Popular DOC xPress Search Feature Now Available in SentryOne Document

John McAree

Published On: December 15, 2020

Categories: DataOps, SentryOne Document, Data Dictionary 0

SentryOne is delighted to announce the release of SentryOne Document 2020.24, which gives you the ability to search your Data Dictionary within your documentation! The team has been working on this feature for several months now, with the indexing being captured as of SentryOne Document 2020.23. Data Dictionary Search is one of the key features that DOC xPress users had been asking for in SentryOne Document Software, so I'm excited to demonstrate how powerful it can be for your organization.

How Do I Access Data Dictionary Search?

If you have created your SentryOne Document solution in version 2020.24 or later, you are ready to go!

If your SentryOne Document solution was created prior to version 2020.24, there are a few additional steps you'll need to take.

  1. Make sure you have updated your SentryOne Document Remote Agent to at least version 2020.24.
    • You can verify your Remote Agent version through the web UI of either the SaaS version of SentryOne Document or in SentryOne Document Software.
    • Select the cog wheel icon (⚙) on the navigation bar and go to Remote Agents. Any remote agents that have been registered with your organization will be listed, and you can check their version. If you need to upgrade, it's a pretty straightforward process.
  2. Go to Data Dictionary > Categories in the web UI and create a new (temporary) category. Ensure that it applies to All Solutions, Solution Items, and Global Technology Type.
  3. In the Applicable Items dropdown menu, select every item and save the new category.
  4. Return to the Solutions screen and request a snapshot for the solution.
  5. Once that snapshot is completed, you can go back and delete the temporary category.

So I've Got My Snapshot. What's Next?

Once your snapshots have completed, select the Documentation icon for the solution you want to search (or select Documentation from the navigation bar and then select the solution). The first thing you'll notice is that we've added a dropdown next to the search term field. This allows you to target where you want to search—Documentation, Data Dictionary, or All. There will also be options displayed for specific Data Dictionary categories. 

Note: Not all categories will be listed here. SentryOne Document only allows field-specific searches for the following data types: Text, Number, DropDown, and PickList. For other data types, you can still find content via a general search.

A simple use case here is if you want to keep track of objects that are related to particular projects. Using the Data Dictionary, you can tag them with a Project Name/Id. With Data Dictionary Search, it's now simple to pull up a list of anything tagged with that name or id.

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Exposing the Power of Data Dictionary

The ability to perform an advanced search of individual categories can really expose the power of the Data Dictionary.

In today's world, information security has become a first-class citizen of any organization. Many businesses need to keep track of any personally identifiable information (PII) that they might hold about customers. Using the Data Dictionary feature in SentryOne Document, it is a simple process to tag information that can contain PII.

First, create a Data Dictionary category to track PII. You can apply it to whatever you want, but in this example we are applying it to SQL Server Table Columns. The Data Type could also be Text, for example, but in this scenario we have created a Value List to restrict the values to either Yes or No.

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Once the category is created, go to the Global Entry screen and create a Global Entry for this category, with a Value of No.

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Now that the Data Dictionary is configured, snapshot your solution.

When the snapshot is complete, select Documentation. You can see that the Global Entry has been applied to all our table columns. Perfect!

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At this point, we can override the Global Entry where applicable so that any data that might be PII can be set to Yes.

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Once that setup is done, any time you need to identify where PII is stored in your data estate, a simple search will do the trick. By entering or selecting the category name, with "Yes" as the Search term, it will return any objects that have been tagged as such.

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You can try this feature out for yourself in the SentryOne Document live demo, which has Data Dictionary entries already set up. Try searching for customer under "All," DW Team under the "Owning Team" category, or yes under the "Contains PII" category.

Search Tips

When using a General search (i.e., using "All" or "Data Dictionary Only" search mode), the results will show matches for any of the search terms on a particular page of documentation. So, if you have a category of "Ice Cream" and search for "mint chocolate," it will return any pages that have either "mint" or "chocolate."

However, with a Field-specific search, the results will only return where there has been an exact match of the search term(s). So if you're performing a search with the "Ice Cream" category set in the search mode field, it will return pages that have a value of "mint chocolate" for the "Ice Cream" category, but won't return pages that have a value of "chocolate" or "chocolate mint."

What's Next?

I hope that you find this blog post useful to illustrate how powerful Data Dictionary can be in your efforts to maintain an audit of your metadata. The ability to search it now provides a new way to report on that audit. We have some more exciting features planned for 2021 that will further enhance the usability and power of Data Dictionary, so stay tuned.

In the meantime,  try it out for yourself! Check out the SentryOne Document live demo or sign up for a free trial!

John McAree is a software engineering manager at SentryOne, bringing more than 10 years experience as a full-stack engineer with the Microsoft technology stack. John has had a strong focus on building secure, user-friendly web applications and driving team productivity in a number of industries, including health & social care, logistics and financial services. At SentryOne, John has worked on a number of SaaS offerings, and has learned to stop worrying and love JavaScript.


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