Register Data Assets

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1 Introduction

All shareable datasets can be registered in the Data Hub Catalog by exposing them in an OData service. The registration includes the following:

  • Location – where the data can be accessed
  • Structural metadata – what the data looks like
  • Descriptive metadata – information that indicates the applicability of using the asset for a particular app
  • Further information – additional information added to registered assets (datasets and data sources) in the Catalog when they are curated

For Mendix apps deploying to the Mendix cloud, there is a deployment pipeline that registers the published OData v3 services published in the app to expose datasets that can be shared. This means that in Studio Pro, upon deployment of an app (via Run), the OData services are automatically registered in the Data Hub Catalog. For further information on deployment on the Mendix Platform, see Deployment in the Developer Portal Guide.

Datasets from other enterprise applications can also be registered in the Catalog in any of the following ways:

  • Datasets from specific business applications can be manually registered from the Data Hub Home. They must be exposed in an OData v4 service. Click the business application and follow the steps to register data sources from enterprise applications.
  • A registration pipeline can be set-up to register data sources that are exposed as OData v3 and OData v4 services to the Catalog using the Data Hub API.

This section starts with guidelines and best practice for registering data sources and datasets in the Data Hub Catalog. The steps for registering an OData Service from Studio Pro are described in Publishing an OData Service in Studio Pro to Register Entities section below.

The steps for updating a consumed OData service in Studio Pro for which a new version is available are described in the Updating a Published OData Service in Studio Pro section below.

2 Best Practices for Registering Data Sources and Shared Datasets

This section provides advice and best practices when registering your services in the Data Hub Catalog either from Studio Pro or through manual registration.

2.1 Data Sharing Policy

App owners should refer to their Data Hub Admin and Data Hub Curator to align with their organization’s data registration policy and methods. This can include naming and grouping the datasets that define specific data, access and security, and also the guidelines for issuing new versions of services.

Some datasets may be available in several OData services as a way of logically grouping the sets of data. App owners must ensure that they update and maintain services and inform consumers of any changes.

User access rights to the dataset (or entity set) and the associated data are published in the OData service and this is applied to the datasets that are consumed in an app. For details on security in Studio Pro, see Security in the Studio Pro Guide.

2.2 OData Services and Versions

Services that are updated should be clearly documented and version numbers maintained and registered.

It is a good practice to adopt a strict convention for versioning. For example, any revisions or changes made to a service that is deployed to the same location can be indicated using a semantic numbering convention and communicated to all apps consuming the service. This means that major version numbers are assigned for significant changes to the service (for example, removing entities or attributes, or requiring input parameters that would be incompatible for the consuming apps and result in a break or failure). You can assign minor version numbers for revisions that will “not break” consuming apps (for example, when adding new fields to the service or adding new operations), for which the clients will continue to work.

It is also good practice to expose major revisions to a data source to a new service at a different endpoint. If the publisher wants to drop support for the old service, it can be deprecated, with a grace period for consumers to transfer to the superseded service and eventually remove it when there are no more connections to the old service. The consequences of signficant changes to a service deployed to the same endpoint as the previous version may cause apps consuming from the endpoint to break.

Notify the Business Owner and Technical Owners of apps that consume datasets when there is a change to a service or entity.

2.3 Environments

Deployment environments should be clearly defined for the organization. The environment that an app is deployed to is important and indicates the quality and reliability of the app and data.

The OData service that is published when an app is deployed is associated with the environment that the app is deployed to. The service endpoint is therefore a combination of the application environement URL and the relative path of service contract. This provides the link to the exposed datasets.

When exposing datasets through an OData service for use in other apps, it is important to inform users of the quality and reliability of the datasets that are available from that deployment. The deployment environment of the app (and the published data sources) provides a good indication of the data quality in combination with the Environment Type: Production, Non-production, and Sandbox (the Mendix free app environment).

We recommend that apps sharing data should to be deployed to a reliable production environment where the data for the apps is valid, stable and reliably maintained. When apps are being developed, ensure that there is a representative set of data available in the test or development environments so that the services can be properly tested in the consuming apps. For example, in the case of an app for Human Resources, the developer should have representative test data with the different access levels to ensure that in consuming apps the correct data is available to users of differing access levels.

