Release Notes 3.0.0

September 2006



OpenRules release 3.0.0 is a major release that essentially simplifies the configuration and integration of OpenRules-based applications.  The list of major improvements includes: 

After installation of the Release 3.0.0, you may get rid of old configurations xml-files and add the appropriate references to the table "Environment" in your main Excel-files.  OpenRules-3 provides an automatic converter that moves the old Eclipse projects to OpenRules-3.   However, manual modification of your Excel Environment tables may be required to reflect the specifics of your business rules repository organization.  The document "Moving To OpenRules-3" describes in detail how to move existing OpenRules projects to 3.0.0.


OpenRules-3 no longer uses Ant-based configuration files and related property files.  The absence of run-time Ant-files execution expedites start time for OpenRules-based applications. 

OpenRules no longer includes projects lib.ant, jacarta-tomcat, jacarta-tomcat-deployer, and lib.axis.  We assume that you have Ant already installed.  You also may use your own installation of Apache Tomcat and Axis (if you need them).  All jars-files you may need for the configuration of OpenRules projects are now located in the directory openrules.config/lib.  There are only two jars files that include OpenRules specific software:

  • openrules.all.jar

All other jars inside openrules.config/lib are commonly available under Open Source licenses.  There are a few build-files inside openrules.config that are used for the convenience of OpenRules sample projects but you do not need them in run-time.

After the installation of the Release 3.0.0, you may get rid of the old configurations files and add the appropriate references to the table "Environment" in your main Excel-files.  In updated sample projects most rules are located in a separate subdirectory "rules".  A program that invokes rules refers to the main xls-file using URL prefix notation such as "file:", "classpath:", "http://", "ftp://", etc.  For example, in the HelloJava project, the location is defined as a string
"file:rules/main/HelloCustomer.xls" that means that the main file HelloCustomer.xls is located in the subdirectory "rules/main" of the base project directory.

The changes you have to make to existing OpenRules projects are minimal, but necessary.  Please make sure that you save your working OpenRules installations before installing a new release. 

Support for Enterprise-class Business Rules Repositories

OpenRules Repository becomes more powerful and more flexible at the same time.  Presented as a hierarchy of inter-related Excel-based rulebooks, it can include xls-files and xml-files located at a local file system or at a remote web site.  OpenRules-3 provides a flexible and intuitive repository configuration interface that is suitable for business users - for details see a new document "Business Rules Repository".  An OpenRules repository can be managed with the standard tools such as recently introduced Google Spreadsheets as well as MS Excel or OpenOffice.  Rules version control is naturally provided by the standard version control systems such as Subversion or CVS.

Simplified integration with the latest web application servers

The fact that OpenRules-3 no longer requires Ant-based configurations essentially contributes to the simplicity of integrating OpenRules with such web application servers as IBM WebSphere and BEA WebLogic.  Previously, OpenRules required provide a special workaround to be integrated with these servers.  This workaround becomes obsolete with the introduction of OpenRules-3 and from now on OpenRules-based applications do not require any special treatment when integrated with WebSphere or WebLogic.  The integration instructions are provided in the User's Guide.

Redesigned Eclipse plug-in

OpenRules-3 comes with a completely redesigned Eclipse plug-in that supports all versions of Eclipse including the latest Eclipse 3.2.  A new plug-in provides a friendly error validation mechanism, is much smaller and easier to download, and no longer requires a particular workspace organization.  In addition to the Eclipse plug-in, OpenRules-3 provides a batch rules validator that control the validity of rules projects that do not use Eclipse - read more here.

Improved web service generation mechanism

OpenRules provides a push-button mechanism to deploy a rules project as a web service.  OpenRules-3 improves this mechanism: now we use the latest Apache Axis 1.4 and allow a user to pass any Java beans between server and client.  Newly generated web services can be naturally deployed on Tomcat, WebSphere, WebLogic or other web application servers.

A summary of other changes

  • New Environment table supports the following new attributes:
    • include.path
    • import.static
    • import.schema
  • OpenRulesEngine no longer requires a second parameter (the current class) and no longer uses environment variables "openrulesBaseDir" and "openrulesConfigDir".  You may define your own environment variables and use them inside the main-xls files definition.
  • A new OpenRulesSession has been introduced to support OpenRules Forms sessions.
  • All sample projects and their readme files are updated.  A new sample project "RulesRepository" demonstrates a new business rules repository organization. New projects HelloWebSphere and HelloWebLogic demonstrate integration with the correspondent web servers.
  • Release 3.0.0 fixes several bugs found by customers and testers.  Many changes and additions have been made in the open source OpenL software incorporated into OpenRules-3.  All changes are documented in the source code.
  • The web site as well as the online User's Guide have been modified to reflect changes introduced in OpenRules-3.  You may want to read new sections "Rules Repository", "Rule Engine", "Rules Validation Tools", "Deployment" and revisit sections "OpenRules API" and "OpenRules Configuration".

The OpenRules development team wants to thank all customers and colleagues who provided us with their valuable and constructive feedback.






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