DEF First Impressions

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A nice craft beer

DEF (Data Exchange Framework) is a module for Sitecore 8.1+ and is meant for retrieving and transforming data from one endpoint to another.  Those endpoints can be anything, in fact.  I started playing around with DEF and this is what I have found so far.

  • Robust system for moving around data from one location to another
  • Complicated at first, to set up
  • In detail tutorial that is easy to follow

Structure in Sitecore

  • [Tenant Name]
    • Found at sitecore/System/Data Exchange/[Tenant Name]
    • Data Access
      • Value Accessor Sets
        • For defining the fields on the source and destination
        • Will be referenced by a Pipeline field by field but mapped through the Value Mapping Set
    • Endpoints
      • Providers
        • Used to define the source/destination of the data
        • Uses an endpoint converter
    • Pipeline Batches
      • A reference to the pipeline(s) to run
      • When selecting a pipeline batch, you can execute “run pipeline batch” from the ribbon
    • Pipelines
      • Actions to perform on the data, from reading data in to transforming to updating
      • Order matters when it comes to the sub items (steps) under the pipelines
      • Pipelines can reference others
    • Queues
    • Tenant Settings
    • Value Mapping Sets
      • Mapping a value accessor set property to another
      • This can be referenced in a pipeline step


Sitecore Templates

After installing DEF, you will have a number of templates installed.  They can be found at sitecore/Templates/Data Exchange .  From what I have encountered, any custom templates will be put in their own folder structure under sitecore/Templates/Data Exchange/Providers/[Name Here].  In the tutorial it is named “File System”.  There are a number of prebuilt templates that can be extended to fit your needs.


In following the tutorial, there are a number of places where a TemplateID needs to be referenced in another template or standard values.


Data Exchange Framework tutorial

What is next?

I am going to be putting together a POC over the course of the next few blog posts on a business need I encountered.

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