2.4 Datasets, Entities and Associations

Currently datsets (in Mendix entity sets) of persistable entities can be exposed for sharing by another app. The dataset associated with the entity is used in the consuming app.

When selecting the entities to expose in a service, consider including associated entities so that the relationship between the data is also maintained.

When exposing Mendix entities that are generalizations and specializations in the same service the specialized entities will be defined in the published OData service as discrete entities which include the inherited attributes and associations. The inheritance relationship will not be present in the metadata contract, and also not when the entities are consumed in Mendix Studio Pro.

3 Publishing an OData Service in Studio Pro

This section describes how to register entities from your Mendix app in the Data Hub Catalog in Studio Pro. For details on publishing an OData resource, see Published OData Resource in the Studio Pro Guide.

  1. In the domain model, right-click the entity to be exposed and from the menu select Expose as OData resource:

  2. In the Select Published OData Service dialog box, select the folder in the module that you want to use to organize your APIs, and click New to add a new OData service to that folder:

  3. Enter a meaningful name that indicates the entities and data that are going to be exposed for the published OData service and click OK.

  4. The OData service document is added to the module, and the Edit published resource dialog box is displayed for the selected entity. The information in this will form the metadata definition for the entity:

    • Entity – the name and module of the entity

      • Select – click to display list of entities available in the module and select another entity to expose
      • Show – click to see the entity in the domain model
    • Exposed attributes and associations – click select to view and select the attributes and associations to expose for this entity

    • Exposed entity name – you can customize the name of the entity in the OData service

    • Exposed set name – the name of the dataset associated with the entity that is exposed

    • Example of location – the location of the dataset for the entity
    • Use paging – the maximum number of data objects that are retrieved in a single call (with a link to the next set)

    Public documentation tab – a summary and a description of the entity can be added here

    For further details, see Published OData Resource in the Studio Pro Guide.

  5. Click OK to see the OData Service page. If you want to publish several entities in the same service, add them here by clicking Add for the Resources.

  6. If you add an entity that is associated with another entity that is exposed in the same OData service, the association between the two entities will be included under Attributes and associations.

  7. Add a Summary and Description of the service In the Properties pane:

  8. Add a Summary and Description of the service In the Properties pane:

  9. When the app is deployed with Publish, the OData services defined for the app will automatically be registered in the Data Hub Catalog.

4 OData Service Screen

The OData service screen contains all the details that will be included in the OData service contract or $metadata file that is registered in the Data Hub Catalog. Entities can be added and removed and changes to attributes and associations for included entities can also be made in this document.

4.1 General Tab

The General tab contains all the details for the published metadata and the details of the entities that will be exposed in the service as follows:

  • Service Name – the name of the service
  • Version – the version of the service
  • Location – the URL of the service metadata
  • Namespace – the namespace or uniform resource identifier (URI) for the service (for further details, see Namespace)
  • Entities – the entities that are included in the service:

    • Add, Edit, Delete – click to add, edit, or remove an entity from the OData Service, respectively

    • Entity entity name – for the selected entity on the left, the details of attributes and associations is displayed on the right. Click Add, Edit or Delete to add, edit or remove an attribute or listed association.

    • When you click Edit the Edit published attribute dialog is displayed that will show information about the item. For Exposed name you can specify the name that the attribute or association will be exposed as in the service.

For more detail, see Published OData Resource.

4.2 Settings Tab

In the Settings tab, you can set configurations of associations between entities, the export location of the service, and the metadata file. You can also specify access to the entities exposed:

4.2.1 Configuration

For Associations, select As a link for your published OData service to ensure that the association between entities is exposed.

4.2.2 Export

This section contains the following properties:

  • Service feed – displays the service endpoint; click Export to create an export file of the service feed
  • Metadata – displays the OData service contract file; click Export to create an export file of the service contract

4.2.3 Security

This section is displayed if project security is enabled. For further details, see the Security section of Published OData Services.

This section contains the following properties:

  • Requires authentication– specify if the consuming apps have to authenticate access to the data associated to the exposed entities
    • Yes will require the specified authentication
    • No means for no restriction to access to the data
  • Authentication methods – one or more of the following authentication methods can be checked:

    • Username and password – for “basic authentication” with a username and a password
    • Active session – for access to the data within the current app session
    • Custom – to specify custom authentication using a microflow that is called every time a user wants to access the data to an entity
  • Microflow – when Custom authentication is checked, specify the authentication microflow that will be used

  • Allowed roles – refers to the module roles that a user must have to access the consumed entity

5 Updating a Published OData Service in Studio Pro

For guidelines on when to update a published OData service and when to publish a new one, see the OData Services and Version section above.

Registered OData services for Mendix apps can be updated in Studio Pro in the OData service document. You can access the OData Service page from the App Explorer in Studio Pro by double-clicking the published OData service document to be updated.

To update a published OData service, follow these steps:

  1. Create a duplicate of the old service document to make your changes to by right-clicking in App Explorer the OData service that you want to update and then clicking Duplicate. A copy of the service will be created. You can rename the new service by right-clicking and selecting Rename.
  2. Double-click this service to open the service document. You can now make the changes to the service.
  3. Indicate the level of the change to the service by changing the version number. We recommend that you follow semantic numbering to indicate the severity of the change. If you are making updates that would not break consuming apps, then the version number can be incremented after the decimal point. A major update that may break consuming apps would be indicated by an incremental increase in the integer.
  4. For a major update to the service, change the Location where the service will be deployed to, the service endpoint, to ensure that consuming apps will not be affected. Minor updates can be deployed to the same endpoint.
  5. Change the Description (in the Properties pane) of the service to describe to all users the changes that have been made to the service.
  6. Make the changes to the service, taking care when removing entities, attributes, and associations. The guideline is removing exposed entities, attributes and association from a published service, this would have to be a major service update that is deployed to a different endpoint.
  7. Deploy the app to register the services in the Data Hub Catalog. If you have specified a different endpoint for the new service version, both versions of the service will now be registered.
  8. In the Data Hub Catalog, curate the new service and add tags and further descriptions as necessary.
  9. Inform consuming apps of the changes. You can see all apps that are consuming previous versions of the service in the Data Hub Catalog and also the visual network of dependencies in the Data Hub Landscape. Use the Business Owner and Technical Owner links to make contact with the users.
  10. For major changes, and when a new service is published that will replace an existing one, provide deprecation notices to all consuming apps if they have to change to the new version within a certain length of time if the previous version is going to become inactive.
  11. It is good practice to remove old (unused services) from your app by deleting them in the App Explorer only when you are sure that they are no longer being consumed by any other apps. You can verify this by looking in Mendix Data Hub and searching for the service in the Catalog or checking out the network of dependencies in Data Hub Landscape.

6 Register Data Sources from Enterprise Applications

You can register data sources from other business applications, such as SAP and Mindsphere, to Data Hub. The available datasets must be exposed in an OData service in the business application and manually registered from the Data Hub Home. Connectors are available for many business application.

This section will take you through the steps to upload the metadata contract and specify all the information that is necessary for a successful registration.

If the connector for your business application is not shown, you can use the option to register a generic OData v4 service:

upload contract

6.1 OData Service Contracts

For all business applications except for Mendix apps, data sources that comprise datasets must be published as OData v4 services for registration in the Catalog. An OData service metadata file may be a single file, or comprise multiple files, for example, the base schema definition and additional associated schema documents to complete the full service definition.

The file formats of the OData v4 Service contracts that are accepted in this registration process are .xml (for single files) and .zip (when the contract includes several files).

6.2 Registration Process

The registration process is tailored for each business application connector this is offered on the Data Hub Home page you will see buttons for registering specific enterprise applications. The steps that are described in this section can be followed for any of these applications.

6.2.1 Business Application Connector

On the Data Hub Home screen, click the connector for the business application of the data source that you want to register:

upload contract

If there is no connector for the data source business application, you can register your OData v4 service by clicking the generic OData connector.

