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Category Archives: The OPA Hub Website

We’ve Updated our Free Challenge

We’ve Updated our Free Challenge

When you register for the OPA Hub Website, you land on a Thank You page. That page includes a Free Challenge , where you can win an OPA Hub T-Shirt just for answering a simple one question quiz.

Free Challenge QuizSo many people have answered the free challenge quiz but nobody has given the correct answer yet. We have now added a new Section “Hints to Help You“.

We have added various remarks culled from previous answers. So we are helping you get closer to the answer. We hope that the new hints help eliminate some of the common answers and save you time.

Enter As Many Times as You Want

The winner will get a free OPA Hub T-Shirt in the size of their choice. It’s free to enter, you can enter multiple times and we will keep the Challenge open until somebody wins.

Yes : You can enter the  Challenge as many times as you want, there are no limits.

So what have you got to lose? Nothing, so get over there and try your luck – can you crack the Challenge? Do you have an idea for another Challenge – get in touch, leave a comment or reach out on LinkedIn. We’re always happy to hear from our readers.

Good luck and see you soon on the OPA Hub Website!

Guest Post : Time Based Reasoning Worked Example

Hi There!


This content is accessible only to logged in users of the OPA Hub Website.

To Register takes only 10 seconds and uses LinkedIn for authentication.

Once registered you can change your OPA Hub password and manage it independently of LinkedIn.

We recommend you keep different passwords for all your sites.

To register, click the Log in link in the menu at the top of your page.

Thanks, the OPA Hub Website.

Article Survey : The OPA Hub Website

Article Survey : The OPA Hub Website

OPA Hub Logo for Article Survey 2018Here at the OPA Hub Website, we want to provide articles that are of benefit to our readers. As such we would like to better understand what articles are of most interest. Although we have data from analytics providers like Google Analytics and Facebook to name only two, it is always in our opinion simpler and more effective to ask questions directly to our audience. So this is the justification for asking you to spend just a few moments filling out our Article Survey.

If there are items that are not visible in the list proposed, we would encourage you to add comments at the bottom of the Article Survey using the Comment feature, as normal.

Coming Up : New Content

Whilst on the subject of what you would like to see in the future we can already reveal what is coming up in the next quarter, aside from the usual content:

  1. A report from any Oracle Policy Automation sessions in Oracle OpenWorld 2018
  2. A series about the mysterious RuleScript
  3. A look at another Example Project : the Travel Compensation Project and how it works
  4. Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation Book Edition 4 : in the works already

Coming Up : Training Available

We will be looking to run another session of our Workshop in the final quarter of the year. So while you are doing the Article Survey, feel free to comment / add information about a location or team that needs a training event (anywhere in the World). The standard content is shown here.

Article Survey : Q4 2018

So without further ado, here is the survey. Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in the survey. All the results will simply be used to better orient our writing and creative energy, and we will not contact you unless you specifically request it in the comments.

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Oracle Policy Automation and Siebel

Oracle Policy Automation and Siebel

My co-writers over on the Siebel Hub participated in a recent successful online event with OnTheMove Software, who provide mobilty solutions for Siebel and other CRM systems. They are good friends of the Siebel and OPA Hub Websites, and it was a pleasure to take part in their popular event. You may recall last year’s event.

Although the subject of the day was very much Siebel, The OPA Hub Website was able to deliver a presentation about the ability of Oracle Policy Automation to “fill some gaps” left by Siebel. To be more specific, Siebel 2018 has recently been released and is a fantastic, elastic modern application with a fully Cloud-aware architecture. All the old legacy artefacts (files like the compiled SRF, web templates and so on) have been removed and the proprietary elements of the architecture replaced with more modern, open-source, cloud-friendly elements.

But the development tools are, at the moment, not keeping pace with this move to the Cloud. And as the Cloud is perceived as more accessible, more friendly (more fun!), the users and developers in the Cloud have a hard time keeping up with the need to provide modern platforms for developing, deploying and using the CRM.

That’s where Oracle Policy Automation steps in. With it’s incredibly easy, business-friendly natural language approach to putting business policy online and available to any application, with it’s drag and drop no-code user interface, with it’s built-in BI Publisher, with it’s agnostic approach to data model integration – Oracle Policy Automation is the solution. When I meet Siebel customers shaking their head at their thousands of lines of eScript code, when I see them wondering how to accelerate these aspects of development, make them more accessible and more efficient all at the same time, I just want to shout out “Oracle Policy Automation”.

