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We all may have seen applications like JIRA, or many CRM or other applications that allow its users to define their own custom fields to an entity, and do a variety of stuff with it, like making them mandatory, validate their values and so on.

I want to do just that in the Product we are creating.

Let's assume our product allows a user to create his/her own Project. A project has pre-defined attributes such as

  • Name (String)
  • Description (CLOB)
  • Type (String)
  • Owner (String)
  • Status (String)

Now, as a user, I would like to add the following custom field to my project

  • Due Date (Date)

Ideally he should be able to create a custom field in my product which would capture the following details:

  • Name of the field
  • Type of the field
  • Default Value
  • List of values (if the field is to be a drop down list)
  • Mandatory or not

Similarly, I would like to allow this feature of adding custom attributes not only to a project, but to a few other entities as well.

This is the technology stack we're using and so far we're pretty ok with it.

  • Spring MVC, JSP and jQuery as the Web Framework and for the Views
  • JPA with Hibernate for persistence
  • Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL - Currently our product works on these databases.

How do I approach this requirement? I would like to be educated on the following:

  • How to I decide the best data model for this? Do I add a separate table for custom field definitions, and another one for their values, and associate them to my entity by means of a foreign key?
  • What should I do in my JSP/JS Layer to dynamically paint a screen with whatever custom fields that are defined?
  • How do I let Spring MVC and Hibernate handle all this data model and the views?

I'm extremely sorry if my question is not framed or worded properly. I'm relatively new to these technologies, and would like to learn with each challenge.

Thanks, Sriram

  • I think this is a good question but I'd suggest focusing it. At present you have 2 question; database/hibernate and the view part. I would suggest asking about only one (and asking a separate question if necessary). Personally the hibernate part seems the more challenging part of this – Richard Tingle Jan 6 '17 at 22:17

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