Usage scenario for processing orders in an XML file

In this scenario, a printing company wants to process orders in XML files received from web-to-print sellers. Each XML file contains multiple orders, and each order can include both print and promotional items, such as coffee mugs and baseball caps.

In this scenario, the Ricoh ProcessDirector administrator uses a third-party tool (such as Altova MapForce) to create Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) style sheets. For examples of XML input files, XPath expressions, XSLT style sheets, and Ricoh ProcessDirector overrides files that work with this scenario, see the related reference.

Reviewing and preparing to process the XML

The Ricoh ProcessDirector administrator reviews the contents of the XML files and decides how to process them.

  1. First the administrator identifies the XML elements that supply values for Ricoh ProcessDirector job properties.
    In the example XML input file, two XML elements supply information required to track each item in an order. The number attribute of the order element and the customername element supply the order number and customer name.

    For print items, the printfile element supplies the URL of the PDF file to download and print.

    For promotional items, the number attribute of the stock element supplies the location of the item in the warehouse.

    For all items, the quantity element supplies the quantity ordered.

    This table shows these five XML elements and the names of the corresponding Ricoh ProcessDirector job properties.

    XML element Database name of job property User interface name of job property
    <order number> Job.Info.Attr1 Custom 1
    <customername> Job.CustomerName Customer name
    <printfile> Job.DownloadFile URL for download file
    <stock number> Job.Info.Attr2 Custom 2
    <quantity> Job.Copies Job copies requested
  2. The administrator breaks the process into five parts:
    • Create a separate XML job for each order.
    • Assign the order values (order number and customername) to job properties.
    • From each order, create a separate XML job for each item.
    • Assign the item values (printfile, stock number, and quantity) to job properties.
    • Process print items and stock items in separate workflows.
  3. The administrator decides to define four workflows:
    • The ExtractOrdersFromXML workflow receives orders and makes separate jobs for each order.
    • The SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs workflow separates the items in each order into print and stock jobs.
    • The ProcessPrintJobs workflow processes print jobs.
    • The ProcessStockJobs workflow processes stock jobs.
    A step based on the CreateJobsFromXML step template creates jobs from elements in an XML file that match an XPath expression. The step submits the jobs to a workflow.
  4. The administrator decides to use three CreateJobsFromXML steps, each with a different XML Path Language (XPath) expression:
    • The first step creates a separate XML job for each order.
      The Order Jobs expression identifies the XML elements that match orders: /seller/order
    • The second step creates a separate XML job for each print item.
      The Print Jobs expression identifies the XML elements that match print items: /order/item/printfile/ancestor::item
    • The third step creates a separate XML job for each promotional item.
      The Stock Jobs expression identifies the XML elements that match promotional items: /order/item/stock/ancestor::item
    The administrator assigns the CreateJobsFromXML steps to workflows:
    • The first step goes in the ExtractOrdersFromXML workflow. The step submits the XML jobs for each order to the SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs workflow.
    • The second and third steps go in the SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs workflow. The second step submits XML jobs for print items to the ProcessPrintJobs workflow. The third step submits XML jobs for promotional items to the ProcessStockJobs workflow.

    A step based on the ApplyXSLTransform step template can transform XML into a Ricoh ProcessDirector overrides file that specifies the values of job properties.

  5. The administrator decides to use three ApplyXSLTransform steps. Each step uses an XSLT style sheet. The administrator uses a third-party XSLT tool to create the XSLT style sheets.
    • The first step uses the Order Jobs XSLT style sheet. It converts the name attribute of the order element and the customername element into the Job.Info.Attr1 and Job.CustomerName job properties.
      The step goes in the SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs workflow before the two CreateJobsFromXML steps.
    • The second step uses the Print Jobs XSLT style sheet. It converts the printfile element and the quantity element into the Job.DownloadFile and Job.Copies job properties.
      The step goes in the ProcessPrintJobs workflow.
    • The third step uses the Stock Jobs XSLT style sheet. It converts the number attribute of the stock element and the quantity element into the Job.Info.Attr2 and Job.Copies job properties.
      The step goes in the ProcessStockJobs workflow.
  6. The administrator decides to use a DownloadFile step to download PDF files from a specified URL.
    Because the printing company uses a proxy server to communicate with external web sites, the administrator sets up Ricoh ProcessDirector to use the proxy server.

Setting up the input device and workflows

The administrator sets up a hot folder input device to receive XML files and four workflows to process them.

  1. The ExtractOrdersFromXML workflow creates a job for each order in the XML input file.
    After the SetJobPropsFromTextFile and DetectInputDataStream steps, the administrator adds the CreateJobsFromXML step. The administrator sets the value of the XPath expression to /seller/order and the value of the workflow for new jobs to SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs. The administrator specifies that new jobs are not created as child jobs. Each order is an independent job.
  2. The SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs workflow receives each order job, creates XML files for print and promotional items, and submits them as child jobs to the appropriate workflow.
    After the SetJobPropsFromTextFile and DetectInputDataStream steps, the administrator adds an ApplyXSLTransform step. The step uses the Order Jobs XSLT style sheet.

