Data interchange format
The fundamental format for data exchange in EACTS Database Software is XML.
This is a DTD (Document Type Definition) which can be used to validate an XML file.
This DTD file defines the relations between patients, admissions, operations, etc. in the export file.
Why an XML-based format?
Our goal is to standardize the data submission procedure, using a portable XML format. It's implemented in our data collection software and on the server. The XML format is comprehensive, comparing to comma-delimited files, because it reflects the actual structure of the data. For example:
<Patient> <Admission> <Operation/> <Operation/> </Admission> </Patient>
This shows, how the patient, admission and operation objects are related to each other: Admission inside Patient and Operation inside Admission. Such way of describing the data is much less error-prone than the CSV files.
Advantages of the XML format
- Reflects the structure of the data (tables do not)
- Self-describing: you can see the name of each field
- Transparent, can be opened with a text editor
- Less error-prone than CSV files
- Portable, can transfer data across many software systems
- Solves national character encoding problems (by declaring the encoding)
- Widely known
- Can be transformed, using an XSLT stylesheet, into any other text-based format such as HTML, RTF, CSV, LaTeX, or a custom format.
Export to CSV
see article: Export to CSV
Import from other databases
see article: Import from other databases.