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  1. #1
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    XLS to XML conversion program?
    Hi Guys/Gals,

    Need some help converting a XLS file into a XML. My knowledge on XML is limited to the tags but I have no idea how to convert XLS to XML. Did a google search but everybody is trying to sell a program for $100-300.

    Any free tools which is fairly easy to use and free.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    anybody?

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Eric,

    I think you're going about your datafeeds the wrong way. All this manual manipulation can be very prone to errors, inaccurate data, or incorrect data. I suggest very strongly that you have someone automate your datafeeds. It's far less work in the long term, plus it'll be more up to date and won't have the errors that we humans tend to make.

    But if you still insist on having an XML document, just choose "File > Save As" and select "XML Spreadsheet". It'll be a really ugly, bloated XML file (like almost anything Microsoft generates), but it'll be XML.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  4. #4
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    Hi Micheal,

    The XML that is created via Excel literally (bad), not to mention bloated, etc.
    I did that and I am too ashame to pass it on to somebody.

    I have a XLS file and I hope to make a XML locally or via automation, then upload it to the server. I think it should be fairly easy once I have a system going on. The fields, etc will not change once I design it. Not able to find a XLS to XML converter (MS excel does not cut it).

    Trust me, if I can get IT to get it done, I would have. Seeing that out IT supports lots of dept, there are lots of hoops to jump through. That being said, that does not mean that I will sit back and not improve/give my aff tools, so I am trying to learn how to automate this myself and do a manual upload.

    Thanks for your input Michael.

    still looking for a XLS to XML converter (free that is)

  5. #5
    Full Member iolaire's Avatar
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    Still Looking?
    RE: XLS to XML conversion program?

    Sorry I can not send PM's yet as my account is to new.

    Are you still looking for this? I probably could provide you with an Visual Basic Example that would write out a text file from Excel in xml format. If so please PM me.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Are you sure you want XML, rather than the more efficient, simpler, and universally supported tab-delimited?
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  7. #7
    Full Member jollygoodpirate's Avatar
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    I'd take Tab or Pipe anyday
    I second Richard. Not only tab/pipe delimited are easier to handle, they are smaller in size. When you are downloding many feeds this is important. It is also important for people with slow internet connections.

  8. #8
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    We have tab delimited format but some affiliates are asking us for a XML.
    I found a software but I have yet to sit down and learn it

  9. #9
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    Eric if you are having this much trouble trying to generate XML feed, will affiliates not well versed in XML have issues trying to interpret same XML feed?

    There's one affiliate program out there of interest to me which has an XML feed, and I haven't managed to include it yet, because I prefer flat file feeds.

    Consider using the ABW survey tool to determine XML vs. CSV (flat file) preferences.

  10. #10
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
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    Wink
    hmmm, if you want a quick way to try this out then... and I'm not proud of this or saying this is really spiffy or hi-tech but, a simple method would be between excel, word and mailmerge.

    create a word document with the XML tags in place
    put the mail merge data tags in the right places
    nominate the excel sheet as the data srouce
    and merge all the records.

    To get away from the word format, copy and paste all the text in to somehting like notepad.
    Lastly add the XML headers and footers and save as an XML file.

    Since this is done mainly in Excel and Word then a visual basic version should work as iolaire was offering above wihout all the microsoft bloat.

    EDIT to add
    Almost forgot, here's a freebie (cardware) that will do what you want,
    http://home.hccnet.nl/s.j.francke/software/software.htm
    CSVed
    Takes a CSV and can do many things, including exporting to XML
    You might need to change comlun headers etc, but this works ok.

  11. #11
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by iolaire
    RE: XLS to XML conversion program?

    Sorry I can not send PM's yet as my account is to new.

    Are you still looking for this? I probably could provide you with an Visual Basic Example that would write out a text file from Excel in xml format. If so please PM me.
    Hi iolaire, just wanted to mention that you won't be able to get or send PM's for a while until you participate more. Just wanted to make sure you knew.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe
    We have tab delimited format but some affiliates are asking us for a XML.
    One thing I've learned from decades of software design is that what people ask for isn't always what they need.

    Before you spend too much of your time crafting a solution that may be counter-productive for them, it may be helpful to first ask them what specifically they want to do with XML.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    One thing I've learned from decades of software design is that what people ask for isn't always what they need.
    SO TRUE!
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  14. #14
    Full Member iolaire's Avatar
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    Eric, if you do want to go the xml route, let me know and I'll whip up a short sample script that you can build on. (You would need to take my free example and customize it to your needs - so a little coding will be needed.) What I was thinking is to just write data out row by row to a text file, using the column headers as the xml tags.

  15. #15
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    One thing I've learned from decades of software design is that what people ask for isn't always what they need.

    Before you spend too much of your time crafting a solution that may be counter-productive for them, it may be helpful to first ask them what specifically they want to do with XML.
    Just reminded me, there's another tool I have at my disposal that would also do this - FourthWorld's webmerge
    Create an XML template and use webmerge to inject the data.

    Other options, store the feed in MySql or a flat CSV file and get a PHP/ASP script to output the data to XML. It can't be to hard to find a script to do this either free or cheaply.

    But certainly do ask why they need xml. A flat XML file isn't really that different from a flat CSV.

    One reason I like XML over CSV is it's stricter and usually (not always) makes the feed better quality. There's nothing like tabs, commas and pipes in a product description or missing fields to through a CSV file out of synch.
    Just opening the XML in IE will tell you if the feed has errors, not so easy with a CSV where you probably wont spot errors until later on.

    Also if they are using the XML as a flat file then the processing speed would be slightly quicker than a CSV.
    If they want the XML just to put it in to their own mysql table then there's really not much difference between XML and CSV in that case.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by markschok
    One reason I like XML over CSV is it's stricter and usually (not always) makes the feed better quality. There's nothing like tabs, commas and pipes in a product description or missing fields to through a CSV file out of synch.
    All formats have delimiter risks, and methods to account for those risks. With CSV it's in-field returns and commas, with XML it's in-field angle brackets. Both formats include escapes to allow characters normally used as delimiters to also appear in data.

    Quote Originally Posted by markschok
    Just opening the XML in IE will tell you if the feed has errors, not so easy with a CSV where you probably wont spot errors until later on.
    Most errors in data feeds are in content, not in the delimiting scheme, so neither convention will help there.

    Quote Originally Posted by markschok
    Also if they are using the XML as a flat file then the processing speed would be slightly quicker than a CSV..
    XML is inherently bloated by comparison with CSV: While CSV uses a single character to delimit fields and records, XML uses multi-character tags. Over the full data set this can add significantly to the file size, and will impair performance accordingly.

    If you find a software that benchmarks faster parsing XML over CSV, either the CSV isn't well formatted or the program isn't well optimized.

    Quote Originally Posted by markschok
    If they want the XML just to put it in to their own mysql table then there's really not much difference between XML and CSV in that case.
    Very true. If all they want is to move the data from one system to another, there should be no need to go to the extra trouble of also converting it to XML.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

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