Use metadata to generate entity diagrams

Visual representation of metadata can be very useful, especially when you are trying to describe the relationship between entities in the system. You can use the Metadata Diagram sample code provided for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises) to generate the entity relationship diagrams. You can create a simple diagram that shows a relationship for just one entity, or a complex diagram that includes dozens of related entities, including custom and system entities.

Relationships in entity diagrams

The following example shows two new custom entities created in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises). The first entity represents a bank account and the second entity represents a safe deposit box. The following entity diagram was generated by using the Metadata Diagram tool. It shows the relationship between the new_bankaccount entity, the new_safedepositbox entity, and other entities in the system. The names shown are the logical entity names. Note that if there are multiple relationships between the same two entities, only one line is drawn in the diagram for simplicity.

Entity relationship diagram for custom entities

The following table shows the one-to-many relationships where the primary entity is either bank account or safe deposit box.

Relationship schema name Referencing entity
new_bankaccount_ActivityPointers activitypointer
new_bankaccount_Appointments appointment
new_bankaccount_Emails email
new_bankaccount_Faxes fax
new_bankaccount_Letters letter
new_bankaccount_PhoneCalls phonecall
new_bankaccount_ServiceAppointments serviceappointment
new_bankaccount_Tasks task
new_bankaccount_RecurringAppointmentMasters recurringappointmentmaster
new_bankaccount_DuplicateMatchingRecord duplicaterecord
new_bankaccount_DuplicateBaseRecord duplicaterecord
new_bankaccount_Annotations annotation
new_bankaccount_AsyncOperations asyncoperation
new_bankaccount_UserEntityInstanceDatas userentityinstancedata
new_bankaccount_ProcessSession processsession
new_bankaccount_BulkDeleteFailures bulkdeletefailure
new_bankaccount_PrincipalObjectAttributeAccesses principalobjectattributeaccess
new_new_bankaccount_new_safedepositbox new_safedepositbox
new_safedepositbox_ActivityPointers activitypointer
new_safedepositbox_Appointments appointment
new_safedepositbox_Emails email
new_safedepositbox_Faxes fax
new_safedepositbox_Letters letter
new_safedepositbox_PhoneCalls phonecall
new_safedepositbox_ServiceAppointments serviceappointment
new_safedepositbox_Tasks task
new_safedepositbox_RecurringAppointmentMasters recurringappointmentmaster
new_safedepositbox_DuplicateMatchingRecord duplicaterecord
new_safedepositbox_DuplicateBaseRecord duplicaterecord
new_safedepositbox_Annotations annotation
new_safedepositbox_AsyncOperations asyncoperation
new_safedepositbox_UserEntityInstanceDatas userentityinstancedata
new_safedepositbox_ProcessSession processsession
new_safedepositbox_BulkDeleteFailures bulkdeletefailure
new_safedepositbox_PrincipalObjectAttributeAccesses principalobjectattributeaccess

The following table shows the many-to-one relationships where the primary entity is either bank account or safe deposit box.

Relationship schema name Referenced entity
lk_new_bankaccount_createdby systemuser
lk_new_bankaccount_createdonbehalfby systemuser
lk_new_bankaccount_modifiedby systemuser
lk_new_bankaccount_modifiedonbehalfby systemuser
user_new_bankaccount systemuser
team_new_bankaccount team
owner_new_bankaccount owner
business_unit_new_bankaccount businessunit
new_account_new_bankaccount account
lk_new_safedepositbox_createdby systemuser
lk_new_safedepositbox_createdonbehalfby systemuser
lk_new_safedepositbox_modifiedby systemuser
lk_new_safedepositbox_modifiedonbehalfby systemuser
user_new_safedepositbox systemuser
team_new_safedepositbox team
owner_new_safedepositbox owner
business_unit_new_safedepositbox businessunit
new_new_bankaccount_new_safedepositbox new_bankaccount

The account entity that is shown on the diagram represents a bank customer. As a bank customer, you can open several bank accounts, such as checking and savings accounts, and also several safe deposit boxes. This is an example of a many-to-one relationship type between a bank account and a customer, and a safe deposit box and a customer. You can associate multiple activities, such as tasks, emails, and appointments with a bank account. To provide additional information about a bank account or a safe deposit box, you can use notes and attachments.

About the diagrams

You can find the diagrams for many system entities in the SDK documentation, in the topics that describe the entity capabilities. In each box in the diagram, the first line in bold text is the name of the entity. Subsequent lines contain the names of the attributes used to define the relationships for that entity. The tool does not generate lines showing the relationships to the following entities: organization, business unit, and user (systemuser). This is done to simplify the diagram. Color coding is used to indicate the owner relationship for each entity. The following diagram describes the color coding:

Diagram key for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement entity relationship diagrams

Generate entity diagrams with the metadata diagram tool

To use the sample code that will programmatically generate Office Visio metadata diagrams, build and execute the using the solutions from SDK sample.

Download the sample: Generate entity diagrams with the metadata diagram tool

After you download the sample, you can find the solution file in the following folder path: Generate entity diagrams with the metadata diagram tool\C#\Diagram.

The folder contains a Readme file with instructions for its use. The code sample is a stand-alone console application that creates an entity relationship diagram. The program requires Office Visio.

You can run the program at the command prompt. Simply list the entities you wish to include in the diagram as command-line arguments. Other entities may be included in your diagram as needed to show all the relationships for each entity you have requested. To generate a diagram that shows the relationships for the new_bankaccount and new_safedepositbox entities, use the following command:

MetadataDiagramConsole.exe new_bankaccount new_safedepositbox  

The name of the generated Visio file is new_bankaccount.vsd.

Note

The tool uses the name of the first entity on the command line as the name of the Visio file. If you execute the following two commands, the second command overwrites the diagram generated by the first. This is because the Visio files have the same name –”new_bankaccount.vsd”:

MetadataDiagramConsole.exe new_bankaccount

MetadataDiagramConsole.exe new_bankaccount new_safedepositbox

To avoid overwriting a generated diagram file, you have to rename the first file before you run the second command.

See also

Introduction to Entities in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises)
Extend the Metadata Model for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises)
Key to Entity Diagrams
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises) Entity Relationship Diagrams