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theFinancials.com - Data Services Guide

Data Services Guide

In line with our mission to provide completely customizable solutions, data services can be delivered in many file formats, described below.

Data Format Delivery Procedure
XML
sample Click to View XML Data Sample
CSV
sample Click to View CSV Data Sample
Binary FTP Email File
Names
Historical
Data
 
Data Update File Formats & Record Layout

File Format refers to the way the data file is written to a disk and determines which programs are capable of reading the information in the file.  The 2 formats available include binary and text.

Record Layout refers to the structure or organization of the data within a file.  For each file format clients can choose our default record layout or specify a custom layout.

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Text File Formats

The most common file format for Data Updates is Text, sometimes referred to as ASCII.  The text formats available to Data Update clients include Extensible Markup Language (XML), Comma Separated Values (CSV), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTML) and custom formats.  While not strictly a text file format, data can also be delivered in an Plain Text or HTML email.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

XML is the standard format for structured documents and data on the Web.  Data Update clients can parse XML files from theFinancials.com to identify components of the file and load its contents into another system, display them on another page, etc.

XML Record Layout - Clients who choose the XML format can specify their own custom markup or configure their parser to handle our default markup.

Default XML Markup   sample Click to View XML Data Sample

<prices>
    <price_record>
        <price_date>15-AUG-2001</price_date>
        <symbol>CRUDE_IPE</symbol>
        <price>26.01</price>
</price_record>
    <price_record>
        <price_date>15-AUG-2001</price_date>
        <symbol>SUGAR11_NYFE</symbol>
        <price>0.0809</price>
</price_record>
</prices>

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Comma Separated Values (CSV)    sample Click to View CSV Data Sample

CSV is a common record structure that is well suited for exchanging data that is organized into rows and columns.  Each field or column is separated by commas and text values are surrounded by quotes to ensure that commas within the data itself are not interpreted as field delimiters.  Each record appears on a separate line, terminated by carriage-return and line feed characters.

For example, a list of foreign currency exchange rates is a good candidate for CSV because each rate has a date, currency code and value (three columns).  On the other hand, CSV is would not be a good choice for exchanging the user guide for a computer program, which could be handled effectively by XML.

Because financial data is organized into rows and columns and CSV is compatible with many popular programs, many clients choose this format for their Data Updates.  CSV files can be loaded into Excel by simply double-clicking the file and can be loaded directly into many database systems.

CSV Record Layout - Clients can choose the precise ordering of the fields for each record, the order of the records and even the delimiter (if comma is not suitable).

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTML) 

HTML is not a good choice for exchanging data because HTML does not describe the contents of documents.  Rather, HTML is used for defining the appearance of documents.

HTML is offered for compatibility purposes.  We recommend that data be delivered in XML or CSV if possible.

HTML Record Layout - Data is typically organized into rows and cells of an HTML table.  Clients can choose the ordering of the fields for each row, the order of the rows and the appearance.

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Binary File Formats

The binary formats available to Data Update clients include Microsoft Excel (XLS) and Microsoft Access (MDB).  

Binary Record Layout - Clients simply specify which columns/fields they want on each row/record and the file is delivered a file format that is compatible with Excel, Access and other compatible programs.

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Delivery Methods

You can receive daily updates from theFinancials.com several ways.  Files are typically uploaded to our site and downloaded by clients using an automated system.

  • FTP to your site or ours

  • HTTP POST/GET to your site or ours

  • Email 

FTP

Whether uploaded to your site our ours, customers can use FTP clients (programs), Internet browsers or propriety systems to log in and retrieve data files by supplying a User Name and Password

FTP Clients/Programs - there are many free FTP programs that allow you to connect to an FTP server and download files, much like the Windows or Macintosh file management systems allow you to work with files on your computer.  Download Free FTP Clients Here

Internet Browsers - clients can access FTP sites using Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Simply enter the address or name of the server (provided by theFinancials.com) in the Address Bar of the browser and then use File|Login As... to enter a User Name and Password.

Proprietary Systems - clients can use their own systems to fully automate the integration of data updates into their system/database.  Systems can be configured with all necessary information to log in and retrieve files at specific times during the day.

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HTTP

Clients' systems can be configured to use the HTTP GET command to retrieve data from our servers, which is very similar to using FTP with a propriety system (see above).

Clients can also retrieve data files directly from our server and display them in their browser or other program (depending on the file extension) by entering the full HTTP path into their Internet browser.  This is useful for examining the file contents but not a good solution for integrating the data into other systems (use FTP instead).

Email

Email delivery can be used for two purposes: first, to integrate with existing systems that use email as a delivery vehicle and second, email can be used in conjunction with one of our other deliver mechanisms to notify clients that their file is ready for retrieval.  

Notification emails can include the URL of the data file so clients can simply click the link to examine the file.  A notification email can also trigger a process on the client's system to retrieve and integrate the file, which is useful in situations where timing is critical.

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Historical Data & File-Naming Convention

File-Naming Convention

Clients can choose whatever base file name they want.  theFinancials.com uploads 2 copies the data file during each update: one copy as the base file name and one copy that includes the day of the month.

For example, if the base file is CurrencyRates.xml, the current-day file will always be named CurrencyRates.xml and a second copy will be named CurrencyRates_??.xml, where ?? is the day of the month (1-31).  This technique facilitates the retrieval of data from past dates (for at least one month) and provides for more flexible retrieval procedures.

Other custom file naming procedures are available.  Our goal is to deliver a service with maximum flexibility and reliability.

Historical Data

The file-naming convention is designed to allow clients access to data updates for at least one month after a file is uploaded.  If more than one month of history is required, either on a regular basis or to fill in gaps in a data series, theFinancials.com will be glad to provide a solution.

Clients who need a one-time historical data series should visit our Historical Data Services.

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Contact askMe at theFinancials.com or 843.886.3635 to learn more about our raw data.

 


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