Attribute types: give meaning to your data

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Alica Kačengová

When we think and process data from outside world in our brains, we automatically use different processes depending on what the data represents.

Consider following examples:

  • If you see “data + processing”, you will join those two words into phrase “data processing”. But if you see “2 + 3”, you will perform mathematical addition and get “5”, rather than “23”, won’t you?
  • If somebody asks you “What is your favourite color?”, your response will be “blue” or “red” or other color name instead of “table”, won’t it?
  • If the first task takes you 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete and the second task takes 1 hour and 40 minutes, you will say that together it took 3 hours and 10 minutes instead of 2 hours and 70 minutes, won’t you?

These answers probably seem completely obvious and logical to you and you wouldn’t even consider that table is a color or say that something took 2 hours and 70 minutes. But computers and therefore software tools don’t naturally possess the ability to think this way. Try calculating sum of “1h30m” and “1h40m” in a spreadsheet and you won’t even get “2h70m”, but a zero:

The spreadsheet knows nothing about what this sequence of numbers and letters means. Therefore it is very difficult, even impossible, to sufficiently capture your company’s processes in most of the available software tools (including widely used spreadsheets).

To work with your data effectively and automate your processes, Lumeer lets you enter anything and tell him what it is. Sometimes he even figures it out himself and gives you a suggestion. 

Once Lumeer is sure about what do you intend to store in your tables, he provides you the best treatment for your information.

So how to tell Lumeer what does the data mean? To do that, we introduced Attribute types. That means that you can set the type not just for one value, but for the whole column at once!

Our knowledge base contains the list of supported attribute types, instructions on how to set a type and available options for each type. However, in our blog, we will cover attribute types more extensively in terms of how you can take advantage of them in different perspectives. The series contains following articles: