Primavera P6 Professional has the functionality to both export and import XML files. The question is what exactly is the XML data format?
Primavera P6 Professional can export and import both XER files and XML files. Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) is only able to export and import XML files, not XER files. The XER format was the original data format for Primavera P6 schedule files. It actually dates back to the earliest versions of this software before it was even owned by Primavera.
Back in the very late 90s and prior to being acquired by Primavera, the tool was owned and named after a company called Eagle Ray Software Systems, Inc. The XER extension stands for Export Eagle Ray and is more or less the only remaining visible evidence of the software’s origins. The XER data format is very proprietary, however, in recent years Primavera P6 has added in a new format known as XML to its import and export functions.
This article briefly introduces the XML data export/import file format.
What Is XML?
XML is an acronym for Extensible Markup Language. XML is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents. XML is unique in that its format is both human-readable and machine-readable.
A useful exercise is to open an XML file in any standard editor, such as Microsoft notepad, and see what you can read. Of course, making changes to the XML file requires one to understand the XML rules for encoding documents. But in XML that interface for making changes is available. XML based formats are the default for many software applications, including Microsoft Office. XML is commonly used for the interchange of data over the Internet.
Primavera P6 XML
There are two reasons specific to Primavera P6 that also make XML the preferred export format.
- Using the XML format you are able to include baselines in your file export. XER files cannot include baselines.
- The XML format also allows you to include Primavera Layout (PLF) Files in the export. PLF files store information on how data is presented in Primavera P6 layouts. PLF files are very useful for presenting and/or reporting scheduling information in your preferred format.
With all the benefits of the XML format it does have one negative; it takes longer to load than XER format files. Still that is a small price to pay, and becomes less of an issue as the speed of computers continues to advance.
The XML format’s readability, versatility, and wide usage make it the preferred export format. The future of Primavera P6 is the XML data format file. It would therefore be good to make XML the standard format for your organization’s scheduling processes; especially if you are in a mixed environment of Primavera P6 Professional and P6 EPPM (web) systems.
It would also make sense to familiarize yourself with basic XML coding features just in case you ever wanted to go in there and make changes to any of the data records.