Workspace Components

A workspace is the primary element in an FME translation and is responsible for storing a translation definition. Think of a workspace as the container for all the functionality of a translation, which is stored in the following components:

Readers and Writers

A reader is the FME term for the component in a translation that reads a source dataset. Likewise, a writer is the component that writes to a destination dataset.

Readers and writers are represented by entries in the Navigator window.

Feature Types

Feature type is the FME term that describes a subset of records. Common alternatives for this term are layer, table, sheet, feature class, and object class. For example, each layer in a DWG file, or each table in an Oracle database, is defined by a feature type in FME.

Feature types are represented by objects that appear on the Workbench canvas.


Features are the smallest single components of an FME translation.

They aren’t individually represented within a workspace, except by the feature counts on a completed translation.


Each workspace can contain multiple readers and writers, each of which can have multiple feature types, with multiple features. They exist in a hierarchy that looks like this:

A workspace with multiple readers and writers might look like this:

This workspace has two readers (each with three feature types), and three writers (with one, two, and one feature types). Each reader and writer is a different format, and each has a different name for its feature types.

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