Manual for Icecat Live: Real-Time Product Data in Your App (Free Version)

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November 8, 2016
Open Icecat Live

Open Icecat Live is a free service that enables you to insert real-time product content from some 300 major brands or manufacturers in any of your apps. Just with a few lines of JavaScript in your HTML template.

In this manual, we provide a quick guide on how to easily embed product information into your website. Further, we describe the Icecat Live service and give a concise overview of the Icecat inner structure. In this post, we focus on the embedding of free Open Icecat product data, as this is the most common application of our Live interface.

If you plan to integrate Icecat Live, we advise you first to integrate Open Icecat Live and evaluate it for your purposes. And then, plan the next step by upgrading your interface to Full Icecat.

Please, note that Open Icecat Live requires a free subscription. Please, first register (free) if you don’t have an account yet to receive an Icecat user name and access to the Icecat Control Panel.

Open Icecat Live requires a free subscription. Please, first register if you don’t have an account yet.

1. About Icecat – the Open Catalog provider

Icecat – is a unique open and multi-lingual catalog with product data-sheets. Icecat product data can be integrated within online shops, ERPs, purchase systems, comparison sites, blogs and other apps. The Icecat product data is fully standardized and allows categorization, filtering, search and product comparisons. Moreover, Icecat provides content optimization, increases shop conversion and makes online shopping easier and more fun, especially when including multimedia content.

Our Global Mission: Product Content that Helps Buyers Decide, in any language, in any country, on any media

What is Icecat Live?

What is Icecat Live? Icecat Live is basically a JavaScript (JS) service, providing real-time inserts of product data in client websites. Icecat Live both enables the
seamless insert of a full product data-sheet, and the seamless insert of individual content
assets, without the need to use frames or iframes like in the Icecat URL service.

These content assets are:

  • Product Identifiers
  • Product Title
  • Category
  • Marketing Text
  • Specs incl. explanatory texts
  • Images
  • Reasons To Buy (Feature logos and/or feature texts)
  • Videos
  • Leaflets & Manuals (PDF)
  • 3D Tours/360o objects
  • Expert Reviews

Technically, the Icecat Live JS (JavaScript) interface calls product data in JSON (Java Script Object Notation) format and transforms that into html. The JS makes it very easy for channel partners to embed the product information into their websites with just a few lines of code in an HTML template or app. The JS itself can also be adapted to fit the specific purposes of the Partner’s app.

Please, note that some Open Icecat brands like Philips, make certain rich media assets (e.g., video) only available for their Authorized Resellers. Please, contact us in case you see on the icecat website more assets than that you can access through Open Icecat Live.

Vocabulary in this Manual

Term Explanation
EAN/UPC GTIN: EAN (European Article Number ), UPC (Universal Product Code) or JAN (Japan Article Number) is a specific type of barcode that is used for tracking trade items in stores
Partner or User Registered Icecat user, usually a channel partner of one or more brands.

2. Choosing the right Icecat license: Start with free Open Icecat

Open Icecat is a worldwide unique, open catalog, with product data-sheets in co-operation with major global brands and channel partners. Open Icecat data-sheets are fully approved by the sponsoring manufacturers and are distributed for free to channel partners to reduce their content costs and improve the shopping experience. Open Icecat contains the product specifications and additional information in one single standardized format, which facilitates easy categorizing, filtering, searching and comparison of products.

In return, we require the Users of free Open Icecat to inform their business partners (distributors, manufacturers, retailers) via a newsletter and/or on the website that they are using Open Icecat, and that they require their partners to join as well so that all product content will become available through the free, open catalog. The more brands join, the better and more complete Open Icecat will become.

TIP: Choose Open Icecat if you are new to Icecat or Icecat Live.

If you want to decide to make use of Icecat, it may be important to first analyze the coverage of your portfolio or the portfolio of your supplier. You can always ask us to provide you with an overview of the current coverage of (stock) portfolio of your suppliers (f.e., distributors) at any given moment. We strive to cover at least 90% of the stock portfolio (stock > 1) of mainstream distributors and work together with partners to daily monitor this coverage.

If you want to analyze coverage yourself, you need to register and upload your catalog to Icecat via the Icecat Control Panel. In the match analysis, you get the match percentages for Full Icecat and Open Icecat, and you can get a list of the unrecognized products. An advantage is that you can also, optionally, display your offers on the Icecat price comparison sites (Icecat.biz has a great alexa.com ranking).

TIP: if you upload your price feed, Icecat will automatically provide you with your private Icecat index in case that you want to use the Data interfaces of Icecat.

If you want to upgrade to Full Icecat Live, you are able contact us via the contact form or via the Icecat Control Panel.

Access to Icecat

To obtain access to Open Icecat, you will need Icecat login credentials. If you don’t have these yet, please, register online for free to Open Icecat.

TIP: for many mainstream solutions standard interfaces are available, including Magento, Prestashop, osCommerce (and siblings) and Batavi.

