Main Content

Reference Data Dictionaries

Referenced dictionaries in System Composer™ can be useful when:

  • Multiple models need to share some, but not all, interface definitions.

  • Multiple models need to communicate with one another.

A data dictionary can reference one or more other data dictionaries. The interface definitions in the referenced dictionaries are visible in the parent dictionary and can be used by a model that is linked to the parent dictionary. For interfaces terminology, see Define Port Interfaces Between Components.

To create a data dictionary from interfaces in a model dictionary, see Manage Interfaces with Data Dictionaries.

Add Referenced Data Dictionaries

To add a dictionary reference, open the Model Explorer by clicking manage dictionary and references in Model Explorer, or by navigating to Modeling > Model Explorer.

On the right side of the Model Explorer app, click Add, then select the file name of the data dictionary to add as a referenced dictionary. To remove a dictionary reference, highlight the referenced dictionary, then click Remove.

Model Explorer window with "Add" button on right, after selecting other Dictionary as the reference.

The Interface Editor shows all interfaces accessible to a model, grouped based on their data dictionary files. In this example, myDictionary.sldd is the data dictionary linked to the model, and otherDictionary.sldd is a referenced dictionary.

Referenced dictionary in model shown in the Interface Editor.

The model can use any of the interfaces listed. You can modify the contents of referenced dictionaries in the Interface Editor.


Referenced dictionaries can reference other data dictionaries. A model that links to a dictionary has access to all interface definitions in referenced dictionaries, including indirectly referenced dictionaries.

Use Referenced Data Dictionaries for Projects with Multiple Models

A project may contain multiple models, and it may be useful for the models to share interface definitions that are relevant to data flows and other communications between models. For more information, see Organize System Composer Files in Projects.

At the same time, each model may have interface definitions that are relevant only to its internal operations. For example, different components of a system may be represented by different models, with different teams or different suppliers working on each model, with a system integrator working on the "top" model that incorporates the various components. Referenced data dictionaries provide a way for models to share some but not all interface definitions.

In such a multiple-team project, set up a "shared artifacts" data dictionary to store interface definitions that will be shared by different teams, then set up a data dictionary for each model within the project to store its own interface definitions. Each data dictionary can then add the shared data dictionary as a referenced data dictionary. Alternatively, if a model does not need its own interface definitions, that model can link directly to the shared data dictionary.

To generate a dependency graph between models and data dictionaries, use the Dependency Analyzer.

Hierarchy diagram showing project with three models and three data dictionaries, one of which is referenced by the two others.

The above diagram depicts a project with three models. The model mSystem.slx represents a system integration model, and mSupplierA.slx and mSuppierB.slx represent supplier models. The data dictionary dShared.sldd contains interface definitions shared by all the models. The system integration model is linked to the data dictionary dSystem.sldd, and the Supplier A model is linked to the data dictionary dSupplierA.sldd; each data dictionary contains interface definitions relevant to the corresponding model's internal workflow. The data dictionaries dSystem.sldd and dSupplierA.sldd both reference the shared dictionary dShared.sldd. The mSuppierB.slx model, by contrast, is linked directly to the shared dictionary dShared.sldd. In this way, all three models have access to the interface definitions in dShared.sldd.

The following diagrams show the system integration model mSystem, along with the Interface Editor. Interface definitions contained in the referenced dictionary dShared are associated with the ports used to communicate between the models mSupplierA and mSupplierB and the rest of the system integration model.

System Composer canvas showing the mSystem model with Interface Editor.

The following diagrams show the supplier model mSupplierA, along with the Interface Editor. Interface definitions contained in the referenced dictionary dShared are associated with the ports used to communicate externally, while interface definitions in the private dictionary dSupplierA are associated with ports whose use is internal to the mSupplierA model.

System Composer canvas showing the mSupplierA model.

See Also

| |

Related Topics