Attributes

Attributes are the building blocks of a product’s configuration. They can can be used as a list of values selected by the user, a calculation, a free input by the user, a display of text to the user, and many other uses. An attribute is defined by a name, value(s), and type. User can create new attributes in a few ways. They can be created individually through the Product Setup Wizard or through the Attribute administrative section. Both will allow creating one attribute at a time. If there is need to create many attributes at a time, user can use the Import Attribute administrative section (discussed in the Import Attributes chapter). All attributes created in the system are available to all products. They are then added to the product where further definition is done, such as pricing, part numbers, etc. An attribute can only be added to a product if it has been first added to the category that the product is in. Only then it is possible to use it in the product. If the attribute is created through the Product Setup Wizard, though, then it is added to the category and the product in the single step of creating the attribute.

The Attribute administration section allows managing all attributes that exist in the system. To access this section select the Attributes link under the Products admin menu. This displays the Attributes Administration page as shown in Figure A.

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Figure A - Attributes List


From this screen Attributes can be added, deleted, edited or copied. Clicking the Add New button will bring up a blank attribute definition page as shown in Figure B.

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Figure B - Adding New Attribute


Attribute Name - Enter the name that describes the attribute
Attribute Type - Specifies attribute data type and how the attribute will be used. Choices are:

  • User Selection w/ Quantity Inputs for each Attribute Value – Used for an attribute with a list of values that each have a quantity input field. This attribute type can only be used on attributes that are set as a check box.
  • User Input or Computed - Date – Used for attributes that will be set as a free input or calculation. The result of the calculation or the value inputted by the user must be a date.
  • External Value – Used in attributes that retrieve a value from an external source or another product, such as a child product.
  • User Selection – Most commonly used attribute type, this type is used for attributes that contain a list of values that will be selected by the user. This type can also be used for calculations and other uses for attributes if you prefer that it not be restricted to any specific data type.
  • User Input or Computed - Number – Used for attributes that will be set as a free input or calculation. The result of the calculation or the value inputted by the user must be a number.
  • User Selection w/ Attribute Quantity Input – Used for an attribute with a list values. There will be a quantity input field for the entire attribute. This attribute type is not restricted to any specific display type.
  • User Input or Computed - String – Used for attributes that will be set as a free input or calculation. The result of the calculation or the value inputted by the user must be a string.

Non Standard Value(s) – If Yes, then the attribute is considered non-standard, i.e value(s) for the Quantity Attribute is/are entered by the administrator when defining the product. If you enter values here, then they will be pre-entered for the attribute.
Attribute Value Value shown on screen to user.
Attribute Value Code – Typically this is an abbreviation that can be related to the attribute (display) value. Most often used in configuration rules. This value is usually unseen by the user and is strictly used in the definition of the product.
Rank - This value is used to prepopulate value rank when an attribute is added to some product. The order of available attribute values within the configurator depends on this value.

If you are using the Value Code or Attribute Value in the rules of a product, any changes made to these values in the attribute administration will be made in the rules also. A change is not pushed to every area of the product definition, though. So it is recommended that you always use the Value Code of an attribute value in rules and calculations. Then any changes should be done only on the Attribute (Display) Value.

This initial screen has room for 5 values. More than 5 can be created by selecting Add More Values.

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