Category: Educational

Video : Label Extension Overview

Video : Label Extension Overview

Here at the OPA Hub Website we always like to think that we are able to listen to our readers. Recently, one of the growing population of developers being asked to implement extensions came to us with a series of questions about a Label Extension.

And it became clear that a video was probably the most efficient way to address these queries. To be honest the OPA Hub Website finds that Video is over-used today in learning. I’ve nearly 30 years as an educator and consultant, I find it frustrating that education is constantly the target of cost-cutting and it means that even really large software providers think they can get away with selling poorly recorded slides with a soundtrack and call this a “learning program”. It’s definitely not a program, it’s an excuse.

Living in Europe and having worked in the States and elsewhere, I know how difficult it is to solve the equation of large distances, different languages and multiple timezones. But I still believe that face to face training is the best answer.

And I feel that although many other benefits exist for video training – immediacy, repeatability and accessibility – sometimes I find that companies push video or recorded training as another way to save money, while still expecting the same level of recall and interest from the students.

In a way, I see it also in the Covid phenomenon – how much video we have been consuming and how many of my colleagues have reached saturation point but are expected to be watching and doing video 7 or 8 hours a day. Of course I get that this is a necessity – but no allowance is made for just how hard it is to watch or deliver. Employers love the productivity it generates.

So this is why, the OPA Hub Website tries to keep the videos, where possible, to a maximum of 45 minutes at a time. Our Online Learning Program is based on that concept.

Anyway, enough mindless chatter : Here is a video introducing the concept of a Label Extension for Interviews, using the Intelligent Advisor Extensions API. The video talks about the basics, and shows lots of examples. We’ve got a few more videos in the pipeline, so watch this space.


If you want to watch the video in a new window on Youtube (yes, for once this is on Youtube) then just click the image below:

Oracle Policy Automation Quiz Leaderboards

Oracle Policy Automation Quiz Leaderboards

Oracle Policy Automation Quiz - LogoIt seems to  be Oracle Policy Automation Quiz Month here on the OPA Hub Website. Lots of readers are taking part in the Oracle Policy Automation Quizzes here. Of course I suppose many of them might be preparing for their Oracle Policy Automation Certification (I’m thinking of the Oracle Policy Automation Cloud Service 2017 Certification in particular), but I suspect some people just like to test themselves and see how they measure up to their peers. The quizzes are quick-fire (since there are only 10 questions in each) and they can be something to do during a coffee break I guess.

With that in mind, I thought I would publish the Leaderboard for the first two of the quizzes – there are four, and the fifth is going to be released this week so watch out for Part Five. Once we reach the magic marker of 100 questions, then we will package it into a single Quiz and set the timer to mimic the duration of a certification examination, for those of you who like to have a frisson of stress when doing this sort of thing.

OPA Hub Quiz Part One Leaderboard

These leaderboards are generated on the fly, so they may take a couple of seconds to display. For the sake of brevity they only show the top fifteen or so placed players.

Leaderboard: OPA 12 Certification Preparation Quiz #1

maximum of 10 points
Pos. Name Entered on Points Result
Table is loading
No data available

OPA Hub Quiz Part Two Leaderboard

Leaderboard: OPA 12 Certification Preparation Quiz #2

maximum of 10 points
Pos. Name Entered on Points Result
Table is loading
No data available

Keep watching the OPA Hub Website this week for the release of the next part of the Quiz, with ten new all visual questions (you know the ones that show you the same image five times and ask you to make declarations about it)! Thanks to all the players (especially Bob, who seems to have had a good time!. See you soon on the OPA Hub website, hopefully for a quiz or three.