3. Embedding Icecat Live JS into your website

Below you may find the data flow diagram of Icecat Live JS integration:

schema 1

Icecat Live JS API

Icecat Live refers to a program code written in JavaScript (JS) that is embedded in a web page, and executed by the browser of your site visitor when a page is downloaded by the respective visitor, or in response to an event triggered by you as a Partner.

JS allows to create a bridge between a webshop and the Icecat catalog, which makes it possible to incorporate product information (descriptions, leaflets, multimedia objects) into merchant webshops. Moreover, Icecat Live uses Document Object Model (DOM), which allows to update content dynamically.

TIP: to see Icecat Live in action, JavaScript should be enabled in your browser.

Open Icecat Live integration

On every product page of an Open Icecat brand, a demo can be found of an Icecat Live integration. Go for example to the HP Spectre Pro x360 product page, and click in the “Embed the product data-sheet in your content” section on the link “Icecat LIVE: JS for HP V1B02EA”. A new page will then open that demonstrates the use of Icecat Live JS.

As a demo, we also made a very simple integration example of an Icecat Live data-sheet on a blog page, using an Icecat demo account and test account on Blogger.com. It also gives an HTML code example of a very simple webpage with the Icecat Live JS code embedded:

<html>
<head>
<script src="http://live.icecat.biz/js/live-current.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<div id="IcecatLive">
</div>
<script type="text/javascript">
setTimeout(function(){IcecatLive.getDatasheet('#IcecatLive',{'shopname': 'openIcecat-live','brand':'HP','part_code':'F0Y97EA','type': 'html'},'en');}, 200);
</script>
</body>
</html>

TIP:  ‘openIcecat-live’ is just the name of a demo account, that will give a “demo” message as well in the header. Use your own free Icecat user account, and this demo message will disappear.

Follow these three simples steps to integrate Open Icecat Live on your website:

1) To embed the Icecat Live library into an HTML page:

<script type="text/javascript"
src="//live.icecat.biz/js/live-current.js"></script>

NOTE: it's not necessary to put the any part of the script in the <head> part of the HTML as was done in the example above.

2) To insert into an HTML page a specific DOM element by a unique Id:

<div id="IcecatLive"></div>

3) To make the Live Icecat library call with your personal parameters:

<script type="text/javascript">
setTimeout(function()
{
IcecatLive.getDatasheet('#IcecatLive', {
'shopname': 'userShopName',
'ean_upc': '1234567891234',
'brand': 'abcdefg',
'part_code': '123abcdefg',
'icecat_id':'123456',
'type':'html'
}, 'en');
}, 200);

There are three ways to access a data-sheet: by ‘brand’+’part_code’, by ‘ean_upc‘ or by ‘icecat_id‘.

a. Do a call by Brand + Manufacturer Part Code combination. We will try to recognize the product even for a known variations of Manufacturer Part Code.

Example:

IcecatLive.getDatasheet('#IcecatLive',{'shopname': 'demoshop',
'brand':'Philips','part_code':'123456789','type':'html'},'en', 200);

b. Do a call by GTIN code (EAN or UPC)
Example:

IcecatLive.getDatasheet('#IcecatLive',{'shopname': 'demoshop',‘ean_upc’:'8478097595798729','type':'html'},'en', 200);

c. Do a call by icecat_id (called product_id)

Example:

IcecatLive.getDatasheet('#IcecatLive',{'shopname': 'demoshop','icecat_id':'18253015','type':'html'},'en', 200);

Description of the parameters:

Value Explanation
shopname Username
brand The brand name of the product
part_code The brand’s part code, uniquely identifying the product in combination with brand name. Also called manufacturer part code.
ean_upc The GTIN: EAN (European Article Number ), UPC (Universal Product Code) or JAN (Japan Article Number)
icecat_id Icecat’s Internal numerical product identifier. Only to be used by advanced users that (already) make use of the Icecat index files.
type ‘html’ or ‘json’, will provide html to the browser or json to the local js script that convert it to html on your end. We advise to use html, because if you upgrade your account to Full Icecat, no further security requirements apply. In case that you use json, you have more flexibility to locally adapt the JS, but more security requirements apply in case of Full Icecat data access. If you want to use the JSON variant, please read the Full Icecat Live/JSON manual.
‘en’ An example (en=English – GB) of the two or five character code used by Icecat to identify the locale. There are more than 40 languages or locales available in Icecat. See here the complete language/locale code table of Icecat.
200 An example (200s) of a time-out setting in seconds

Look & Feel customization

Open Icecat Live is responsive by design and adapts to your own CSS. If more customization is needed, you can customize our JS to your own needs. To perform customization, you need to store icecatlive.js locally on your server, edit it to your own needs and switch to your customized library in your HTML code.

Please, note that Icecat does not support client customized JS libraries. If you use these, arrange support yourself.

Further Questions or Remarks?

Please, contact us in case of questions or comments via your Icecat account manager or via the website:  https://www.icecat.biz/en/menu/contacts/index.html

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