Core Concepts and Definitions
This page describes the core concepts and definitions that you’ll see throughout this documentation. These terms and concepts can help you understand the components of the Metadata API, using GraphQL, and how these components relate to what you see and interact with on Tableau Online or Tableau Server.
In this section
- Catalog - a tool that ingests, indexes, and centralizes metadata about your Tableau Online or Tableau Server content and their assets. A catalog enables you to build queries to access the metadata.
- Content - a set of objects (and their metadata) that you can interact with using the Metadata API. Content is typically Tableau-specific objects that you can publish to or create on Tableau Online or Tableau Server. Content can include workbooks and projects.
- Assets - a set of objects (and their attributes) that you can interact with using the Metadata API. Assets are external to Tableau and therefore non-Tableau specific objects. Assets include databases and tables.
- Metadata - the information about your content and assets that you can query using the Metadata API.
- Lineage - reveals the origin of an object and its relationship to other related objects in Tableau Online or Tableau Server.
- Impact analysis - using lineage, understand impact of a change through upstream and downstream relationships among objects.
- Metadata model - the underling rules that Tableau uses to define the roles, relationships, and attributes of a set of related objects.
- GraphQL schema - describes the functionality available through the Metadata API.
- Query - a request for data.
- Object - the item you interact with on Tableau Online or Tableau Server.
- Attribute - a component or characteristic of an object.
- Upstream (object) - when traversing lineage, whatever information that is above the object you’re evaluating.
- Downstream (object) - when traversing lineage, whatever information that is below the objects you’re evaluating.
- Shortcut - a GraphQL field enabled through the Metadata API that queries for common upstream and downstream objects.
- Field description inheritance - describes field description attributes that can be inherited from upstream objects.
- Linked flow - a shortcut type that traverses lineage of flows and provides structural metadata about relationships of upstream or downstream flows.
- Graph - a GraphQL term for a snapshot of the relationship between objects. Graphs are created to get a real-time, real-world shape of your Tableau Online or Tableau Server objects. In this documentation, we will refer to a graph as a “query.”
- Root object - a GraphQL term for the most fundamental type of operation that the GraphQL schema supports. The Metadata API supports a “read” query type.
- Query - a GraphQL term for a “read” type of a root object.
- Mutation - a GraphQL term for a “write” type of root object. To add or update metadata, use the Tableau Server REST API.
- Node - a GraphQL term for an implementation of the catalog. A node is a representation of data.
- Edge - a GraphQL term for the connection between nodes. An edge represents some type of relationship between two nodes.
- Interface - A GraphQL term for an implementation of objects that have certain attributes and properties in common.
- Field - a GraphQL term for an attribute of a node. In this documentation, we will refer to the field as the “object” on which you can query.
- Object type - a GraphQL term for an attribute of an object. The attributes of an object depend on the object itself and its relationship to other objects.