Convert local data type to data structure

Efficient data management is a cornerstone of robust application development. In OutSystems, understanding and utilizing data structures can significantly enhance the manageability and scalability of your applications. This development tip will delve into the concept of local variables, their limitations, and how transforming these into structured data types can benefit your projects.

Understanding Local Variables

Local variables in OutSystems are defined within a specific scope, which could be a screen, client action, service action, or server action. These variables are designed to hold temporary values that are accessible only within their defined scope. While local variables are integral for managing data flow within actions and screens, they have their limitations, especially when dealing with complex data or multiple related data items.

The Power of Data Structures

Data structures come into play when developers need to organize and manage multiple related variables more effectively. In OutSystems, data structures are used to store and organize various types of data under a unified container. These structures can include different data types and are crucial for maintaining clean, readable, and maintainable code. Common data structures in OutSystems include:

  • Structures: Allow grouping of different data types under one umbrella.
  • Lists: Manage sequences of elements of the same type or structure.
  • Records: Combine data items of different types together, similar to structures, but often used in different contexts.


Converting Local Variables into Structures

Imagine a scenario where you are managing a user’s information within your application. You have local variables for the user’s name, email address, and employment history. Handling these as separate variables can quickly become cumbersome and error-prone, especially when passing data across different parts of the application.

Advantages to Converting Local Variables into a Structure

  • Group Related Variables: Start by identifying variables that logically belong together. For instance, all variables holding user information should be grouped.
  • Create a Structure: In OutSystems Service Studio, you can easily create a structure by right-clicking on the data tab and selecting the option “Create Structure from Data”. This allows you to define a new structure that encapsulates the related variables.
  • Enhance Code Quality: By converting multiple related local variables into a single structure, you improve the code’s readability and maintainability. Structures make it easier to pass complex data between different parts of the application seamlessly and with less risk of error.
  • Benefits of Using Structures
  • Improved Maintainability: Changes to the data model are centralized within the structure, reducing the risk of inconsistencies.
  • Enhanced Readability: Structures provide a clear and logical organization of the data, making the code easier to understand and modify.
  • Efficient Data Management: With structured data, developers can more effectively manage and manipulate complex information, improving overall application performance.


Structures in OutSystems offer a powerful way to manage complex and related data efficiently. By converting local variables into structures, developers can significantly improve the maintainability, readability, and functionality of their applications. This practice not only simplifies the development process but also enhances the robustness of the applications you build.

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