6.2.2 Upload Contract File

In the Contract screen upload the file of the data source (the OData v4 service metadata contract) that you want to register.

upload contract

The selected file is uploaded and verified. When successfully uploaded, you can click the x if you want to upload an alternative file or click Go to next step.

upload contract

6.2.3 Data Source Details

In the Details of Data Source screen specify the following details:

  • Data Source Name – the name of the data source as it should appear in the Catalog.

  • Data Source Version – the version number of the service.

  • Data Source Relative Path – the path of the OData service contract relative to the environment URL of the application that is specified at the stage.

  • Catalog Description – a description of the service that is displayed for the data source.

  • Tags – tags can be used to categorize the datasets and data sources to enable users to find relevant groups of datasets. Click on the currently used tags in the Catalog that are displayed below:

    Alternatively, enter a tag string. Tags strings must satisfy the following:

    • alphanumeric characters
    • lowercase
    • 2-100 characters long
    • no spaces

    To remove a tag from the list, click the x.

When all the required information has been specified click Go to next step.

6.2.4 Application Details

Specify the details of the source application of the data source (from which the OData v4 service was published). This information will be displayed in the Data Source Details and provide the link to the app.

If the application is already registered in the Catalog – for example, as the source application for previously registered services – you can Select an existing application. If the application is not registered in the catalog click Register a new application.

6.2.4.1 Select an Existing Application

Click Select application and select from a list of all the currently registered apps originating from the same business application. For each app the Technical Owner will be shown in parentheses. In the example shown below when registering a SAP data source, the list of registered SAP applications currently registered is displayed:

The Technical Owner of the app you have selected is displayed.

6.2.4.2 Register a New Application

If the application for your data source is not registered in the catalog or if there are no applications registered in the Catalog that originate from the business application, click Register a new application and specify the following information:

manual register application
  • Application Name – the name of the application as it should appear in the details page of the service.

  • Technical Owner – the name of the technical owner of the application and data source. The technical owner should be a registered Mendix User who will be able to curate the data source. By default this is the person registering the data source. Select from the drop-down list of registered Mendix users and custom owners (who are indicated by their initials in the avatar). You can also create a new custom owner as described in Adding a Custom Owner.

  • Business Owner – the owner of the datasets that are made available through the service. Select from the list of registered Mendix users and custom owners (who are indicated by their initials in the avatar). You can also create a new custom owner as described in Adding a Custom Owner.

  • Application Icon – the icon that will be used for the data source and application is displayed. To specify another icon you can Upload a different icon or select one from the library.

6.2.5 Environment

Specify the environment that the application is deployed to. The environment that the app is deployed also indicates the quality of the data of the data source.

If the application is already registered in the Catalog – for example, when you are registering a new service for the app deployed to this environment, or when you are registering a new version of an existing service deployed to this environment – you can Select an existing environment. To specify a different environment you can Register a new environment.

6.2.5.1 Select Existing Environment

Click Select environment and select the environment from the drop-down list. The details of the selected environment is displayed.

6.2.5.2 Register a New Environment

If the environment is not registered in the Catalog for the business application, click Register a new environment and provide the following information:

register new environment
  • Environment Name – the name of the environment to be displayed in the Catalog.
  • Environment Location – the URL of the environment.
  • Environment Type – indicates the type of environment that the app is deployed to and thereby the quality of the data in the dataset.

Users can filter their search in the Catalog by selecting a specific environment. Select one of the following:

  • Production: this indicates that the data is of production quality
  • Sandbox: the Mendix Free App environment
  • Non-production: this indicates that the data of this data source is not of production quality

Click Next Step to proceed to the Upload contract form.

6.2.6 Completing Registration of your Data Source

During the registration process you can always navigate to previous screens by clicking it on the “navigation-line” at the top of the registration window. This enables you to change values you have previously entered.

When you have provided all the information required, on the Environment screen click Done! to complete the registration:

register hurrah

From this screen you can do the following:

  • Go to Catalog: click to see the details screen of the registered data source. For the example used in this section it looks like this: asset details
  • Back to Home: click to return to the Data Hub Home.