||Capture, automate, and reuse your business processes in a clear English language that your computer can understand.
- An easy-to-understand JBoss Drools business rules tutorial for non-programmers
- Automate your business processes such as order processing, supply management, staff activity, and more
- Prototype, test, and implement workflows by themselves using business rules that are simple statements written in an English-like language
- Discover advanced features of Drools to write clear business rules that execute quickly
- For confident users of Excel or other business software, this book is everything you need to learn JBoss Drools business rules and successfully automate your business.
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Sample Chapter 4 Guided Rules with the Guvnor [2.0 MB]
Table of Contents
Paperback 305 pages [191mm x 235mm]
Release date April 2009
ISBN 13 978-1-847196-06-4
Author(s) Paul Browne
Topics and Technologies Open Source, Java
A comprehensive, practical guide for business analysts and non-programmers to harnessing JBoss Drools Business Rules in your organization
In business, a lot of actions are trigged by rules: “Order more ice cream when the stock is below 100 units and temperature is above 25° C”, “Approve credit card application when the credit background check is OK, past relationship with the customer is profitable, and identity is confirmed”, and so on. Traditional computer programming languages make it difficult to translate this “natural language” into a software program. But JBoss Rules (also known as Drools) enables anybody with basic IT skills and an understanding of the business to turn statements such as these into running computer code.
This book will teach you to specify business rules using JBoss Drools, and then put them into action in your business. You will be able to create rules that trigger actions and decisions, based on data that comes from a variety of sources and departments right across your business. Regardless of the size of your business, you can make your processes more effective and manageable by adopting JBoss Rules.
Banks use business rules to process your mortgage (home loan) application, and to manage the process through each step (initial indication of amount available, actual application, approval of the total according to strict rules regarding the amount of income, house value, previous repayment record, swapping title deeds, and so on).
Countries such as Australia apply business rules to visa applications (when you want to go and live there)—you get points for your age, whether you have a degree or masters, your occupation, any family members in the country, and a variety of other factors.
Supermarkets apply business rules to what stock they should have on their shelves and where—this depends upon analyzing factors such as how much shelf space there is, what location the supermarket is in, what people have bought the week before, the weather forecast for next week (for example, ice cream in hot weather), and what discounts the manufacturers are giving.
This book shows how you can use similar rules and processes in your business or organization. It begins with a detailed, clear explanation of business rules and how JBoss Rules supports them.
You will then see how to install and get to grips with the essential software required to use JBoss Rules. Once you have mastered the basic tools, you will learn how to build practical and effective of the business rule systems.
The book provides clear explanations of business rule jargon. You will learn how to work with Decision Tables, Domain-Specifi c Languages (DSL)s, the Guvnor and JBoss Integrated Development Environment (IDE), workflow and much more.
By the end of the book you will know exactly how to harness the power of JBoss Rules in your business.
Read the full Table of Contents for JBoss Drools Business Rules
- Understand the basics of business rules and JBoss rules with minimal effort
- Install the required software easily and learn to use the Guvnor, which is a user-friendly web editor that’s also powerful enough to test our rules as we write them
- Learn to write sophisticated rules and import the fact model into the Guvnor and then build a guided rule around it, which makes your web pages a lot clearer
- Gain complete knowledge of what we can do with the Guvnor rule editor, and then use the JBoss IDE as an even more powerful way of writing rules, and automate processes for discounts, orders, sales, and more
- Know the structure of the rule file through the example of a shipping schedule, which will help you with your own shipping schedule
- Test your rules not only in the Guvnor, but also using FIT for rule testing against requirements documents; run unit tests using JUnit for error-free rules and interruption-free services
- Specifically, non-developers can work with Excel spreadsheets as a fact model to develop business processes without learning any other new technology
- Work with DSLs (Domain-Specific Languages) and rule flow to make writing rules easy; which makes staff training quicker and your working life easier
- Deploy your business rules to the real world, which completes your project successfully, and combine this into a web project using the framework of your choice to provide better services
- Benefit from concepts such as truth maintenance, conflict resolution, pattern matching rules agenda, and the Rete algorithm to provide advanced and faster business systems so that staff efficiency is maximized
Chapter 1, Drooling over JBoss Rules. This chapter gives you a good platform to understand business rules and JBoss rules. We look at the problems that you might have (and why you’re probably reading this book). We look at what business rule engines are, and how they evaluate business rules that appear very simple and how they become powerful when multiple rules are combined.
Chapter 2, Getting the software, deals with installation. This chapter explains setting up Java, setting up Business Rule Management System (BRMS)/Guvnor running on the JBoss App Server, setting up Eclipse, and installing the Drools Plug-in. It also details the installation of the Drools examples for this book and the Maven to build them.
Chapter 3, Meet the Guvnor, deals with writing our rules using the ‘Guvnor’. Guvnor is the user-friendly web editor that’s also powerful enough to test our rules as we write them. We take up an example to make things easier. Then we look at the various Guvnor screens, and see that it can not only write rules (using both guided and advanced editors), but that it can also organize rules and other assets in packages, and also allow us to test and deploy those packages. Finally, we write our very first business rule—the traditional ‘Hello World’ message announcing to everyone that we are now business rule authors.
Chapter 4, Guided Rules with the Guvnor. This chapter shows how to use the Guvnor rule editor to write some more sophisticated rules. It also shows how to get information in and out of our rules, and demonstrates how to create the fact model needed to do this. We import our new fact model into the Guvnor and then build a guided rule around it. Finally we test our rule as a way of making sure that it runs correctly.