Oracle Policy Automation Training – Toronto 25 Sept. 2017

Oracle Policy Automation Training – Toronto 25 Sept. 2017

Oracle Policy Automation Training – Toronto 25 September 2017

Oracle Policy Automation TrainingTogether with our great friends at DesTech in Toronto, the OPA Hub is organizing some Oracle Policy Automation training in the Fall. The plan is to deliver the following two training courses. If they go ahead (of course we will be dependent on the numbers of students enrolling) then they will be completely official Oracle University training courses with the manuals and training environments you would expect. Added to which the location of DesTech in downtown Toronto near to many transport hubs (airports, railway stations and subways) is just perfect.

Monday : Introduction to Oracle Policy Automation 

“This Oracle Policy Automation training introduces you to the skills and tools for capturing, analyzing, publishing and maintaining business policies and regulations. Working hands-on, you’ll learn how you can efficiently use this fast and accurate policy modeling, guidance and decision automation solution.”

Tuesday to Thursday :  Oracle Policy Modeling for Policy Experts

This course provides many hands-on exercises with Oracle’s leading policy automation and modeling product. It is highly recommended for anyone working with Policy Modeling, or collaborating with a Policy Automation project team. All team members that complete the course will understand the key concepts and terminology for Policy Automation projects. The course is aimed at a non-technical audience, with a basic working knowledge of Microsoft Word being the only recommended prior knowledge.”

These two courses can be seen as “Oracle Policy Automation Essentials for Version 12”. Students will get a free copy of our book, Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation [2017 Edition] and if anyone is interested I will happily chat about Siebel and Oracle Policy Automation as well : integration, Web Services, The Hub and so on.

If you are interested

Please get in touch with Patrice from DesTech using the details on this page. Alternatively, post a comment on this article and I will get you talking to him.

New Course : Oracle Policy Modeling for Policy Experts Ed 1

New Course : Oracle Policy Modeling for Policy Experts Ed 1

I’m delighted to see that the family of training courses in the area of Oracle Policy Automation is growing, with the recent arrival of the course shown above. Veterans will be happy to see that the main content is focused on the most common tasks and many exercises are promised. I look forward to teaching it in the next few weeks.

Oracle Policy Modeling for Policy Experts Ed 1

This is a three day course that is a great place for people to learn about Policy Modeling. Here is the content description from the Oracle Education website:

This course provides many hands-on exercises with Oracle’s leading policy automation and modeling product. It is highly recommended for anyone working with Policy Modeling, or collaborating with a Policy Automation project team. All team members that complete the course will understand the key concepts and terminology for Policy Automation projects. The course is aimed at a non-technical audience, with a basic working knowledge of Microsoft Word being the only recommended prior knowledge.
The course topics, in bullet form, are:
  • Write a variety of rules in Policy Modeling
  • Use AND and OR in the same rule by using a grouping operator
  • Use arithmetic and functions in rules
  • Create a policy model where data can be loaded/saved to a connected application
  • Create and save basic test cases and test rules using the debugger
  • Create entities, entity-level attributes and reference them in rules
  • Create question screens that collect entity instances, relationships and entity-level data
  • Explain how forms can be incorporated into a Policy Modeling interview
  • Explain what entity relationships are and how to create them
  • Identify how to author rules and other interview assets in another language
  • Prevent a user from entering invalid combinations of data based on inferred logic
  • Structure rules from source material and understand networks of rules
  • Understand the role of explanations and audit reports in an Policy Automation interview
  • Write rules in the negative form and link rules
  • Write rules that compare values
  • Prove conditional calculations using rule tables
Back to Basics 6 – Always Check your Parse

Back to Basics 6 – Always Check your Parse

Back to Basics 6 – Always Check your Parse

This is of course connected to the previous remarks about constructing phrases with booleans or non-booleans. But I would like to take a moment to go a little further and remind those of you starting out of the importance of the parsing process. In some ways, the old Version 10 user experience, where the parsing engine results were popped up in Word directly, when you validated / compiled your work, was easier to explain. It oriented users towards the idea of checking the parse straight away:


In the above example, everything is fine. But the process was useful when the writer had failed to be clear in their ideas, because at least then the Select Parse window showed there might be a bit of a problem right after we clicked the button:


So in the case above, we can see that there are two verbs in our made-up phrase, and the parser has flagged that to us. In Version 12, the validation process no longer shows the dialog above – te process is largely silent and transparent. I can see this as a benefit in terms of experience but it takes away the immediate sense of checking the text and parse. To get the same sort of information you have to go into the Attribute list in the Data tab, double-click the Attribute and then click the Change button shown below:


I just think that it could be a little easier for users to find. But I’m just a slow learner. I would however say that this deserves to be in our top ten of back to basics items, since checking the parse and verifying the coherence of the generated text is something to get used to very early on. And it is valid for any language that is supported by Oracle Policy Modeler.

A quick thank you

While I am writing this, I want to thank all our readers and happily report that we have just gone past the 100 post mark. Here’s to the next 100!

Until the next time, take care!

Getting Started With Oracle Policy Automation Book Now Available

Getting Started With Oracle Policy Automation

The book is now available on Amazon UK, Amazon India and Amazon United States, all of which you can access from our Online Shop here on ODE OPA Blog. I look forward to having some fun with it in the coming weeks, notably in the courses coming up in May, June and beyond.

Update : A common request has been to be able to buy the book outside of Amazon – well, now in addition you can place worldwide orders using another shipping service.

Update : Response to the book has been positive and I look forward to creating more content on this site and preparing the second edition!

[vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″]

[/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″]

Update December 2016

Getting Started With Oracle Policy AutomationThanks to the many people who bought the first version of the Book. Like a lot of guides and other similar material, the first version was never considered to be the endgame, so as soon as the first version was released we began collecting the feedback, correcting the errors and building out some of the areas where, for the sake of brevity, the book did not go first time around. The result is almost ready.

The new, expanded release of the book (20 chapters, about 250 pages) is expected to enter final draft in December 2o16. Watch out for it in the Amazon bookstore and elsewhere, probably before the end of January 2017. Happily this will allow for the new features of the December 2016 release to be included in the next version of the book, as well as some of the updated content that has been on this site in the last few months (with more text, example and so on!)

Oracle Policy Automation : Things I wish I had known…

Oracle Policy Automation: Things I wish I had known…

I’m really pleased to say that the team at P8 Tech have helped me wrap up the forthcoming Getting Started With Oracle Policy Automation and the book has now gone onsale from a variety of online bookstores. I sincerely hope that it helps people get familiar with the Oracle Policy Automation family (Modeler, Mobile, Hub) in a fun and interactive way, to prepare them for their training, their job or their certification examination. It is available in paper or PDF format.

In the spirit of “Things I wish I had known …?” I thought it might be fun to highlight the sort of content you can expect to find in the book. The Book is, in my humble opinion, a great self-study tool for anyone getting into the product, or who is waiting for / coming out of their Oracle University Training. And the title pretty much says it all. Of course the book tries to get rid of these hindrances, and many many more as well.”

Update : Book Now Available

You can find out more on the official Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation book page. Of course this website will also be continuing to cover Oracle Policy Automation and I’m sure we will revisit some of the content in the book, to extend it, translate it or otherwise give more examples.

Update : Second Version On the Way

At the time of this latest update, the second version  of Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation is currently about to enter final draft stage, with 20 chapters (5 new) and 250 pages already in the bag. This greatly expanded and reviewed edition builds upon the format of the first and introduces yet more content to ensure you get started more efficiently and more effectively. Look out for the release of the book, probably in January 2017.

Installing Oracle Policy Automation Hub Self Study Platform Part Three

Installing Oracle Policy Automation Hub Self Study Platform Part Three

So here we are, the OPA installer has run its course in the previous post. What do we need to look out for? Well, you probably want to connect to your Hub, right?

On your Virtual Machine we might configure the Networking so that it can only see your laptop (or whatever physical machine you are using). Safer that way.

