Postbeeld is a shop that sells post-stamps over the whole world, via their webshop and physical store in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The administration of all their products (over [url removed, login to view] stamps and philatelic supplies!) is being done using a custom-developed piece of software.
Because this current webshop doesn't fits the company's needs anymore, Postbeeld wants a new, better looking and functional webshop. As of it's promising future and active development, Hachmang & Otten choose Magento. Postbeeld doesn't want to change the current workflow - or as less as possible - and thereby wants to keep using exports of their excisting administration-software to keep this new webshop up to date. With some additional functionality, we think Magento's Import/Export functionality can be used to cover this operation.
**Extending the current Import/Export functionality**
The current Import/Export functionality (In the Admin-Panel, go to: System -> Import/Export -> Profiles) is mainly usable for editing products and product information already in your webshop. It is possible to add new products to your webshop using this method, but since our situation is a little different from a default setup, we requires some specific changes in it's working. Not only do we need these additional functionality to process the client's database-exports, we also think this could have some value for the magento community, meaning that the software has to be well encapsulated (not break when upgrading Magento), maintainable and extensible.
Extending Magento's Import/Export functionality to fit our needs consists out of three major elements: associating grouped_products with simple products, automatically creating and editing categories based on the information in the imported file and efficiently uploading and handling multiple images.
New Data Format Type: Postbeeld Stamps (import)**
The custom-developed piece of software Postbeeld is currently using for their administration, can export .DBF database files. The structure of these .DBF files is quite different from Magento's database structure and a new data format type should be created to analyse and convert all information into readable Magento-input. To understand how this attribute-conversion should be working, we have to understand the structure of the .DBF files.
The full documentation of the project can be found here: [url removed, login to view]