyone have a sample feed (please, &lt;2MB) and contact info for their affiliate manager? I'd be happy to see what I could do to help them help their affiliates.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  9. #9
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Sounds like a lot of work just to help folks get going with a product list. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sorry, I have to disagree. I'm not even a "programmer" but I was able to do it. Read the suggested book, it's the cleariest and concise explanation I've seen so far. It might intimidate some, but that's a mental barrier to overcome. Why the rush? Perhaps my message is meant for the folks who like to do it themselves and be self-sufficient. Good luck to those who try either route.

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Akogo:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Sounds like a lot of work just to help folks get going with a product list. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sorry, I have to disagree. I'm not even a "programmer" but I was able to do it. Read the suggested book, it's the cleariest and concise explanation I've seen so far. It might intimidate some, but that's a mental barrier to overcome. Why the rush? Perhaps my message is meant for the folks who like to do it themselves and be self-sufficient. Good luck to those who try either route. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Self-sufficiency means many different things, and ultimately no one is an island. Almost no one writes their own operating systems anymore, for example, or web server software (although I wrote one recently, it was for a very specialized use). At some level everyone is dependent on someone else, and it's merely a qustion of picking what you get the most fun from doing and who you want to rely on for everything else.

    One of the best programmers I've ever met once reminded me that from designing microchip instructions sets all the way up to point-and-click authoring, there's room for excellence to shine at all levels.

    The beauty of modern tools like WebMerge and Dreamwever is that they allow nearly everyone to participate, regardless of how they enjoy spending their time. While WebMerge is used as part of larger complex systems at places like BFI Music Publishing, the American Bar Association, and the US Library of Congress, it also lets busy small-business owners do what they need and get back to the things they like most, like marketing. Just as an ever-decreasing percentage of pages are coded by hand, modern tools can help with most other aspects of the web process as well, and people can choose the mix of tools they like according to their personal preferences, what they get the most kick out of doing.

    Success with affiliate marketing is rarely dependent on technical expertise. HTML is the easy part. Far more important, and more challenging, is marketing savvy, an eye for providing a great shopping experience for the customer, and the ability and willingness to deliver uniquely valuable content which can not only boost your page rank but keep those customers coming back time and again.

    If someone also likes delving into technical issues there's no end to the things they can enjoy learning, and as a technical person who is both a teacher and a student I get my kicks out of both ends of that process.

    But not everyone enjoys the more technical sides of things, and I see no harm in that. I meet a great many busy managers who enjoy WebMerge, Dreamweaver, and other production tools because they let them get the basic work done easily and get back to the things they have more fun doing, like marketing.


    When I wrote that XML was "a lot of work", I was referring to its inherent efficiency relative to simpler delimited formats. In the case in question we're also looking at an even greater level of complexity due to the feed's reported relational structure, but without seeing the feed it's hard to comment on just how much additional complexity that adds. So here I'll explore just straight XML in its simplest forms, and show why it's usually not the optimal choice for delivering something as simple as a product list.

    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">&lt;sentence&gt;I hope &lt;subject&gt;these tags&lt;/subject&gt;
    show up&lt;punctuation&gt;,&lt;/punctuation&gt; as this sentence
    &lt;verb&gt;illustrates&lt;/verb&gt; the
    &lt;mainpoint&gt;inherent complexity&lt;/mainpoint&gt; of &lt;topic&gt;XML&lt;/topic&gt;
    &lt;punctuation&gt;.&lt;/punctuation&gt;&lt;/sentence&gt;

    Compare and contrast | with the simplicty |
    of a pipe-delimited | format|.|
    </pre>

    It's not that XML is hard for people to read; XML is designed for machine-to-machine transfer so human readability doesn't matter. What's at stake with the current trend toward overuse of XML is simple bloat and wasted clock cycles: it's a bigger and more complex format and it takes more work to download and parse it. Often small in impact, these factors can add up throughout a process. But more importantly they don't need to be there at all as long as more efficient alternatives exist.

    This article from Software Development magazine sums it up well, but the short form for affiliates is simply that a product list is especially well suited to a simple flat tabular format, making it easy for both people and machines to work with.

    Moreover, there should be no reason why an affiliate program manager can't provide both, increasing the audience at almost no extra cost: all databases export in tabular delimited formats.

    So I agree with you, working with XML isn't hard. That's why I've been working on XML support for WebMerge. But in the meantime it benefits the vendor more than anyone else to make the feed available in as many formats as is practical for them -- and a delimited format is not only the most common and easiest to work with, but also the easiest for the vendor to generate and distribute.

    I've worked in IT so I know how easy it is to get tunnel vision with things like formats. So very far removed from how the end-user will apply them, it can be helpful to get feedback from the community they serve on actual usage patterns and methods in order to provide the most cost-effective service.

    If I can act as an ambassador for their affiliates in helping to encourage greater profitability for both the IT staff's affiliates and their employer, I'm happy to do so. I speak both geek-speak and human English, so I can sometimes help translate between IT and end users.


