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Which is the functional difference between Gobal Variables and Custom Entities?

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Hi,

 

In Power Virtual Agents there are two key components which come to mind: Custom Entities and Global Variables.

When should I use custom entities rather than global variables (and vice versa)?

For example, let's suppose that I'm developing several power virtual agents to deal with many products, and I need to store the model information so that it can be reused across all chatbots: is it correct to use global variable here, or should I opt for custom entities? Why?

Can you explain to me the crucial difference between the two, and possibly provide some examples with relevant scenarios?

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  • MrE_MAE Profile Picture
    MrE_MAE 5 on at
    Re: Which is the functional difference between Gobal Variables and Custom Entities?

    So this means, that if ever you have a large amount of products, you don't want to replicate in every bot, you will access the dataverse product (table-entity) from the bots. 

    (i am really sorry about the various similar [undefined?] names for similar but not same things like 'entity' like dataverse-entity, bot-entity...)

  • Pstork1 Profile Picture
    Pstork1 1,954 on at
    Re: Which is the functional difference between Gobal Variables and Custom Entities?

    You are correct. I misunderstood your question and was talking about Entity models, which is another name for Dataverse Tables.  In terms of the internal bot Entities the primary difference is the entities ability to interpret or limit user input. Variables just record what the user types, but Entities can apply regex patterns or match and transform a user's input to a different form.  For example, the age entity can transform a written age into a number. For a variable you would need to do that on your own.

  • MrE_MAE Profile Picture
    MrE_MAE 5 on at
    Re: Which is the functional difference between Gobal Variables and Custom Entities?

    I cannot confirm that. From my perspective the entities are bot-specific.

    I tried to go to https://web.powerva.microsoft.com
    i made sure to remain in the same environment

    2 Copilots created. 

    Co-Pilot 1: created new entity list with cars

    Co-Pilot 2: created new entity with bikes.

    both of the pilots published.

     

    When I go to each Co-Pilot, section Entities, I can just see the Entity created there. I cannot See the List of cars in Co-Pilot 2. Just the list of bikes. Vice-versa I can only see the list of Cars in Co-Pilot one and not the list of bikes. However use custom entities in "several power virtual agents", i would expect cars AND bikes be visible in both Co Pilot Virtual Entities. 

    When I switch to the dataverse make.powerapps.com and chose the respective environment, i don't see any table (aka 'entity') there that refers to this (not even in the default solution (another question: how can I possibly add a copilot to a solution?)).

  • Pstork1 Profile Picture
    Pstork1 1,954 on at
    Re: Which is the functional difference between Gobal Variables and Custom Entities?

    The key difference would be that custom entities are stored in Dataverse tables. They are therefore permanent and can be retrieved from the tables by other bots, apps, or flows.  Global variables are only available inside the confines of a particular bot instance.  Once that session stops the Global variables go away.

     

    So you would use a Custom Entity to store things like customer information or a support request. A variable would be used to hold a response to a question so you can decide how to escalate the support request.

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