What is an Entity Class?


This page will introduce the concept of Entity and Entity Class and explain their difference. You will learn what the building blocks are of models en meta models and how this looks like. The page will show where to find Entity Classes in the software, how to use them and what the difference is between Archifacts and Entity Classes.

Entity vs Entity Class

An Entity is a thing. It is something that can be identified. Such as your computer, your department and your company.

An Entity Class is a collection of entities sharing the same attributes. Every item in the collection can only be part of the collection if it complies with the definition of the entity class.

Example of entity classes are: computer, department and company. All computers in the company share attributes, all departments share attributes and all companies share attributes.

An entity is an instance of an entity class. Instead of entity sometimes entity instance or data item are used in speech.

enterprise intelligence diagram with entities

Go here to the Demo to generate these Entities.

In Dragon1 there are over 200 Entity Classes defined and every entity class has its own shape.
Every company consists of over 200 Entity Classes, so with Dragon1 one can really model the uniqueness of the company and its architecture.

A model in Dragon1 is defined as a set of related entities.
Entities are instances of classes. With entities enterprise models, business models, application models and infrastructure models are created. With Entities real world modeling can be done.

A Meta Model with Entity Classes

A meta model is model that show the allowed relationships between entityclass.

Dragon1 has a defined meta model. But you can also change the Dragon1 meta model, use a meta model of a different method or language (like UML or BPMN) or model without a meta model.

dragon1 meta model

Example of a Dragon1 Meta Model. Click image to enlarge

The most importants Entity Classes to use in Architecture

Dragon1 has defined a list of core Entity Classes:

  • Architecture
  • Concept
  • Element
  • Component
  • Product
  • Service
  • Application
  • Data Object
  • Server
  • Network
  • Client
  • Cloud
  • Principle
  • Standard
  • Norm
  • Rule
  • View
  • Model
  • Relationship
  • Plateau
  • Framework
  • Organization
  • Actor
  • System
  • Structure
  • Stakeholder
  • Goal
  • Business
  • Market
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Information
  • Data

Every Entity Class has its own definition and own default attributes and its own shape.

Entity Classes in the Data Dashboard

The most important Entity Classes to administer and create models, views, visualizations and atlases with, are identified in the data dashboard.

The Data Dashboard can be edited and extended with other Dragon1 Entity Classes and custom (maybe industry specific) Entity Classes as well.

access entity classes via the data dashboard

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Entity Classes in the Architecture Repository

In Dragon1 Entity Classes can be maintained from within the Architecture Repository.

maintain entity classes using the architecture repository

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Entity Classes in the Visual Designer

In the Visual Designer, the Entity Classes that were defined before can be used to draw the diagram.

use entity classes in the visual designer

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Special Entity Class: The Archifact

Within Dragon1 there is also a special Architecture Related Entity Class, called "Archifact" (Architecture Artifacts). Archifacts are entity classes, but often they are not part of the system or solution design.

Instead Archifacts need, refer to, use or require the system or solution design.

Entity Class Overview

For a complete overview of all types of Entity Classes supported out-of-the-box in Dragon1: