Pimcore Review: an Open Source Configurable PIM

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Product Information Management (PIM) system helps to organize and standardize large amounts of product data. Different open source PIM systems are studied. From my initial research, Pimcore offers more features for an open-source system. Therefore, we tested Pimcore to demo Icecat data. This Pimcore review is based on the features Pimcore offers and how it can be configured according to our design templates.

Structure: assets, objects, and documents

The three main components Pimcore has are assets, data objects, and documents. Firstly, assets refer to media like images, PDF files, and videos. Secondly, data objects are the product information records. Lastly, documents are the pages and templates for viewing and structuring data. Each data object represents one product in a PIM database. The data objects can be grouped, previewed, edited, and imported into Pimcore in batch.

Features of Pimcore

Pimcore offers easy ways to build web pages. It supports various elements for media such as videos, PDFs, documents, images, hotspot images, and 360 images. Like WordPress, the pages can be built as what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG). It provides an edit mode where sections can be matched with assets for final display. As a result, building templates for displaying product pages and mostly static content is quite easy. However, 360 image rendering is possible only for single images or by creating an MP4 version. For Icecat, the rendering of 360 images is different, and hence importing such other media formats needs to be implemented at a code level in Pimcore.

Bulk Upload

To test the features of Pimcore, we imported a tiny subset of our product catalog into the system using the Bulk import functionality. The Bulk import supports Excel and CSV. The CSV import functionality works, but it should be streamlined better. We first need to create a class that represents the data objects. The creation of classes and their relationships is done via the interface without the need for developers. The classes are next organized as layout components. It makes editing products hassle-free. Finally, after importing the products, we need to provide a controller to preview the product data-sheets. It would have been simpler if we could use a pre-defined document to display the product components. In the same interface, admins can choose to publish or unpublish a product.

Pimcore offers two ways of creating web pages. One, by creating pages manually with predefined components. Two, by creating a page using an existing template.

We replicated the Icecat template by making changes on the code level and using the document features provided by Pimcore. And we compared the differences in implementation by trying to apply both options.

Conclusion

The web pages that could be built using the features are sufficient. But, they may not be up to the taste of mainstream users. We found that certain components, like WYSIWYG with images, do not offer the needed flexibility. Further, some of the features, like a PDF preview, require external library installations. At the same time, one can choose to achieve these using custom JavaScript or other techniques. We think that the document feature is great, but in our case, we rather use our own custom-built templates. The bottom line is that we could use the features of the underlying PHP server to achieve complex things, but that it is not a ready-to-go solution as we see the need for some software development effort to make things fully functional. Coding is needed for mapping controllers to web pages, rendering templates, and building custom styling.


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