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What does it mean to "Derive" from a Template?

While the creation of a template is similar to creating a model, deriving template entities refers to creating a template entity that is linked to another template.

Essentially, the process of deriving involves creating a copy of a template, but the copy (the derived entity) is linked to the original template.  

Thus, any changes made to the original template entity will notify any derived template entities as to the pending change, and it is possible to synchronize any derived template entities to the original template entity.

In order to derive a template entity, one needs to Shift+Drag (i.e. hold down the Shift key while dragging) the original / source template to another location in the Templates tab. 

You cannot derive a template entity into the same parent as the original template.

  • If you are deriving a template measure, you will need to shift+drag the original template measure onto a template metric
  • If you are deriving a template metric, you will need to shift+drag the original template metric onto a template folder
  • If you are deriving a template folder, you can shift+drag the template folder onto another template folder OR onto a folder 

If you forget to hold down the Shift key, and you drag a template from one place in the Templates tree to another, Flow will move the item that you dragged rather than derive from that item.

See the summary of all possible interactions with the Templates tree view.

Deriving template entities will result in new template entities.  One can visually identify a derived template entity: a derived template entity has a green icon, while a standard/base template entity has a gray icon.

Templates-DerivingFromBaseTemplate.png

 

Template derivation is particularly useful where you have a common configuration that you need to repeat throughout your Flow system. 

For example, it may be that for multiple KPIs, you are interested in the KPI values at the following intervals: daily, week to date (WTD), month to date (MTD), year to date (YTD), once a week, and once a month. 

You can do this rapidly by creating a "base" template metric that has measures with these interval types, and then derive this base template multiple times for each of the KPIs.

In the above picture the base template metric named "Type 1" has been derived twice.  The two derived template metrics have been named "Filler 1" and "Filler 2".  

When you derive from a template metric that contains measures whose names are prefixed by that of the template metric name (as in the above example, where all measures start with the template metric name "Type 1"), Flow will automatically rename all the derived template measures to include the derived template metric name that you provide.  In the above example, when the derived template metric name was entered as "Filler 1", Flow replaced the "Type 1" in the template with "Filler 1" for all the contained measures.  Likewise with the "Filler 2" derived template metric.

Because you can choose to keep the Format and the Unit unlocked in the base template, you can update these as applicable for each of the derived template.
Tip: Before deriving from a base template, use the defaults toolbar to set the Format and Unit.  The derived template measures will automatically be configured with the default Format and Unit.
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