by Graham Downs
When using line-of-business software, you often need to record extra information about various entities, which the built-in fields don’t provide for. For example, you might want to include a custom attribute or “tag” on a Project entity, allowing you to record a custom “Category”. Or perhaps you need to differentiate between scenarios used for “Testing” and “Production”.
Every company is different, and in most “out of the box” software packages, it’s not possible to cater for everything a client might need to capture about an entity. For example, if you use a package to keep track of your customer base or suppliers, that package doesn’t know what accounting system you use. Suppose you must capture customer numbers to match up with your external system. Or maybe you need to keep track of clients’ birthdays, so you can offer them special deals or discounts. Or perhaps you need to know the name of their spouse….
In such cases, metadata columns (sometimes known as “Custom Fields” or “Tagging”) is invaluable. You can store all the information you need in a single system, so your staff need not open multiple packages to access all the information they need.
The DWS Dimension Swiftest solution gives you this ability through a concept called Metadata Columns. Metadata Columns were first introduced in Swiftest 2019.3. They allow you to capture additional data for Projects, Scenarios, and Tests, which the “base” system doesn’t cater for. For example, you might want to add a field to a project called “Category”, where you could store information about the purpose of the project (“Production”, “Master Catalogue”, “Requires Approval”, etc).
How to Use Metadata Columns
To add metadata columns, you need to be a member of the “Swiftest Administrators” role, at which point you’ll see a new item under the Tools menu, called Metadata Columns. If you click it, you’ll see the following screen:
Using the controls on the column headers, you’ll be able to sort and filter to find the metadata columns you want. For example, you can easily tell it to only show you columns of type “Scenario” by clicking the funnel icon to the right of the “Type” heading.
The buttons at the end of each row allow you to edit or delete a column, respectively.
Adding, Editing, and Deleting a New Metadata Column
To add a new metadata column, click the Create button at the bottom of the above screen. The following “fly out” will appear on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Select the Type of the column you want to create. Options are “Project”, “Scenario”, and “Test”.
- Enter the sequence of the column. This is the order that the column will appear in grids and fly outs for the type (explained later in this article).
- Type a name for the column.
- Optionally, enter a longer explanation for what the column means in the Description field.
- Check the box to make the column Active. Only active columns will appear in grids and fly outs for the entity.
Editing a metadata column is like adding one: click the Edit button in the grid to open the fly out on the relevant metadata column.
Consider editing a column to mark it as inactive instead of Deleting it altogether, if you think you might want it back at some point. Inactive columns keep all their data on projects, scenarios, and tests, but are hidden from display.
Editing Metadata Column Data
When viewing the lists of projects, scenarios, and tests under Swiftest’s “Explore Tests” screen, you will notice that any active metadata columns now show in the relevant grids:
In the above screenshot, “Category” is a metadata column of the type “Project”. Similarly, you will see metadata columns in the scenario and test grids too.
Upon editing or adding a new Project, Scenario, or Test, you will see all the “Active” metadata columns present in the “fly out”:
In the above screenshot, “Category” and “NB3a” fields are both metadata columns.
As you can see, Metadata Columns give you a powerful level of flexibility. With these columns, you can store practically any data you need about an entity, even if the solution doesn’t provide for it “out of the box”.
If you’d like more information, contact your local DWS sales representative today.