Installing Oracle Policy Automation - Network Internal only

From your physical PC now, running the Oracle Policy Modeler (the same version as the Hub you installed), you should be able to access the hub by typing in the URL that you saw in the video – and in your own install – and the login and password you provided during the install.

Installing Oracle Policy Automation - Connecting to Hub

And you are all set! Ready to get into the Hub!
Installing Oracle Policy Automation - Success Hub Login

Congratulations on following this guide all the way to the finish. Installing Oracle Policy Automation means you have the ability to learn and test yourself in a realistic environment, ready for the day when you use Oracle Policy Automation as part of a Project Team. There is another resource that may be helpful to you in this process – Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation.

Of course if you have not had enough of installing things related to Oracle Policy Automation, then go install the Mobile App Self Study.

Installing an OPA Hub Self Study Platform Part One

Creating an OPA Hub Self Study Platform Part One

I am regularly asked by students how to set up and install an OPA Hub for self-study purposes. So this post series aims to give people a guide to follow. Obviously this sort of thing is perilous because there are so many permutations and languages and settings and so forth. But hey, who dares wins, eh? Over on my other home, the Siebel Hub, the production and maintenance of these documents has proven to be extremely useful to many, so I am hoping that it will also be the case here.

It goes without saying that I will not be held responsible for anything whatsoever that might happen if you follow this guide, and it is exclusively your responsibility to respect test licenses, security, usage policy and everything and anything else. That said, let’s go – from zero to OPA Hub in under 2 hours from scratch!

Get Windows up and running

You are going to be using Windows 2008 R2 64bit. This guide was based upon it. Download an evaluation version here

You are going to be using Oracle VIRTUAL BOX. This guide was based upon it. Begin by downloading the latest version of Virtual Box and running it on your computer. We will install Windows 2008 on a new virtual machine. Here are the different steps.

Windows Step 1


Click the New button in the Virtual Box main window, choosing the options below. The name of the Virtual Machine is entirely up to you.

Memory is the Next step. Give as much as you can, whilst not going over the red line. Who knows, you might want to install other software in the Virtual Machine so choose a level for your needs.

Windows Step 2

The Virtual Machine needs a hard disk so that we can install Windows. Select to create a new disk of about 60 Gb, less if fine but 25 Gb these days seems to be the minimum to be comfortable.

Windows Step 3

Choose the default file type and carry on.

Windows Step 4

The storage options just keep the default.

Windows Step 5

The location and size is up to you, especially if you have a fast external hard drive you could put it there.

Windows Step 6

Click Create. Now we need to insert the Windows DVD image and boot the machine. Click the Settings icon and go to the Storage section.

Vbox Storage CDROM

You can see the DVD icon is “empty”. Click the DVD icon with the green plus sign.

Wbox Storage CD ROM 2

Click the DVD icon and choose Virtual Optical Disk. Navigate to the ISO file you downloaded. Click OK and close the Settings.

Vbox Ready to Run Windows Install


Installing Pre-requisites

Our Virtual machine should now boot and we can login to Windows. Before you do that however ensure that you have network access from the Virtual Machine as you are going to do a lot of downloading now into the Virtual Machine.

Installing Windows Networking

In the virtual machine, download and install the latest Java SE (not JRE). Out of habit I installed it both in 32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) but that probably wasn’t required.
Downloading Java JDK

All of the Java and the future MySQL and WebLogic downloads that you are about to do will require a free account.

Installing Java

Installed Java

You will also need to download and install Windows .NET Framework 4 before we download and install MySQL.

Downloading .NET 4

After downloading and installing .NET Framework 4, do not update it even if it asks you to.

Downloading .NET 4 Installed

Download and Install MySQL

The next stage of the plan is to get MySQL installed. We can install the latest available Community Edition ready to receive the OPA Hub database.

Find the download at 
Downloading MySQL

If you followed the steps up to now, the installer should run without issue (it needs .NET Framework 4). Choose the Developer Default Setup Type.

