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Workflow Tutorial: Specifying Output Data Variables

Created: 19 Mar 2008 • Updated: 11 Mar 2009
Craig Walker's picture
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So many options, so many things to consider. It makes your head spin. Want to wrap them all up in a neat little package? Here's a box and some twine. Get wrapping!

The purpose of this tutorial is to specify the output data variables for a project, so the project is able to return data successfully to the user.

Prerequisites: None

Objectives: To begin understanding the use of output data variables in projects.

Estimated time to complete: 10 minutes

Step 1: Create a New Project

Create a new Decision Only project. You can create a new Decision Only project by selecting Decision Only in the main screen of Workflow Designer.

Step 2: Create Output Data Variables and Specify Options

Output data variables dictate how and in what format data is returned to the user. A project works relatively simply: it takes in input data from the user, works on the data, and returns a result. The result of the project's execution must be returned in a specific format, or else the information would be completely indecipherable.

To specify output data variables, select the Output Data entry in the Project Info box, located on the left-hand side of the project model window:

Click the Add button to create a new variable.

Variables have multiple options you may specify. The first, Name, simply allows you to name the variable and give it a label. Each variable must have a Type, which dictates the format it will use to store data. To select a data type, simply click the Type field and select a type from the drop-down list.

Variables can also by arrays. Arrays are simply variables which are divided into multiple smaller pieces of information. For example, you may wish to have an array of users. This array would store multiple pieces of user data in one variable. To set a variable as an array, simply check the Array checkbox next to the variable's entry.

Checking the Null Allowed checkbox next to a variable will give the user the power to abstain from giving a variable a value. If the Null Allowed checkbox is left unchecked, the variable will be required, and the project will not execute properly if a value is not specified.

Once the output variables are set, return to the project's main model by selecting the Model: Primary tab at the top of the screen.