This section provides an overview of the architecture used by Data Exchange Framework and its remote SDK.

Configuration Using Sitecore Items

All Data Exchange Framework components are configured using Sitecore items. There are several advantages to this approach:

  • The Sitecore client provides a rich user-interface for creating and editing Sitecore items. Sitecore field editors offer type-specific options. Relationships between components can be easily modeled.
  • Sitecore items can be accessed directly on the Sitecore server or via a web service.

Accessing Sitecore Items Using Item Model Repository

When accessing the Sitecore items that represent Data Exchange Framework components, an item model repository is used. This is a component that provides a layer of abstraction between the Sitecore API and the framework.


Sitecore provides several APIs that can be used to access Sitecore items. The Data Exchange Framework’s item model repository API provides a single, simplified API for accessing Sitecore items so that a developer does not need to be a Sitecore expert in order to write framework components.

Converting Sitecore Items Into Framework Components

The Sitecore items used for configuration must be converted into Data Exchange objects. This is handled by converters. Data Exchange Framework provides APIs that hide most of the work involved in converting Sitecore items into framework objects.

Remote SDK Limitations

In order for a Data Exchange Framework component to work outside of the Sitecore server, the component must not have any dependencies on APIs that are only available on the Sitecore server.


This is the reason why the item model repository API does not read items using the Sitecore.Data.Items.Item type.

The following is a list of some of the things you cannot do in your component if you want to be able to use your component with the remote SDK:

  • Run Sitecore pipelines (Data Exchange Framework provides its own pipeline implementation that can be used instead)
  • Reading anything from Sitecore configuration files
  • Using any type defined in Sitecore assemblies (Sitecore.Services.Core.dll is the one exception)