Volusion's API is a powerful tool that enables you to easily integrate your store with third-party web services and applications.

The Generic Products Export feature gives you greater flexibility and security in accessing XML data and implementing it with third-party services and applications - particularly social networking and Web 2.0 services.

Contents

Getting Started

This article will explain the features, benefits, and limitations of the Generic Product Export using the Volusion API as well as provide examples of what can be done with these exports.

Accessing the Generic Products Export

You can access the generic product export functions through the main Volusion API access page. In your Admin Area, go Inventory > Volusion API.

Enabling generic exports is easy. Select Enable Public XML for Featured Products and Enable Public XML for All Products, then click Save next to each export option.

Generating the Export

Featured Product Export

A Featured Products Export will produce a list of the products in your store that have been assigned to the Featured Products category.

The information provided in this export includes basic product information for each product. The product settings accessible through the Featured Product Export are:

ProductName: ProductCode
ProductPrice: PhotoURL
ImageURL:

You can access the exported XML with the URL the system generates, formatted as follows:

http://www.yourvolusionstore.com/net/webservice.aspx?api_name=generic\featured_products

Note that www.yourvolusionstore.com refers to the actual domain name of your store.

Products in your store marked as Hidden or Private Section will not be exported.

All Products Export

The All Products Export, when enabled, will generate a full XML-based layout of your store's products.

This export is more robust than the Featured Products export and includes the categories, option categories, and product options associated with each product in the export.

The fields provided using this export are as follows:

ProductCode: ProductDescription
StockStatus: ProductDescriptionShort
ProductName: ProductNameShort
FreeShippingItem: ProductWeight
RecurringStartPrice: ProductManufacturer
RecurringStartDuration: ProductFeatures
RecurringPrice: TechSpecs
RecurringHowOften: ExtInfo
RecurringDuration: CategoryID
ProductPrice: CategoryName
ListPrice: AlternateURL
SalePrice: CategoryDescriptionSHORT
TaxableProduct: CategoryDescription
Availability: CategoryDescription_BelowProducts
Accessories: OptionCategoryID
SetupCost: HeadingGroup
OptionCategoriesDesc: PriceDiff
IsRequired: RecurringPriceDiff
DisplayType: SetupCostDiff
OptionID: OptionsDesc_SideNote
OptionDesc:

You can access the exported XML with the URL the system generates, formatted as follows:

http://www.yourvolusionstore.com/net/webservice.aspx?api_name=generic\all_products

Note that www.yourvolusionstore.com refers to the actual domain name of your store.

Products in your store marked as Hidden or Private Section will not be exported.

Summary

The Generic Exports feature is very easy to access and enable. Using the URL that the system generates, third-party applications and services can access your store's product information via XML in a secure manner without having to gain direct, administrative access to the store itself.

Other Features and Notices

Note that the Generic Export features - as well any portion of the Volusion API - is provided as-is for integrating applications or services with Volusion. Access to the API is available on Pro, Premium, Gold, and Platinum monthly hosting plans. Please see the Volusion API Developer documentation for further information on features of the Volusion API.

The Generic Export Features of the API are basic functions that are auto-generated by the Volusion system. Once generated, the XML code is updated automatically on a regular basis at 12:00 AM US Central Standard Time. If you need to manually override the auto-update, there is a Reset button next to each generic export option that will manually update the XML export.

We recommend using this option only if major updates to the product database have been made and it is imperative that these changes be updated to any instances of the generic exports currently in use.

One of the things the Featured Products Export outputs is a URL referencing the product image. However, the product image that is referenced will change depending on how each individual product is configured:

  • By default, the product photo URL relating to the productcode-2T image will be provided in the Featured Products Export.
  • However, if the product is configured with the option to use the same product image as another product (often a parent-child product relationship), that product's 2T image will be referenced.
  • If the product is configured to use the large product photo instead of 2T, the large photo will be referenced in the URL.
  • If the product's small photo is configured to be used as a product's primary photo, the small photo will then be referenced in the URL.
  • If a photo that is referenced within the product photo URL for any product in this export, the image referenced for the product will be the default, "No Image" photo.

Note

Generic exports through the API are auto-updated by default at 12:00 AM CST but can be manually updated as well.

Tips and Special Settings

A Word on Manually Updating Generic Exports

Any export created through the API uses bandwidth to and from your store. Generally, creating or updating these exports has only a minor impact, but if you maintain a large number of products (tens or hundreds of thousands), you may experience performance issues if you frequently use the manual Reset option.

For this reason, we recommend only using the manual Reset when absolutely necessary.

Examples of Using the Generic Exports

Generic Product Exports can be used in multiple ways. One way to use this feature of the Volusion API is to provide an easy and secure way to publish and update a store's product information on social networking sites such as MySpace. This can be used for marketing and promotion purposes to drive traffic to a user's site. For example:

  • Developers can gain access to product information using the XML URL.
  • Developers working with MySpace can then build web scripts that can draw information from the Featured Products Export to create links directly to products within a Volusion store.
  • Developers can also use this method to display product names, photos and other information directly on a user's MySpace page.
  • Using the export's XML data, developers can create not only links to products hosted within a Volusion store but also immediately direct visitors from MySpace to the user's Volusion shopping cart in order to purchase products.

Summary

The Generic Product Export feature within Volusion provides a multi-faceted tool for web developers to share information from Volusion stores with a wide variety of services and websites. The potential of having easy, convenient and secure access to product XML data also has a great potential for marketing and presenting products and e-commerce options to Volusion users in conjunction with Web 2.0 and social networking services.

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