Install MySQL One

Ignore the failing requirements. They will attempt to “auto fix” and should do so without any issues. Any failed components, you don’t need them anyway.Install MySQL Two

Push through these setup screens as illustrated taking defaults and clicking Next.

Install MySQL Three

Execute the installation. This may take a long time, and you may receive warnings that it is taking too long. Ignore the warnings and click OK if they ask you to.

Install MySQL Four

Following that phase of installation will come the configuration. Press on!

Install MySQL Five

Create a root password for your MySQL server. Make a note as you will need it later.

Install MySQL Six

Accept the defaults for the following steps.

Install MySQL Seven

Wait while the product configures. Again, you may receive time warnings. Ignore them and continue.
Install MySQL Eight

We’re all finished here now.

Install MySQL Nine

Install MySQL Ten

The MySQL install is finished.

Install WebLogic Server

Now we download WebLogic – I chose 12c Quick Installer for Developers

Download Weblogic

Inside the zip file there is a JAR file. We launch it like this.Download Weblogic 2

C:\…..\bin\ java -jar fmw_12. (from a Command Prompt, substituting “….” with your path to the JDK. The readme file has details.

Install Weblogic

The installation is entirely without questions or steps to fulfill. Just watch and wait. When it has completed, you will need to start the configuration wizard. You can see how to do that in the window shown below.

Start Weblogic Config

And so we move on to part two…(this post is getting too long!)

Policy Automation – Translations, HTML and Substitutions Ideas

Policy Automation offers rule designers several ways to personalize a Web Determination session, the goal being to make the interview more streamlined and friendly.  This post is a continuation of a discussion during a recent training.

Settings on the Attribute to handle minimum and maximum and regular expression validation.

OPA - Attributes

Settings on the Screens used to collect information:

OPA -Screen

Screen Order and Screen Flows to Control Logic:

OPA - Screen Flow and Subflow

Obviously as these grow more complex and your interview becomes more involved, the need to manage any translations of your rulebase becomes ever more important. Policy Automation provides the easy Translation File system to let you manage the translations of your rulebase questions and texts.

OPA - Translation

The warning message let’s us know that there are some strings used in the Excel Translation File that have not been translated. This can be quite confusing. Obviously most translations are obvious in the file, for example:

OPA - Excel File Translation Example

But even after going through all the texts, you might still get the warning message and wonder why. That is because even if something is not really translatable, then you need to either translate it anyway or mark it to be ignored. Consider the following example:

OPA - Ignore Translation Example

The car manufacturers included in the dropdown list are not required to be translated – they are to stand as-is. Then you should mark them to be ignored using the relevant button as shown in the example, and the text will change color as demonstrated.

As you add more Question Screens to your interview, the output in the Assessment Summary will become progressively less readable, especially in the case of an interview involving multiple records for multiple entities, as shown below.

OPA - Assessment Summary

By judiciously adding Labels and Folders to your Summary Screen, as well as substitution to your Translations and a little bit of HTML you can quickly come up with something more readable.

OPA - Assessment Summary Edited

This gives the following output:

OPA - Assessment Summary Improved

Further addition of substitution can improve it even further with  minimal effort.

OPA - Substitutions Galore

This in turn will improve the output of the Decision Report as well as our Assessment Summary of course. For instance clicking on the “Why?” next to “The mechanic does not have more than 3 cars waiting” in Janet’s section gives the following display.

OPA - Decision Report First Try

But we should be mindful of the performance impact of large amounts of information in the Decision Report, since it might be destined to be integrated with Siebel CRM or saved as a file. So we can return to our Attributes and change the Decision Report settings to either Invisible (it disappears) or Silent (it hides the providing Attributes). The options for Relationships and Attributes are slightly different:

Which gives us the slimmed down version below:

OPA - Decision Report FinalWorking to reduce the amount of static text through substitution, maintaining an uupdated Translation file and managing your Decision Report output can improve the user experience, reduce overhead and clarify your interview. Until next time!


Logo by Southpaw Projects LLC