Slate delivers many standard tables that collect commonly grouped data points such as biographical data, school data, job data, and so much more. Of course, your processes can require collecting additional grouped data points beyond these standard tables. Entities provide the flexibility to create these custom tables for any scenario of grouped data points.
Entities are custom-built data tables that are exclusive to your database and process.
- Scope & Display - Entities can be created for and displayed on person records, application records, or dataset records. These data are displayed as a table on the record using custom tabs and an entity widget.
- Multiple entries of similar data - Entities store multiple entries of similar data. Each entry is a “row,” and the collected data points are the “columns.”
- One-to-many data - Entities are used to store one-to-many data on records. For example, a list of the scholarships received by a student, or a list of their past schools attended.
- Merge Fields & Queries - Entity data can be used as merge fields and query exports to display dynamically in other ways.
Examples of custom entities
A few examples for using an Entity include:
- Class schedules
- Programs of interest
An application can have multiple scholarships. In this case, a "Scholarships" Entity can be created with corresponding scholarship-scoped fields:
A person takes multiple courses in a given semester. In this case, a "Class Schedule" Entity can be created with corresponding class-scoped fields.
Why use an entity?
Entities are highly customizable but aren’t appropriate for every situation. They also have limitations that may prevent them from being appropriate for your needs. If there is a need to collect and display information representing a one-to-many relationship on a record, then using an Entity may be ideal for your process. Questions you can ask to help determine this:
- Does the information represent a one-to-many relationship, where one record has many possible entries? This might look like one application record with many different scholarships.
- Does it make sense for the data to be displayed on a person, application, or dataset record?
- Are there common data points that need to be collected for each row within the entity (such as entry name, effective date, or amount)?
Creating and Displaying Entities
There are five steps to create and display an entity for data collection:
- Create the entity object.
- Create entity-scoped fields.
- Refresh the Configurable Joins Library.
- Create an entity widget form to collect data. Add your Custom List Fields within the Edit Properties menu.
- Embed the entity widget form in the location where you intend to collect the data.