Now that we're in 2015, there's a lot of discussion about ONIX 3, specifically around the topic of the sunset date, EDItEUR support and what this all means for publishers and other industry stakeholders. In this post, we'll explore what ONIX 3 means for your business, and how to be prepared to migrate.
What is ONIX 3?
ONIX 3 is the latest release of the ONIX standard, originally published in April 2009. The most recent revision, version 3.0.2, was made available in January 2014. ONIX 3 is a breaking release, which means that it is not backwards-compatible with the previous version, ONIX 2.1. This is the main reason for ONIX 3's slow adoption, as it can require significant changes
to how systems work. In addition, because ONIX 3 support is not widespread, anyone using ONIX 3 would likely also need to continue using ONIX 2.1 to use any systems that don't support the new version. As a result, the easiest solution for many has been to continue using ONIX 2.1 only.
In January 2012, a decision was made by the ONIX International Steering Committee to introduce a sunset date of 31st December 2014 for ONIX 2.1 support. Effectively, this means that after this date, no further work will be done to maintain ONIX 2.1, and there is no guarantee that EDItEUR will continue to provide online access to tools to support ONIX 2.1.
What does ONIX 3 mean for my organization?
If you haven't established a strategy for ONIX 3 yet, don't panic. Although the sunset date for ONIX 2.1 support has passed, ONIX 2.1 metadata will continue to work for the foreseeable future. Despite a lot of notice being given of this sunset date, stakeholders across the industry have still been slow to react and adopt ONIX 3. Because of the prevalence of ONIX 2.1 and the slow adoption of ONIX 3, it's highly probable that many stakeholders who support ONIX 3 going forward will also continue to support ONIX 2.1 for some time at least. Of course, be sure to check with your own customers, suppliers and partners to determine their stance on ONIX 3.
With that said, the passing of the sunset date has led to increased awareness of ONIX 3, and at Vearsa we expect 2015 to be the year that the industry embraces ONIX 3 and phases out support for ONIX 2.1. As a result, if you haven't already defined your ONIX 3 strategy, you should do so as soon as possible to ensure you're not left behind.
Moving forward together
As we have worked towards ONIX 3 support for our own platform, it became clear to us that this process is something that the entire industry has struggled with. Although in theory the migration process should be straightforward, in reality it's not so simple. At Vearsa, we want to enable everyone - our customers, suppliers, retailers and competitors - to move to ONIX 3 as quickly and as smoothly as possible. To aid this transition, we will be releasing a series of freely available, open source tools in the coming months that will help you to produce, validate and convert ONIX metadata. We encourage everyone in the industry to contribute changes and enhancements to these tools, adapt them to work with their own systems and share them with anyone who will find them useful.
It's taken some time to get there, but we believe that 2015 will be the year of ONIX 3, but only if we as an industry pull our resources and work together.
You'll hear from us!