Families, inheritance, and specialization

OctoPIM offers different features to do justice to your product diversity. Here we present the correct use, concrete application examples, and further possible uses of families in more detail.  

Families and base families

From base families, additional families which inherit the product properties (attributes) can be derived. Products can be created from these additional families.

Attributes and
attribute groups

The characteristics of products are described by means of attributes. These characteristics can include description, color, and size. 

Similar attributes are structured into attribute groups. In the example on the left, the attribute group Design consists of the attributes Main color, Additional colors, and Pattern. Structuring into groups serves the purpose of quality, homogeneity, and comparability, especially when there are a large number of attributes. 


In a base family, general attributes are maintained that have multiple product groups in common. In the example on the right, this applies to the attributes Manufacturer, Fiber type, Size, and Description. These attributes no longer need to be defined in the concrete families, as they are inherited. This enables a uniform attribute structure across product groups. Products cannot be created from base families. This is only possible with a family.


Some articles are handled as separate products even though they have almost identical features. For example, a book and the corresponding e-book share virtually the same data, but a printed book does not require information on download size. As a result of the different attributes, separate families are created for e-books and printed books. Otherwise, attributes that do not match the product could lead to incorrect entries. 

Where only a few of the attributes differ, the workload for creating the families is enormous. By means of specialization, you have the possibility of maintaining suitable attributes for each product without having to create a separate family for it. The screenshot on the left  shows the product overview with the specialization. 

A product comes from a family

When creating a product, all attributes previously created in the family are filled in.
In OctoPIM there is a possibility to create rules for filling in these fields. These rules are automatically applied to all products, so you have an overview of all data problems in your  system and can tackle them efficiently. 

One possible rule for example would be the number of characters that a description should include.  

In this way, complete, consistent, and high-quality data is ensured. 

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Further use cases

In our article "The Versatility of a Product Information Management System" (in german), we describe in detail a classic PIM use case as well as four further use cases that appear unusual at first glance.