Please hear me out, because you are going to see two words that could turn you off from reading the rest of this post.
Regardless of how long you have been using Spectrum, do yourself a favor and read through the Getting Started section of the Spectrum docs. I think we would scare fewer people away if we called it something less patronizing, but all I can think of is Spectrum Guts, and that is not really an improvement.
We used to put this stuff in a couple standalone guides, like the concepts guide and the knowledge base guide. It was the first stuff I read when I started. It lays out the fundamentals of Spectrum – database architecture, client-server communication, and most importantly, modeling technology and intelligence. What more elegant prose is there than:
“The CA Spectrum design is based on the client/server model. Its primary server, the SpectroSERVER, is responsible for collecting, storing, and processing data. The SpectroSERVER uses Inductive Modeling Technology (IMT) to perform these functions. IMT combines an object-oriented database and the intelligence of inference handlers. The object-oriented database contains model types…”
I’m going to stop there, because I’m starting to sweat.
Seriously, I did find it very interesting when I first read it. In any case, if you make it through the whole Getting Started section – all the way through “Relation Descriptions,” Spectrum will fall into place for you conceptually and probably make your life easier.