The Importance of Absolute Consistency: Storing Data & Naming Files

We’re human – and humans, by nature, are rather… inconsistent.  When we’re inputting large amounts of data, it’s easy to let naming conventions and standards slide a bit.  I’d say it’s a lot harder to keep it consistent 100% then it is not to.  Unfortunately, computers are still very young; infants, maybe still babies.  Computers can’t reason, deduce, or conclude.  They only listen to our commands (and very well!).

Because of this, it’s important to keep a standardized way of storing your data, and naming your files.  The example I’ll use to show this is with multiple image files.

So let’s say you have a product with SKU “JN6457”.  This SKU has 4 images.  Based upon a pre-agreed upon standard.  Your image files look like this.

JN6457-1.jpg
JN6457-2.jpg
JN6457-3.jpg
JN6457-4.jpg

We upload these fine, your product page is showing all four images (with JN6457-1.jpg being the main, or primary, image) and all is hunky dorey in eCommerce land.

Now let’s say you found an error in JN6457-3.jpg.  It could be bad quality, bad shadowing, even just the wrong product altogether!  No problem!  These things happen, and we have systems in place that can replace these images no problem.

So you take your new image, and upload it to our FTP servers

JN6457_3.jpg

This is a problem.  This isn’t treated as a replacement to JN6457-3.jpg, it’s treated as a brand new image.  So not only will your old JN6457-3.jpg image still be there, your updated image will be added as a new image, and not in the 3rd position anymore either!

Even the littlest nudge off of your standardization can cause unwanted effects, even the difference between a dash ‘-‘ and an underscore ‘_’.

If you’re ever uncertain about how data should look, or how you should proceed with standards relating to your product information in any way.  Just shoot your fellow integration developer a brand new task in your Pivotal Tracker!  We’re not only here to get your data looking pretty on your new Magento website, we’re here to make it as painless for everyone as possible!  Data integration is always a team effort.