Understanding the Reltio Attribute Type

Learn what the attribute type is, its four manifestations, and how to define it in Reltio Multidomain MDM.

This article gives an overview of the attribute types and how to define them in Reltio Multidomain MDM.

Overview of the attribute type

Reltio Multidomain MDM makes defining your data model simple and intuitive by providing a set of four attribute types so you can:
  • Build a logical data model rather than relying on physical tables and foreign keys.
  • Define entities, relationships, and interactions in granular detail.
  • Make detailed data available to content and interaction designers.
  • Provide business users with rich, yet streamlined, search and navigation experiences.
The four manifestations of the attribute type are:
  1. Simple
  2. Nested
  3. Reference
  4. Analytic

Simple attribute type

The simple attribute type represents a single characteristic of an entity, relationship, or interaction. It is the only manifestation of the attribute type in Reltio Multidomain MDM that you must define as a data type. The nested, reference and analytic attribute types represent combinations or collections of simple sub-attribute types.

Data types you can define using the simple attribute type

Table 1: Simple Attribute Data Types lists the available data types for defining the simple attribute type.
Table 1. Simple Attribute Data Types
Data Type of Simple Attribute Description Supported Format Additional Information
String This can be any text.   Length of the value is limited by the maxAttributeValueSize parameter in the physical configuration, where the default length is 10240 characters.
Int, Integer, Long, Dollar All these types are considered by the Reltio platform as Long java type.
The values of these data types are indexed as 64-bit integer numbers in the search engine with the following values:
  • A minimum value of -2^63
  • A maximum value of +2^63
Float, Double, Number This can be any value that can be parsed to the Double java object (Double.parseDouble(value);).
The values of these data types are indexed as 32-bit floating-point numbers in the search engine.
Note: If you want to store integer values in Float, Double, and Number data types, note the following important points:
  • A minimum integer value is -16777217
  • A maximum integer value is +16777217
Storage of values outside the range mentioned above will result in loss of precision and unexpected search results.
Boolean This can be any value that can be parsed to the Boolean java object (Boolean.parseBoolean(value);) . The possible values considered as true or false. Look at the possible values for Java type Boolean (java/lang/Boolean.java).
Date, Time, Timestamp Date is used to capture calendar date information in multiple formats. Following are the supported Date formats:
  • yyyy-MM-dd
  • MM/dd/YYYY
  • MM.dd.YYYY
  • MM-dd-YYYY
  • YYYY/MM/dd
  • YYYY-MM-dd
  • YYYY.MM.dd
  • YYYYMMdd
Supports the Time format but does not consider extra information such as hours and minutes.
Time and Timestamp are the same types. Following are the supported Time and Timestamp formats:
  • YYYY-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSZ
  • yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ssZZ
  • yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSZZ
  • MM/dd/YYYY HH.mm
  • MM.dd.YYYY HH.mm
  • MM-dd-YYYY HH.mm
Supports the Date format but the missing information such as hours and minutes are filled in by zeros.
Blob This type of attribute stores multiline text data.  

Any text can be entered in a blob. Because the value represents binary data, the same text cannot be used for searching.

URL, Blog URL, Image URL This can be any text and is displayed as a link on the Hub.   Text can wrap if needed.

Nested attribute type

The nested attribute type is used to create collections of simple attributes. For example, a phone number is a nested attribute. The sub-attributes of a phone number typically include:
  • Number
  • Type
  • Area code
  • Extension

In the example of a phone number, the sub-attributes are only meaningful when held together as a collection. When posted as a nested attribute, the entire collection represents a single instance, or value, of the nested attribute. Posts of additional collections are also valid and serve to accumulate additional nested attributes within the entity, relationship or interaction data type.

Purpose of the nested attribute type

The nested attribute type enables you to provide greater flexibility to user interface designers and improve the navigation experience for business users.

Use of the nested attribute type

Use the nested attribute type when:
  • An attribute assumes a collection of sub-attributes, such as a phone number.
  • A set of attributes that has a collective synergy needs to be grouped together, such as a person’s physical description.

Because the nested attribute type includes an expand-collapse capability, you can display sub-attributes of a nested attribute separately in the User Interface (UI). For example, you can define a simple attribute type to capture singular physical details, such as eye color, hair color, height, and weight. Together, these simple sub-attributes comprise a nested attribute type named physical description, and you can display each independently or together in the UI.

Reference attribute type

The reference attribute type enables one entity to reference and make use of the attributes of another entity as if the attributes of both were defined natively in each entity.

Purpose of the reference attribute type

The reference attribute type facilitates easy definition of relationships between entity types in your data model.

Use of the reference attribute type

Use the reference attribute type when you want one entity to make use of the attributes of another entity without natively defining the attributes of both. For example, the L1 layer in the Reltio Multidomain MDM information model defines a relationship that links an Organization and an Individual using the affiliatedwith relationship type. The affiliatedwith relationship type defines the Organization entity type to be a reference attribute of the Individual entity type. This approach to data modeling enables:
  • Easier navigation between entities: In the example of the Organization and Individual entities that are related using the affiliatedwith relationship type, specifying an attribute of previous employer for the Individual entity type enables this attribute to be presented as a hyperlink on the individual’s profile facet. From there, the user can navigate easily to the individual’s previous employer.
  • Easily refined search: When attributes of a referenced entity and relationship type are available to be indexed as though they were native to the referencing entity, business users can more easily refine search queries. For example, in a search of a data set that contains 100 John Smith records, entering John Smith in the search box will return 100 John Smith records. Adding Acme to the search criteria will return only those records with John Smith that have a reference, and thus an attribute, that contains the word Acme.

How to define the reference attribute type

Before you can define a reference attribute, you must establish a relationship type between two entity types. Once you’ve defined the relationship type, you can assign one entity type to be a reference of the other. Learn more about defining relationship types here.

Use of the reference attribute when several entities refer to the same single attribute of another entity

When you have several entities that must all reference the same attribute of another entity, you can mark all sub-attributes of that reference attribute as immutable for some sources. Learn more about immutable reference attributes here.

Reference attribute type and non-OV and OV values

The reference attribute type can contain non-OV and OV values. See the Entity Type for more information.

Analytic attribute type

The analytic attribute type is lightweight. It is not managed in the same way that other attributes are managed when records come together during a merge operation. Learn more about merging in Reltio Connected Data platform.

Purpose of the analytic attribute type

The analytic attribute type is used to receive and hold values delivered by an analytics solution.

Use of the analytic attribute type

Use the analytic attribute type when you want to make a value from your analytics solution, such as Reltio Insights, available to a business user or to other applications using the Reltio Rest API. For example, if your analytics implementation calculates a customer’s lifetime value and you want that value to be available to the user while they’re looking at the customer’s profile, define an analytic attribute to hold this value and provide instructions to Reltio Insights to deliver the result of the calculation to this attribute.