Creating and Editing Business Data Objects

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Business Data Objects (BDO) are containers for describing a business concept or object. They are intended to enhance understanding across a team that may be comprised of both technical staff and business users. Business users tend to think of high level business concepts such as customer, order, etc. Developers and application architects also think in terms of objects and how they are implemented in code. By contrast, data architects design the data structures that contain the information pertaining to a specific concept, breaking it down into related entities. A sales order is a perfect example, since it is a specific concept, but when implemented in a database it is comprised of a sales order header, sales order detail and often other dependent entities as well.

A Business Data Object is a modeling construct that groups related entities (tables) that comprise a specific object. It is intended to designate entities (tables) that would be persisted as a group when persisting all the data for that object to a database. This means that there is a top level entity, known as an anchor, which is the focal point for all other entities in the object. When creating an instance of the object those dependent entity instances would not (and could not) be populated unless the anchor entity is populated. Using the example of the sales order, order details and other associated information could not exist without the sales order header. Therefore, the sales order header is the anchor for the sales order business data object. Another important clarification is that since the Business Data Object is designed to designate object persistence, within a model, an entity (table) may belong to only 1 Business Data Object.

Business Data Objects can be easily displayed within a mode. When added to a submodel, a BDO will also add the entities that it contains to that submodel. Entities in BDO's can, and usually do, have relationships to other entities outside the BDO. For example, a Sales Order Header would typically have a relationship to Customer to designate the customer that placed the order, while the Order Detail would typically have a relationship to a Product to indicate the specific product being ordered for that line item. BDO's can be collapsed on the screen to visually hide the entities contained within it. When doing so, the relationships to entities outside the BDO will still be shown. This is a very useful technique for communicating with business users, as it focuses on interaction between higher level concepts, but shields the business user from the underlying technical detail.

To create a Business Data Object

  1. Open the File Menu Insert > Business Data Object.
  2. With the changed cursor icon, click on the model window, where you would like the Business Data Object to be created.
    • You can create multiple BDOs by clicking on the model window.
  3. To return the cursor to normal, right click the model window.

To define or edit entity details

  1. Double-click the BDO to launch the Business Data Object Editor.
  2. Define the BDO as required and then click OK.

The following helps you complete the options of the Business Data Object Editor:

Containment Tab

Add or remove entities from the BDO and set an anchor.

  • Show only contained objects: When selected, the Contained Entities window will only display those entities that are contained within the BDO.
  • Include children of contained objects: When selected, the Contained Entities window will only display those entities that are children of the contained entities.
  • Include parents of contained objects: When selected, the Contained Entities window will only display those entities that are parents of the contained entities.

To set an anchor entity

Once you add entities to a BDO, determine if there are any key dependencies among the entities. The top entity of those relationships is called the anchor. Use the following steps to set an anchor within a BDO.

  1. Double-click the BDO to launch the Business Data Object Editor.
  2. Click the entity that you want to set as the anchor, and then click Set anchor.

Definition tab

Enter or edit a definition for the entity/table.

Note tab

The notes added here are included as part of the HTML report when you generate a report for the model. You can format the notes using standard HTML tags. For information about reports, see Generating RTF and HTML Model Reports.

Security Information tab

Displays the current security information as defined in the Data Dictionary. You can add or edit security reporting information in by double-clicking the field you want to change. To set the model-wide default value for a property, go to the Data Dictionary tab and expand the Data Security Information Node. For more information, see Enforcing Security Using Data Security Types and Properties.

Attachment Bindings tab

Used to bind an external piece of information, or attachment to the BDO.


You can collapse a BDO containment frame by clicking the minus sign in the top right hand corner of the BDO frame.

See Also