What is SiteLink?
SiteLink has three main modes including Data File Exchange, Offline Product Catalogue Editor and Product Catalogue Synchronisation.
1. Data File Exchange
In this mode SiteLink™ is designed to act as a gateway between a supplier’s back-end system and the @UK order processing system. Typically this option is chosen when an organisation is able to process orders received on it’s behalf via the @UK web site in one of the supported file formats, but is unable to interface directly with the @UK systems. An example file format is the BASDA XML standard.
SiteLink™ works by uploading/downloading the data files into designated directories which may be located or network drive. It is therefore necessary that the back-end application is able to read and write XML files from/to disk.
SiteLink™ can be configured to operate in two manners:
- As a client application running on a Windows desktop system. In this instance the application is dependent upon a nominated user being logged onto the local system.
- As a Windows service installed on a Windows server system. This provides a more robust system as there is no dependency upon a given user being logged onto the system
SiteLink™ provides feedback via a disk based log file, and optionally via email to a designated email account. Where local network policy permits the transmission of emails via SMTP to external addresses the log files will be copied to @UK support staff. When operating as a Windows service information may be written to the Windows Event Log, giving access to local support staff from anywhere within the client network.
2. Offline Product Catalogue Editor
In this mode SiteLink™ operates as a local product catalogue editor for the supplier’s web site. The product catalogue may either be built from scratch and then uploaded to the @UK web site, or downloaded from the @UK systems for offline editing.
Typically this operational mode will be used by suppliers without a supported back-end system where the product catalogue is too large to comfortably manage via the @UK Site Editor facility or utilises a complex menu structure. The application gives the end user the benefit of using the familiar Windows environment including the explorer metaphor and drag and drop for exploring both data and menu categories. The following facilities are provided:
- Creation and editing of product information, including assignment of images to individual products
- Creation and editing of menu categories, including movement of sub-menus using drag and drop.
- Assignment of products to menu categories using drag and drop
- Download of orders received
Input and upload of dispatch details for online viewing by customers
3. Product Catalogue Synchronisation
In this mode SiteLink™ functions as an interface between a supplier’s back-end product catalogue and the @UK web site. Updates are triggered manually upon demand by the end user.
SiteLink™ supports the following back-end systems directly:
- Actinic Web Site Designer
- Sage Line 50
- VipaMedia Portfolio
- VipaMedia MMC Premier
Bespoke interface have been created for the following back-end systems:
- Sage Line 500
- Access Dimensions accounting
In addition SiteLink™ supports any back-end system that supports direct data access using any of the following technologies :
- TAS Books accounting (via CSV export)
- Comma separated text (CSV) via ODBC or OLEDB
- Fixed width text via ODBC or OLEDB
- Excel via ODBC or OLEDB
- SQL Server (OLEDB or native)
- Any SQL database that may be accessed via an ODBC, OLEDB or ADO.NET interface.
Interfaces with the following back-end systems are scheduled for later this year:
- Sage MMS
Detailed information on the implementation of these modules can be found in the following associated documents:
- SiteLink Implementation Guide - Product Catalogue Update
- SiteLink Implementation Guide - Product Catalogue Update (Generic SQL Plug-In)