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Data Modelling Building Blocks

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform

In the previous step, we explored the fundamentals of Data Modelling. In this step, we discuss Security and Data Modelling Influencers.

There are several fundamental definitions that help us to describe the data model and the processes within the Power platform or, specifically, within the Common Data Services (CDS) for Apps.

Entities

Entities are the formal representations used to model and manage business data. Usually, they are some form of interpretation of real-life objects and concepts. For example, contacts (or people), companies, projects, products, orders, invoices, and activities (such as appointments or emails) are all types of entities.

Fields

The information stored in an entity is represented as a set of fields (or attributes). Fields are created during the design process to capture specific information about an entity. For example, the project entity will have a deadline, the order entity will have a total and the contact entity will have an email address.

To represent different types of data, fields have a type: text, money, date/time, etc.

Note: Within the data model, the term ‘field’ is used interchangeably with ‘attribute’ or ‘property’. They usually describe the same concept.

Relationships

Entities do not exist in isolation. Real-life concepts and objects have relationships between them, for example, an employee works for a company, an individual may speak many languages, a project has tasks, an order has order lines with products. These relationships are represented in a Common Data Service as entity relationships. Relationships describe the ways that entity records can be associated with records from other entities or even the same entity. Relationships have behaviours that define what happens when actions against the primary entity occur.

Metadata

The definitions for the entities, fields, and the relationships between the entities within Common Data Service are collectively described as metadata. Metadata contains all the information necessary for Power platform to use underlying entities and data. This is how information about entities, fields, and relationships are stored in the solutions. It makes it possible to describe and transport changes (or customisations) between different environments.

Multi-Lingual Support

Metadata within Common Data Service supports implementations in multiple languages. That includes capabilities to store translation of relevant elements such as attribute labels or messages displayed to the end-user.

Common Data Model

Common Data Services for Apps provides a set of standard entities by default. These are designed, in accordance with best practices, to capture the most common concepts and scenarios within an organisation (for example, contacts, accounts, and activities). When you develop an app and design a data model, you can use standard entities, custom entities, or both.

Note: Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Apps can bring in additional entities that extend Common Data Model with additional entities, attributes and relationships.

Entities, both standard and custom, can be extended by creating new fields to capture data when there are no attributes that meet your requirements.

Up next, we’ll be finding out more about Data Management Features and Recommendations.

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Dynamics 365: Using Power Platform Applications

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