How to: Create a Data Dictionary for Salesforce

By July 1, 2015Uncategorized

Alignment is one of the biggest buzz words in business right now and with good reason. Without alignment, anything that must work in unison with itself will not function properly. Imagine your company as a rowing team. If half of your team is rowing in one direction and the other half in the other direction, you’ll find yourself dizzy from spinning in circles. However, if your team is aligned and working in unison toward the same overarching goal then you will see tremendous acceleration! This type of alignment can be very difficult to achieve if your team is unable to communicate on the most basic level. This is where developing a data dictionary can be a remarkably advantageous resource. A data dictionary is a file that helps to define the organization of a particular database. The data dictionary acts as a description of the data objects or items in a model and is used for the benefit of the programmer or other people who may need to access it. Use our guide to get everyone on your team “rowing” towards your company’s growth!

A data dictionary does not contain the actual data from the database; it contains only information for how to describe/manage the data (this is called metadata*). Building a data dictionary provides the ability to know the kind of field, where it is located in a database, what it means, etc. It typically consists of a table with multiple columns that describe relationships as well as labels for data.

A data dictionary often contains the following information about fields:

  • Default values
  • Constraint information
  • Definitions (example: functions, sequence, etc.)
  • The amount of space allocated for the object/field
  • Auditing information

What is the data dictionary used for?

  1. It can also be used as a read-only reference in order to obtain information about the database
  2. A data dictionary can be of use when developing programs that use a data model
  3. The data dictionary acts as a way to describe data in “real-world” terms

Why is a data dictionary needed?

One of the main reasons a data dictionary is necessary is to provide better accuracy, organization, and reliability in regards to data management and user/administrator understanding and training.

Benefits of using a data dictionary:

  1. Improved data quality
  2. Consistency in data use
  3. Improved documentation and control of data
  4. Faster and easier data analysis
  5. Easier programming
  6. Better trust in data integrity
  7. Increased efficiency

Structure of the data dictionary: The data dictionary has 3 main structural elements: (1) base table, (2) user accessible views, (3) owner of the data dictionary. The base tables are the underlying tables that store the information about the database. Users will rarely access these.

 Definitions:

  1. Database Configuration Assistant- A utility used for creating, configuring, and removing oracle databases.
  2. Metadata- Data about data. Provides information for another object’s content

For the full PDF version with step-by-step screenshots click this link: Data Dictionary Summary

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George Dibo

About George Dibo

George is a content writer/editor with a keen interest in digital & content marketing as well as sales and marketing alignment. George's current professional passion is strategically curating, creating, and editing valuable content that is a resource for readers. George combines his love and excitement for writing, with his experience in technical optimization to create the most desirable user experience for the audience. As a pupil of Content Marketing he realizes the tremendous role content plays in building a loyal audience and maintaining those relationships over time. George also understands the invaluable impact that those relationships can have on the future profitability of any organization.