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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Generic Thing Pattern

Generic Thing Pattern

Hay (1996) introduced a powerful data model by 'extracting the essence of each thing in order to deal with it as more of an abstraction'.

The context meaning for the diagram is:

A 'Thing Type' (aka a type of a thing) has many 'Attributes'.
A 'Thing' belongs to a 'Thing Type'.
A 'Thing' has its values which is associated with 'Attibutes'

Its conventions of thought has been influencing many database designers and researchers. Silverton (2001) expanded this to introduce a flexible People and Organisations pattern.

A dynamic form creator, Horde Ulaform (2005), based on the 'Thing' pattern uses the 'Thing Type' and 'Attribute' to define the form and uses the 'Thing' and 'Value' for storage of form fields values. It is a robus application which allows for easy creation of forms, but lacks of the relationships between entities which is what the database's power about. Furthermore it doesn't store the historical data of form fields. In terms of version manangement, it only store the current values of form fields. So it won't be suitable for version management for form data storage.


Hay D.C., 1996. Data Model Patterns: Conventions of Thought. New York: Doset House Publishing co., inc.

Silverston L, 2001. The Data Model Resource Book. Volume 1: A Library of Universal Data Models for All Enterprise. Revised Edition. Canada: Wiley.

Horde. 2005. Ulaform [online]. Available from: [Accessed 15 February 2005].

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