Entities

Definition

Entities, attributes, and relations are the building blocks of an application.

An entity may be defined as a thing which is recognized as being capable of an independent existence and which can be uniquely identified. An entity may be a physical object such as a house or a car, an event such as a house sale or a car service, or a concept such as a customer transaction or order (Wikipedia).

More specifically, in Decision Insight, an entity is a type, a category. It describes the structure of objects or concepts. Each object of a given entity is called an instance.

An example of an entity is a "bank note". A bank note has attributes such as its facial value, its currency, and its serial number. An instance of a bank note Entity is, for example, the $100 bill with serial number HG 65595879 B. A $1 bill with serial number F 82969936 H would be another instance of this Entity.

Properties

Space

An entity must be defined in a space. Only entities defined in spaces that are part of the current application are displayed in editors.

Type

  • Configuration: Use configuration type for a globally stable entity, typically configuration related (for example: step, channel, stage, category, process). The instances of this type of entities are exported in application files if they are linked to a space of the application.
  • Transaction: Such entities are created and deleted over time. Select this type for entities representing transactions, payments, shipments, etc. If your deployment is configured with multiple partitions, instances of transaction entities are distributed across the different nodes of the cluster.

Inherit from

Entities can inherit the attributes, relations, and keys from other entities. This concept is usually known as Inheritance. It is a way to establish an IS A relation between instances.

An example of inheritance is to consider Animal, Dog and Cat entities. Dogs are animals, as are cats. As a consequence, it is possible to declare the Dog entity as inheriting from Animal. The same holds for the Cat entity.

Inheritance leads to complex applications. It should be used with caution.

Keys

Once you've defined attributes for an entity, you can specify that one or more of these attributes will be entity keys. Keys are used to identify, retrieve, and solve instances of data during the data integration process.

Collect

For more information, see Collect.

Related Links