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Compound attributes

Learn from this article:

What are compound attributes
How compound attributes appear

This article describes how to implement attribute with the compound data type.

What are compound attributes

Imagine use case with flights. Flight can have multiple attributes like origin city, destination city, date of flight and price. With regular data types like string, boolean, date, datetime, int or float, we are able to create separate attributes like:

  • List of destination cities - London, Prague, …
  • Last destination city - London
  • Total revenue from all flights in USD - 1024
  • Dates of all flights - 2018-12-01, 2019-01-01, …

However, using separate attributes one cannot build a segment containing “all customers who flew to London in December 2018”, because we do not know which date of flight belongs to which destination. That is why we need the attributes of the compound data type.

The goal is to create 1 attribute with the origin, destination, date and price as sub-attributes (dimensions) of the attribute.

How compound attributes appear

This is done by creating a new, independent, isolated attribute with the compound data type (sub-attributes can have any of standard scalar data types) in the attributes table. Then, calculating values for the attribute.

In attributes table create a new attribute (row).

Fill in all standard values like ID, name, description, all flags, etc.

Then, for the data type, fill compound like:


To see, what is going on, let’s break it down with some whitespace:


As you can see, the compound() is the name of the data type. Inside parentheses, there is a JSON array or arrays. The outer array is the array of sub-attributes. Each nested array is one sub-attribute.

The meaning of elements in the nested array is based on order. The first value is ID of sub-attribute (needs to be unique on sub-attribute level - no 2 sub-attributes in one attribute can have the same ID). The second value is the name of the sub-attribute (shown in UI). The third value is the data type of the sub-attribute, which can be any attribute scalar type: string, date, datetime, boolean, int or float. Sub-attribute can not be of type compound (no nested compound attributes). We are done with the attribute definition.

The value for such attribute will look like this:


Note: If it's a "List" type attribute, it will be multiple rows of values in the same format as the above JSON list.

The value is, again, a JSON array of 4 elements. First element is the origin, second destination, third date and fourth price. As you can see - the values follow the order of the sub-attributes defined in the attributes table’s column data_type. Note that all elements in the array must have double-quotes - be strings. The array must be homogenous.

There are multiple ways on how to calculate this attribute, here is one suggestion on how to do it.

	) as "value"
		payload->>'origin_city' as "origin",
		payload->>'destination_city' as "destination",
		payload->>'flight_date' as "date",
		payload->>'flight_price' as "price"
		 AND "version" IN ('1-0-0')
		 AND "type" IN ('flight')
		 AND "customer_entity_id" IS NOT null
	) AS prep

The whole idea behind this query is that one takes values of interest from the base and combine it into the JSON array using json_build_array function.