I see that there are various ‘data types’ referred to in Make. Could someone explain the differences between a string, a collection, an array, etc.?
Also, is there an easy way of knowing which data type I’m dealing with at a certain moment?
Thank you so very much!
Great question! So what is a data type?
A Data type is an attribute associated with a piece of data that tells a computer system how to interpret its value . Understanding data types ensures that data is collected in the preferred format and the value of each property is as expected.
Let’s take a look at the list of data types:
- Text (or string)
- Number (or integer)
- Collection (or object)
Data types explained
A text data type is as simple like it sounds, a piece of text or how they also call it a “string”.
In programming string is normally identified when you see quotes around it (“string”), but the Make platform identifies this for you so you won’t see that.
A number is the same simple thing, a number interpreted by the program as a number (to be used in calculations for example), also called an Integer sometimes. Numbers can also be coming in as strings, but the moment you use them in calculations Make will make sure they are used as a number.
A date is a type which is used for dates or date + time. Using this allows you for example to act upon specific calculations using the date (for example X days after 2022-12-31). The date type is very powerful but can be confusing sometimes, since it always has to be a “date” type if you want to do calculations with it, even if it comes in as a string.
An array is one of the great data types used a lot within workflow automations. It is a data structure consisting of a collection of elements or variables, each identified by at least one array index or key. It allows you to do the same (or different) action for each item in an array, when you iterate over it.
In programming it’s a certain kind of Object, is a grouping of some variable number of data items (possibly zero) that have some shared significance to the problem being solved and need to be operated upon together in some controlled fashion. It’s created with a JSON object using a key; value standard.
Simple true or false is what they call a boolean. Great data type to check if certain value is as expected (if else statements).
How to identify the data type
In make, the platform identifies the incoming data for you so you can easily use it for calculations, modifications and what so on.
To identify this, you can go within the UI and look at the data output of a module:
If the output doesn’t show the data type, use another module to identify this. You can do it by:
- Opening another module after the module you want to identify
- Find the variable / dataset you want to identify
- Hover over the item
In here you see the above items are a text and a date.
How to use/create the data type
You can create these variables/items yourself easily using the Make UI. As you can see in the screenshot below each section has it’s own “data type”.
Using these tabs within the UI, you can make basically all data types you want.
This should help you! If you need an expert to assist in your project feel free to contact us.
If you have any questions, put them down below!
Bjorn, thanks so much for this fantastic post! You truly covered the whole kit and caboodle. The only thing I’d like to add is that ‘boolean’ is a fun word to pronounce
Amazing explanation! And very thorough too.
I would like to add that an array can have zero or more keys. An empty array is strictly speaking still an array.