Chapter 5, From Guvnor to JBoss IDE. This chapter pushes the boundries of what we can do with the Guvnor rule editor, and then brings in the JBoss IDE as an even more powerful way of writing rules. We start by using variables in our rules example. Then we discuss rule attributes (such as salience) to stop our rules from making changes that cause them to fi re again and again. After testing this successfully, we look at text-based rules, in both the Guvnor and the JBoss IDE, for running ‘Hello World’ in the new environment.
Chapter 6, More Rules in the jBoss IDE. This chapter looks again at the structure of a rule fi le. At the end of this chapter, we look at some more advanced rules that we can write and run in the IDE.
Chapter 7, Testing your Rules. This chapter explains how testing is not a standalone activity, but part of an ongoing cycle. In this chapter we see how to test our rules, not only in the Guvnor, but also using FIT for rule testing against requirements documents. This chapter also explains Unit Testing using JUnit.
Chapter 8, Data in Excel, Rules in Excel. This chapter explains how to use Excel Spreadsheets (cells and ranges) as our fact model to hold information, instead of the write-your-own-JavaBean approach we took earlier. Then we use Excel spreadsheets to hold Decision tables, to make repetitive rules easier to write.
Chapter 9, Domain-Specific Languages [DSL] and rule flow. This chapter aims to make our rules both easier to use, and more powerful. We start with DSLs—Domain-Specifi c Languages. This chapter follows on from the ‘easy to write rules’ theme from the previous chapter and also discusses both ruleflow and workflow. It would be great to draw a workfl ow diagram to see/control what (groups of) rules should fi re and when. Rule flow gives us this sort of control.
Chapter 10, Deploying rules in real life. This chapter shows you how to deploy your business rules into the real world. We look at the pieces that make up an entire web application, and where rules fit into it. We see the various options to deploy rules as part of our application, and the team involved in doing so. Once they are deployed, we look at the code that would load and run the rules—both home-grown and using the standard RuleAgent. Finally we see how to combine this into a web project using the framework of your choice.
Chapter 11, Peeking under the covers. This chapter looks at what happens under the cover by opening up the internals of the Drools rule engine to understand concepts such as truth maintenance, confl ict resolution, pattern matching, and the rules agenda. In this chapter, we explore the Rete algorithm and discuss why it makes rules run faster than most comparable business logic. Finally we see the working memory audit log and the rules debug capabilities of the Drools IDE.
Chapter 12, Other Drools features. This chapter deals with the other advanced Drools features that have not yet been covered. This includes Smooks to bulk load data, Complex Event Processing, and Drools solver to provide solutions where traditional techniques would take too long.
This book takes a practical approach, with step-by-step instructions. It doesn’t hesitate to talk about the technologies, but takes time to explain them (to an Excel power-user level). There is a good use of graphics and code where necessary.
If you are a business analyst – somebody involved with enterprise IT but at a high level, understanding problems and planning solutions, rather than coding in-depth implementations – then this book is for you.
If you are a business user who needs to write rules, or a technical person who needs to support rules, this book is for you.
If you are looking for an introduction to rule engine technology, this book will satisfy your needs.
If you are a business user and want to write rules using Guvnor/JBoss IDE, this book will be suitable for you.
This book will also suit your need if you are a business user and want to understand what Drools can do and how it works, but would rather leave the implementation to a developer.
Paul Browne’s first job was selling computers in France and things went steadily downhill from there. He spent millons on behalf of a UK telephone company’s procurement department and implemented direct marketing for a well-known Texan computer maker before joining the IT department of a company that builds bright red tractors and other seriously cool machines.
Paul then embraced his techie side (he was writing games in machine code from the age of 11) and started a consultancy that used IT to solve business problems for companies in the financial and public sectors in Ireland, UK , Belgium, and New Zealand. Eight years later, he now works with an Irish government agency that helps similar software companies to grow past their initial teething pains.
More formally, Paul has a bachelor’s degree in Business and French from the University of Ulster, a master’s degree in Advanced Software from UCD Dublin, a post-grad qualification in Procurement from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (UK), and will someday complete his ACCA financial exams.
Paul can be found on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulbrowne , and via the Red Piranha (Business knowledge) project at http://code.google.com/p/red-piranha/ .
Congratulations Paul! A book is no small feat, and the more books on the business rules approach the better!
– Daniel Selman
Thanks – you wouldn’t be able to add me to your ‘business rules blogs’ blogroll on your excellent blog?
Congrats Paul. I’m thrilled for you. It’s always great to know a published author. Well done you.
Hi, I’ve bought your very helpful book.
However, on trying to install the sample projects for the book using mvn clean package as per page 51, for the chapter 8 and 11 samples I keep getting a Build Error with:
Unable to find resource ‘xpp3:xpp3:pom:220.127.116.11.o’
– it’s obviously looking in all the repositories but getting nowhere.
It suggests downloading the file manually – but I don’t know which site to find it on? (the mvn clean package build for chapters 6 and 8 did however succeed).
The mvn eclipse:clean eclipse:eclipse build for ch 8 and ch 11 succeeded but still with:
[WARNING] An error occurred during dependency resolution.
Failed to retrieve xpp3:xpp3-18.104.22.168.o
Caused by: Unable to download the artifact from any repository
Do you have any suggestions please? It would be much appreciated.
Glad you found the book helpful and thanks for your question.
I’ll post an update / more detailled answer over on the Red-Piranha site where the code samples are located.
I think the problem is the XPP is a dependency of some of the core libraries used in the samples. It’s looking for a particular version – perhaps the quickest way is to google for them, and install them manually (you appear to be comfortable with using Maven).
Of course, if you’re comfortable with using Maven, you’ve probably already tried that 🙂