    Have a great holiday, and I hope you, your customers, and your vendors all enjoy a very prosperous new year.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  11. #11
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    I have found the best way to make an organized
    index page is to use excell to sort the database using the "unique records only" in addition the the index-label. Play around with running several runs with web werge and i think you'll find the answer. i have made several sites using multiple runs of WM for shop by price, shop by designer, shop by item each run being sorted in excell.
    Henry

  12. #12
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>In the case in question we're also looking at an even greater level of complexity due to the feed's reported relational structure, but without seeing the feed it's hard to comment on just how much additional complexity that adds. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The Art.com datafeed is not complex for a Mysql database. Sounds like people are changing or "forcing" the datafeed to work with WM.
    That's probably why some people have a hard time with it. You are doing something unnatural to the structure of the datafeed.

    Mysql is basic on web hosting plans and has an official site and many online forums for answering your questions

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>But in the meantime it benefits the vendor more than anyone else to make the feed available in as many formats as is practical for them -- and a delimited format is not only the most common and easiest to work with, but also the easiest for the vendor to generate and distribute.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Art.com provides formats in Excel, Text and XML. Sign up with Art.com -- it's free. Then you can see for yourself what datafeed formats Art.com offers to affiliates.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    "You are doing something unnatural to the structure of the datafeed."

    Not neccesarily, please don't make that assumption. It sounds like you don't really understand the situation. One of the things that many feel is important in our business, is putting value into one's websites. Modifying the feed is one way to do that.

    Unfortunately, those who simply publish the datafeed without modification are just adding another redundant list of products to the Internet, and spamming the search engines.

    Fred

  14. #14
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Akogo:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>In the case in question we're also looking at an even greater level of complexity due to the feed's reported relational structure, but without seeing the feed it's hard to comment on just how much additional complexity that adds. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The Art.com datafeed is not complex for a Mysql database. Sounds like people are changing or "forcing" the datafeed to work with WM.
    That's probably why some people have a hard time with it. You are doing something unnatural to the structure of the datafeed. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The complexity I was referring to was the relationality. Sure, MySQL is an excellent relational database. But that's not what I'm talking about. The more relevant question is:

    Are affiliates better served by fourth-normal form?

    Most affiliates are small-business owners, whose interest in technology varies broadly.

    WebMerge is not designed to replace MySQL. Heavens no: MySQL is an excellent RDBMS. When you need one.

    Some folks simply don't enjoy RDBMS administration, learning about relational database design, or any of that sort of thing. No matter how much folks like you and I might enjoy these things, I see no harm in other people having different interests. And since the goal of affiliates is to make a web site, fortunately there are a great many modern tools to help with all phases of that task.

    And as you noted, Art.com provides simpler delimited product lists as well, which can be used natively by WebMerge and all other database publishing options as well:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    Art.com provides formats in Excel, Text and XML. Sign up with Art.com -- it's free. Then you can see for yourself what datafeed formats Art.com offers to affiliates. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by buy_online:
    _"You are doing something unnatural to the structure of the datafeed."_

    Not neccesarily, please don't make that assumption. It sounds like you don't really understand the situation. One of the things that many feel is important in our business, is putting value into one's websites. Modifying the feed is one way to do that.

    Unfortunately, those who simply publish the datafeed without modification are just adding another redundant list of products to the Internet, and spamming the search engines. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's worth quoting it only to see it repeated.

    Guerilla Marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson has a great column in Revenue magazine, and he manages to weave that message into every issue.

    SE-fodder sites might make some money, but usually for a limited time. Sooner or later they'll annoy either customers, Google, or the feed provider, and some combination of those will eventually take action, making such sites potentailly short-lived.

    But an earnest effort at providing a focused, helpful shopping experience will not only stay around, but if you add value with unique content you'll boost your page rank and customers, Google, and your feed provider will love you.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Not neccesarily, please don't make that assumption. It sounds like you don't really understand the situation. One of the things that many feel is important in our business, is putting value into one's websites. Modifying the feed is one way to do that.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The post is saying the you can modified the results or presentation of the data on a web page without modifying the feed itself using the Mysql commands.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    Unfortunately, those who simply publish the datafeed without modification are just adding another redundant list of products to the Internet, and spamming the search engines. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't know how my suggestion of keeping the datafeed as is, and letting mysql modify or "sort out" the presentation of the data lead to every affiliate datafeed website being exactly the same as the original merchant providing the feed? You can achieve uniqueness or value to your visitors without manually modifying the feed itself. Let mysql or php do the work for you. It's much more efficient.

  17. #17
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Akogo:
    I don't know how my suggestion of keeping the datafeed as is, and letting mysql modify or "sort out" the presentation of the data lead to every affiliate datafeed website being exactly the same as the original merchant providing the feed? You can achieve uniqueness or value to your visitors without manually modifying the feed itself. Let mysql or php do the work for you. It's much more efficient. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If you're into database administration.

    Affiliates come in all shapes and sizes, and some enjoy techie things and some don't. Fortunately, as you've noted, Art.com provides feeds compatible with both MySQL and WebMerge and many other tools besides, so folks can choose any mix of publishing solutions they most enjoy working with.

    But your tenacity here has me curious: It seems clear that you enjoy MySQL and have no interest in WebMerge. What can we do for you here in this WebMerge forum?

    I'm happy to be of assistance in any way I can, but since this is a WebMerge forum and you prefer using something else I'm unclear on how we can best support you.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  18. #18
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> But your tenacity here has me curious: It seems clear that you enjoy MySQL and have no interest in WebMerge. What can we do for you here in this WebMerge forum?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't need help with WM. I was responding to Tim F with alternatives on "Art.com" datafeed manipulation and somehow it got to this point. Yes I know this is a WM forum. But it is good you allow other views.

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