What Is XML and How Does It Work with ACES?

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What Is XML and How Does It Work with ACES?

Have you ever wondered how XML format works with ACES? XML is a markup language that we use to store and transfer data. It’s used in many industries including the automotive aftermarket industry, for example. XML can be seen as an interface between different programs and applications when they are exchanging information.

XML is not only used for the automotive industry, as it can also work with other sectors such as education, healthcare, and many others. XML does not use any predefined schema, so it’s very flexible, making it easier to adapt XML format into new applications.

The Automotive Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) contains coded values used to transmit product and vehicle data between partners in the supply chain. XML delivery files are used to share this information and the ACES Standard will translate coded values into readable text.

ACES uses XML for a couple of purposes. One is to transfer data between partners in an XML format that other systems and applications can read. XML has become another standardized language because it’s so adaptable. Many companies have adopted XML as their standard interface from different types of programs or applications when they want to exchange data.”

This article will explore what XML is, how it interacts with ACES, and provide examples of XML files that come in this XML/ACES combination.

What is XML?

Extensible Markup Language, or simply known as XML, is a markup language used to define the structure of data. XML files are formatted as a series of tags, or elements, which contain information about what they represent. XML works with ACES by providing an XML delivery file and coding values for each vehicle brand to transmit product and vehicle information between partners in the supply chain.

XML Structure

XML consists of three types of items: “elements,” “attributes” (or properties), and “values.” Each item has its own set of rules defining how it should be written out; these vary depending upon whether we are talking about an element’s start tag, end tag, attribute value, or text content value.

The “elements,” as part of XML are the start and end tags, which contain information about what they represent. XML works with ACES by providing an XML delivery file and coding values for each vehicle brand to transmit product and vehicle information between partners in the supply chain.

An attribute is a property of an element that is set when defining it. These are also written as text content inside of XML but placed outside the opening or closing tags. Attributes allow elements to have more than one value at once; for example, you can give your computer both a color (red) and size (XL). The two different attributes would be “color”=”Red”and “size”=”Xl”.

A value must always come after a start tag and will need to be between the opening and closing tags. XML does not have Boolean values, but there are two ways in which you may handle a true or false value:

A) You can use an attribute with “type”=”true/false”. This is done by adding the word “true” or “false” to either the start tag (within quotes) for that XML element, followed by another quote-less sentence of text within its own opening and closing XML tags;

B) You can also add attributes as pairs separated by colons, where one pair would be “yes”=“Yes” and another would be “no”=-No.

What are ACES?

The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) is an aftermarket automotive standard used to create XML-based data files to exchange the vehicle, product, and supplier information.

ACES is an XML-based standard developed by a consortium of aftermarket supply chain partners: CARiD (a partner who supplies replacement parts), AutoZone (retailer), and Edmunds.com (research company). This standard, alongside the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES), is XML-based standards developed for the automotive aftermarket industry and administered by the Auto Care Association (ACA).

The goal was to provide a universal format that all participants in the automotive aftermarket could use to share inventory data seamlessly across multiple channels such as over the phone, email, or EDI.

ACES uses XML delivery files of four different types; vehicles, products/accessories, suppliers, and specs/options. This means that each ACES file will come in an XML format containing information about the product and vehicle brand. XML is a markup language that can store different data types and contain formatting instructions. XML provides an open standard for encoding documents, like XML files used with ACES, so they are readable by humans or machines.

ACES XML files provide a standard format to share information across manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers in the supply chain. The XML data file contains information about one vehicle brand (i.e., General Motors) transmitted using coded values that are translated by ACES into readable text when received.

The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard is also used in the automotive aftermarket industry, and XML files created for the ACES standard will translate coded values into readable text.

How ACES and XML Work Together?

When it comes to both ACES and XML, it’s essential to understand that XML is a markup language. XML tags are used to describe the content of an XML document and its structure. ACES files contain both XML data structures that have been translated into text and XML data structures in their original form.

  • ACES: The Automotive Catalog Exchange Standard (across all industries) was created by The Open Group Standards who began working on this project back in 2007 to create a neutral and global standard for exchanging vehicle information electronically between supply chain partners over automotive aftermarket manufacturers, dealerships, leasing companies, and insurance providers; which will allow them to accurately communicate about specific vehicles available for sale or lease within one platform.
  • XML: While not used only in the automotive aftermarket industry, the XML format is often used to describe data in XML documents. XML is not a programming language, but rather an open standard that defines rules for encoding documents and data so that they can be stored or transmitted interchangeably between different types of systems without loss of meaning.

That said, this XML/ACES combination is an excellent example of XML being used to exchange information between different systems in the automotive aftermarket industry. XML is an integral part of ACES because it provides a standard way for systems like manufacturers, dealerships, leasing companies, and insurance providers to accurately communicate about specific vehicles available for sale or lease within one platform.

How Evokat Premier Can Help

Evokat Premier is a cloud-based digital platform driven by the latest versions of the ACES database, the Vehicle Configuration database (VCdb). This means that all the information found on this platform will be made immediately available to you. The platform’s vehicle mapping interface can be used to search, identify and locate the appropriate metadata associated with any vehicle.

The mapping process is 100% customizable. This means that you can either go with a year/make/model definition or add more detailed information such as engines, fuel types, body styles, and more. Evokat Premier is capable of making associations between the different parts of your catalog and across multiple catalogs at once. As such, you will be able to incorporate any external sources into your catalog mapping strategy, especially if you get data from suppliers or manufacturers.

Evokat Premier is also essential for performing regular health checks on the company’s auto parts catalog fitment data.

Evokat will deliver an easy-to-implement solution to inaccessible data by initiating complete health checks on product data and application information. By doing so, they will quickly identify and resolve any outstanding issues.

Easy-to-use dashboards and charts will display the health of your fitment data. They’ll also have clear metrics regarding any trouble areas and provide clear paths to solving these problems. Evokat Premier offers accessible and customizable reports in their automobile catalog management.

To summarize, Evokat Premier can fix any XML encoding issues with a complete data health check. In addition, it will help with XML formatting and XML conversion, streamlining communication between you, your customers, and your supply chain partners.