    After the ApplyXSLTransform step, the administrator adds two CreateJobsFromXML steps:

    • For the first step, the administrator sets the value of the XPath expression to /order/item/printfile/ancestor::item and the value of the workflow for new jobs to ProcessPrintJobs.
    • For the second step, the administrator sets the value of the XPath expression to /order/item/stock/ancestor::item and the value of the workflow for new jobs to ProcessStockJobs.
    • For both steps, the administrator specifies that new jobs are created as child jobs. The administrator also specifies that the parent jobs continue to the next step when no child jobs are created. For example, child jobs are not created in the first CreateJobsFromXML step if an order job does not have any print items.

    After the second CreateJobsFromXML step, the administrator adds a step based on the WaitForRelatedJobs step template. This step holds the parent jobs until all the child jobs for print and promotional items have been processed.

  3. The ProcessPrintJobs workflow receives each job for a print item, and prints the items.
    After the SetJobPropsFromTextFile and DetectInputDataStream steps, the administrator adds an ApplyXSLTransform step. The step uses the Print Jobs XSLT style sheet.

    After the ApplyXSLTransform step, the administrator adds a step based on the DownloadFile step template to download the PDF file specified by the value of the Job.DownloadFile property. The administrator sets the value of the Path to downloaded file property to ${getFileName(print,pdf,write)} so that the PDF file is downloaded to the spool directory for the job.

    Following the DownloadFile step, the administrator adds the steps that the printing company uses to process PDF jobs.

    After the last step that processes the print jobs, the administrator adds a step based on the ManualStepWithAutoStart step template. This step gives a shipping clerk time to add the print job to the order in the shipping department.

    After the ManualStepWithAutoStart step, the administrator adds a step based on the WaitForRelatedJobs step template. This step holds each job for a print item in an order until all the jobs in the order have been processed.

  4. The ProcessStockJobs workflow receives each job for a promotional item, and accounts for the time required to retrieve a promotional item from the warehouse.
    After the SetJobPropsFromTextFile and DetectInputDataStream steps, the administrator adds an ApplyXSLTransform step. The step uses the Stock Jobs XSLT style sheet.

    After the ApplyXSLTransform step, the administrator adds a step based on the ManualStepWithAutoStart step template. This step gives a shipping clerk time to get the promotional item from the warehouse and add it to the order in the shipping department.

    After the ManualStepWithAutoStart step, the administrator adds a step based on the WaitForRelatedJobs step template. This step holds each job for a promotional item in an order until all the jobs in the order have been processed.

This figure shows the four workflows. The green lines show the workflow that each CreateJobsFromXML step submits XML jobs to.

Image

Processing jobs through the workflows

When the administrator enables the workflows and submits an XML file to the input device, Ricoh ProcessDirector processes the job through the four workflows.

The ExtractOrdersFromXML workflow receives the XML job from the input device and creates an XML file for each order element that matches the Order Jobs XPath expression. The workflow submits each XML file as a job to the SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs workflow.

The SplitOrderIntoPrintAndStockJobs workflow does this processing:

  • It receives each order job.
  • It uses the Order Jobs XSLT style sheet to convert order number and customername elements and values into job properties and values.
  • It records the job properties and values in an overrides file.
  • It creates an XML file for each item element that matches the Print Jobs XPath expression. The workflow submits each XML file as a child job to the ProcessPrintJobs workflow. A copy of the overrides file is submitted with each child job.
    It creates an XML file for each item element that matches the Stock Jobs XPath expression. The workflow submits each XML file as a child job to the ProcessStockJobs workflow. A copy of the overrides file is submitted with each child job.
  • It holds the parent job for each order until all the child jobs have been processed.

The ProcessPrintJobs workflow does this processing:

  • It receives each job for a print item.
  • It uses the Print Jobs XSLT style sheet to convert the printfile and quantity elements and values into job properties and values.
  • It records the job properties and values by overwriting the contents of the overrides file submitted with the job.
  • It uses the value of the Job.DownloadFile property to download the PDF file for each print item.
  • It prints the PDF file.
  • It waits while a shipping clerk checks the values of the Custom 1 (order number) and Customer name properties for the job. The clerk then adds the print item to the order in the shipping department.
    To move the job to the next step in the workflow, the clerk uses the Manual complete action.
  • It holds each job for a print item until order processing is complete.

The ProcessStockJobs workflow does this processing:

  • It receives each job for a promotional item.
  • It uses the Stock Jobs XSLT style sheet to convert stock number and quantity elements and values into job properties and values.
  • It records the job properties and values by overwriting the contents of the overrides file submitted with the job.
  • It waits while a shipping clerk does these tasks:
    • Finds the stock number of the item by checking the value of the Custom 2 property.
    • Gets the required number of promotional items from the warehouse.
    • Checks the values of the Custom 1 (order number) and Customer name properties for the job.
    • Adds the promotional items to the order in the shipping department.
    To move the job to the next step in the workflow, the clerk uses the Manual complete action.
  • It holds each job for a promotional item until order processing is complete.

When all the jobs for the print and promotional items in an order have reached the WaitForRelatedJobs step, order processing is complete. Ricoh ProcessDirector moves the parent job for the order and all the child jobs for the items to the steps based on the RetainCompletedJobs step template.

 
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