Most of us spent Thanksgiving week trying to solve inscrutable food-related family puzzles. If Arielle is a vegetarian and Frank dislikes mushrooms and Kyle cannot eat apples and Trevor abhors dairy, then what can we put in the stuffing other than bread?

But not Arke Sitecore consultant Neil Killen, who industriously crafted not one but two blog posts while many of us just tried to fit 17 people around a table for 10.

We’re not surprised. Killen is a pro. He’s been developing and designing technology solutions for more than 16 years. He also has a strong background in web application development.

DEF … Worth Reading

In the first of the two posts, Killen summarized lessons he and fellow Arke Sitecore consultant Eric Stafford learned at the Sitecore Symposium in Las Vegas.

Killen and Stafford — aka Sitecore Superman — attended the Symposium’s Integration Bootcamp. It offered a deep dive into Sitecore’s data integration capabilities, which are now available through xConnect and the Data Exchange Framework.

The post, Leveraging Sitecore Data Exchange Framework to Access Your Data, stresses, among other things, that the Data Exchange Framework is abbreviate as DEF … “not DXF!”

Sitecore DEF + ETL

By any name, DEF is a framework for transferring data in and out of Sitecore.

It is also an ETL tool for Sitecore. As you probably know, ETL stands for extract, transform, and load.

  • Extract is reading data from a source system
  • Transform is converting data from its original format into a format that is compatible with a target system
  • Load is writing the transformed data to the target system
Sitecore DEF

Sitecore DEF

It also:

  • Standardizes how we do data integrations with Sitecore
  • Promotes re-usability by providing patterns and components that help you with your integration
  • Is highly configurable and extendable, allowing you to integrate with almost any third party system
  • Enables synchronization of systems and processes
  • Reduces the effort required to integrate third-party systems

Reading Customer Records

In a follow-up post, Killen details a demo he gave using DEF and the SQL Provider to read customer records from a SQL table and create items in Sitecore. Killen gives step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process.

“I encourage you to take DEF and SQL provider for a spin. I found it really helpful in understanding the concepts and patterns of the DEF,” he said.

As for that stuffing, we settled on lots of fresh herbs. Parsley. Sage. Rosemary. Thyme. Then we added roasted corn, caramelized onion, carrots, celery, vegetable stock … It was complex, intriguing, and really extraordinary.

Yeah, just like Sitecore.