Release Notes 5.3

March 2009


OpenRules Release 5.3 introduces External Rules allowing a user to create and maintain their business rules outside of Excel-based rule tables. It provides a generic Java API for adding business rules from different external sources such as:

  • Database tables created and modified by standard DB management tools

  • Live rule tables in memory dynamically modified by an external GUI

  • Java objects of the predefined type RuleTable

  • Problem-specific rule sources that implement a newly offered rules provider interface.

With external rules you may keep the business parts of your rules in any external source while the technical part (Java snippets) will remain in an Excel-based template, depending on which actual rules will be created and executed by the OpenRulesEngine. For example, you may keep your rules in a regular database table as long as its structure corresponds to the columns (conditions and actions) of an Excel template. Thus, the standard DB management tools, or even your own GUI that maintains these DB-based rule tables, become your de-facto rules management environment.

OpenRules provides 5 sample projects that demonstrate how to use External Rules:


shows how to define rules as Java objects


shows how to define rules in MS Access using JDBC


shows how to define rules in XML files


shows how to define rules as Excel Data tables


shows how to build a web application that allows a user to change and execute rules on the fly without a restart

These projects have been added to the standard OpenRules installation under the section "External Rules".  These projects are accompanied with a set of step-by-step  instructions.

External rules can be invoked from regular rules described in Excel files. Because these external rules are not known until run-time, OpenRules' Validator will produce warnings about the as yet unknown rules, but the OpenRulesEngine will still execute them without problems. To suppress the warnings and to keep track of all participating rules, you may fill out a newly introduced optional table of the type "ExternalRules" that lists names of all external rules along with their templates. Read more here.

OpenRules Release 5.3 also improves the usability of standard Rule Templates by removing a previous implementation restriction that required templates to be defined before the rules that use them. From now on rules may be defined in Environment tables or inside single files before their templates.

The web site a href=""> as well as the online User's Guide have been modified to reflect the changes introduced by OpenRules 5.3.




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