Attaching External Documents to the Data Model
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Attachments and attachment types offer a structured method for you to associate an external piece of information to your data model. You can extend your metadata this way and include supporting documentation, such as meeting notes, risk analysis and spreadsheets. You can bind attachments to virtually any file or application on your system.
Attachments are organized into two key components:
- Attachment Types: An organizational system where you can group together similar attachments and specify which objects can have this type of attachment bound to them. Attachment Types define the scope of the attachments created underneath them. Use attachment types to organize attachments by either the object types to which they are applied or the scope of the business data they are supposed to capture for a model. Once you create an attachment, you can bind it to any data model objects associated with the attachment type.
- Attachment: Information that you can associate with the diagram objects types selected for the Attachment Type. Attachments can take many different forms such as an external file, a date, or a test list.
TIP: You can find a good example of a well-structured attachments folder in the Northwind sample model.
This section is comprised of the following topics:
Create and Edit Attachment Types
- In the Data Dictionary, right-click the Attachments folder and then click New Attachment Type.
- Define the attachment type as required and then click OK to complete the editor.
The following describe options that require additional explanation:
Define the name of the attachment type and provide a description of the attachment type, such as when and why attachments of this type are used.
Attachment Type Usage page/tab
Lists all supported object classes to which you can bind attachments of this type. Any object classes you select here will be bound to this attachment type and will be displayed subsequently on the Binding Information tab of the Attachment Editor.
- If you are editing an existing attachment type, and you remove object types from the object list on the Attachment Type Usage tab, bound attachments associated with this attachment type will be affected.
- To only allow specific attachments to be bound to specific objects, create an Attachment Type for this purpose and on the Attachment Type Usage tab, indicate the specific objects by selecting the corresponding boxes.
Create and Edit Attachments
- In the Data Dictionary, right-click the appropriate attachment type folder and then click New Attachment.
- Define the attachment as required and then click OK to complete the editor.
- Once you have created the attachment, you can edit it by right-clicking the attachment you want to change, and then selecting Edit Attachment.
The following helps you complete the describes the options that require additional explanation:
Define the name of the attachment and provide a description of the attachment, such as when and why this attachment is used.
Select what kind of data this attachment contains. For Text List datatypes, you can list possible data values and then set the default value.
Binding Information tab
Select the object classes and/or specific objects to which you want to bind this attachment. You can override this setting using the Attachment Bindings tab of data model object editors.
Bind an Attachment to an Object
Ensure the attachment can be used with the object you want to bind it to. In the Data Dictionary, double-click the attachment you want to bind to ensure it can be bound to the type of object selected.
Bind an Attachment to a Specific Object
Once you have bound an attachment to an object type in the Data Dictionary, you can choose to bind that attachment to a specific object of that type from within the object editor. For example, you have bound an attachment to an entity type object. From within the Entity Editor, click the Attachment Bindings tab and then from the list of Available Attachments, select the attachment you want to bind to that specific entity and then click the arrow to move the attachment into the list of attachments already associated with that entity.
- Attachments bound to a primary key is not transferred to the foreign key of the child in the relationship.
Override an Attachment Value
The Value Override Editor lets you override an Attachment's default value with a new value. This lets you add additional information to a bound attachments. To override an attachment value, click the value field. The Value field varies depending on your datatype selection. For example, if the attachment is a text datatype, the Value Override Editor lets you edit the text. The following describes the different available datatypes and their associated values and how you would change their values:
- Boolean: Lets you select None, True, or False.
- Date: Displays the current date. To change the date, click the list, and use the calendar to select the target date.
- External File Path: Lets you change an external file path. Enter a file path or browse and locate it. If you want to view the attached file, click the View File button.
- Numeric: Lets you change the numeric value. Enter a numeric value in the box.
- Text: Lets you change the character value. Enter text in the box.
- Text List: Double-click the blank line in the text box, enter a value and then use the TAB key to go to the next line. Repeat these steps until you finished adding values. Use the Up or Down buttons to reorder the values. Use the Delete button to remove a value. The first entry is the default value. To change this, click the target value and then click the Set as Default button.
- Time: Lets you change the time value. Select one of the time parameters (hours, minutes, seconds, AM/PM) in the box, and enter a value or scroll to the appropriate value. Continue selecting time parameters and changing the value until the appropriate time is entered.