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XML Inventory Import

Need to use the data from an existing database? Our 4EPOS Windows Store app can import data that is in XML format.
Both Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel export XML.
The structure of a typical XML file is just that of a standard text document with each product within item tags:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<document>
<inventory_item>
<number>1</number>
<descrip>SHOPPING BAG</descrip>
<sku1>PLASTIC BAG</sku1>
<notes></notes>
</inventory_item>
<inventory_item>
<number>2</number>
<descrip>NESCAFE 200G</descrip>
<sku1>COFFEE</sku1>
<notes></notes>
</inventory_item>
</document>

Here the item tag name is: inventory_item
The XML file can be displayed in a tree format by clicking it to display in a browser.
The 4EPOS import routine (Options, Settings, Import XML) prompts first for the XML file then displays the tags it contains on the left with the app fields available on the right.
The above XML file could then be imported simply by clicking the 'Clear fields' button to remove the suggested tags, then typing in two of the tag names from the left, inventory_item in 'Item tag name' and descrip in 'Description' on the right.
Producing the XML
Microsoft Access:
In Microsoft Access you can easily export any table in XML. The first step is to left click the Table button near the top left (under the ribbon) then right click the particular table and select Export from the list, then XML. Finally, after choosing the file name, on the what information to export box, uncheck the 'Schema of the data' box.
Microsoft Excel:
In Microsoft Excel, open the sheet then select FILE | Save as
In the 'Save as type' box select 'XML data ' and choose a file name.

Troubleshooting
  • Prices should not use a currency symbol, so 2.40 not $2.40
  • If the number field is used, each item must have a unique number (the app will auto generate the number and barcode if the field tag is not specified).
  • The description must contain characters otherwise the item will be omitted.

  • Technical note
    There are several formats of text encoding that can be used for an XML file.
    Typically the first line declares the encoding:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    The standard is utf-8 (Unicode transformation format) where each character is encoded using from one to four 'eight bit code units' that is to say bytes.
    The other common encoding is utf-16 which encodes each character using either one to two sixteen bit code units.
    Both encode all 112064 valid characters. The preference for utf-8 is as it avoids issues of byte order which can arise with different processors.