An Attribute is a typed value associated with a particular object (e.g., Item, Part, Node) that cannot be reused or shared by other objects. Attributes are used to describe an object in a more structured manner than just writing free text. Like items and parts, attributes are defined by a user with the Architect role using the swArchitect client and are part of the meta model in the SystemWeaver database.

Note: For issue attributes, definition is done in the CMS Project using swExplorer.

As part of the meta model, items, parts, and nodes can be configured to have default attributes and these display for all users. For parts, the default object can be conditional, so that attributes are default only for specific item types for the part. How users enter values (i.e., enter text, select from a list, etc.) will depend on the type of attribute:

In addition to the default attributes defined by the meta model, an item (or other object) may have additional attributes, used for a specific item. Such attributes may be manually created by a user, or automatically by the use of custom views. They are displayed for all system users. 

Note: Additional attributes can be useful for exceptional cases, when just a few objects need an attribute value, but should be used with care since views and reports that are not aware of their use will ignore the attribute value, causing them to be ignored, for example, in a report.

An item may have a Primary attribute, which is typically an attribute used for identifying the item.

What's Next? 

Learn more about the different types of attributes, how to define them and things to consider when using them. Or, if you haven't already, practice creating attributes as part of the Meta Modelling Basic Training.