Unusually for me, this presentation also manages to squeeze in three quotes from William Shakespeare. So if you are interested in how Oracle Policy Automation can help accelerate your Siebel CRM deployments, just watch this video.

Thanks as always to David at OnTheMove for his impeccable organisational skills.

video
The OPA Hub Snap Poll Results

The OPA Hub Snap Poll Results

The OPA Hub Snap Poll Results

As you know, the OPA Hub Website runs short-term polls or “Snap Polls” in an effort to collect and share information about Oracle Policy Automation that may hopefully be of value to the Community. The OPA Hub Snap Poll Results concern the question we asked in March 2018, specifically “Are you going to be using the new JavaScript Extension in your OPA Interviews?”.

The most recent versions of Oracle Policy Automation have pretty much consolidated JavaScript as the client-side platform for delivering just about any visual changes you might wish for. Many of us are also pretty hopeful that the JavaScript library in interviews.js is a forerunner of a future REST client, and hopefully the basis for some sophisticated integrations as well.

Of course there are other avenues of development of Oracle Policy Automation, notably the experimental RuleScript, based on the output of the Oracle Labs and the graal library. Anyway, The OPA Hub Snap Poll Results were quite definitely in favour of the JavaScript extensions. You can find the results below, and I have included a link to a dynamic version of the graphic hosted by our friends at easel.ly.

 New OPA Snap Poll

As the Snap Poll on the subject of JavaScript has now closed, a new Snap Poll has been opened, this time in an effort to get more information about the needs of the Community in respect of training and advanced workshops. Please take a moment to answer the OPA Hub Snap Poll on this subject.

You’ve got to be in it, to win it

A reminder : when we close this Snap Poll, one lucky voter will get a free copy of Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation 2018 Edition, so don’t hesitate to vote today. The Snap Poll will close on the 31st April 2018, and results will be published on this website soon afterwards.

 

Guest Post : Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation #2

Guest Post : Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation #2

In a previous post by our guest writer Dr Jason Sender, he investigated improvements in Oracle Policy Automation rules by applying some of the principles of refactoring, and then he began to discuss Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation, and their application in real-world contexts.

As before, this third article draws on the work and publications of Martin Fowler, which we discussed in the previous post, those of Joshua Kerievsky from his highly regarded book “Refactoring to Patterns”, and the ground-breaking work on design patterns called “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software”, which had four authors known collectively as the Gang of Four (GoF).

Before studying some further examples of patterns and their application to Oracle Policy Automation, it is probably wise to step back and take a broad view of the context. Computer science is often defined as dealing in abstraction, and software engineering as managing complexity, and the connection is that only by considering different parts of programs and systems as abstract concepts are we better able to manage complexity.

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation in Context

To put it in terms more related to our daily jobs, Oracle Policy Automation is often integrated with other systems that the Oracle Policy Automation developer does not need to understand, and can think of in abstract terms. A good example would be the Siebel CRM or Oracle Service Cloud database that Oracle Policy Automation may interact with, but about which the Oracle Policy Automation developer may not need to know anything – beyond understanding the available attributes for mapping and having a brief overview of the context. Abstraction is about ignoring irrelevant details, and this is often accomplished by what is a theme running through many design patterns, which is to: “encapsulate the concept that varies” (GoF, p. 54).

We often obtain abstraction in Oracle Policy Automation by using indirection (interposing an intermediate attribute) to encapsulate the attribute that varies. This allows us to “Program to an interface, not an implementation“, as the GoF (p. 18) term it, the rationale for which is that the implementation can be changed if other parts of the program only depend on the interface.

If you come, like some of us here on the OPA Hub Website, from a CRM background, you will be familiar with the concept whereby access to a CRM Object is provided through an interface, and the interface does not change even if the Object undergoes modifications (such as when using the GetMetadata Operation of the Oracle Policy Automation Connector Framework).

Although design patterns and refactoring techniques should serve the goals of reduced duplication, reduced complexity, and increased clarity, these goals can be in conflict, not just with each other, but with certain Oracle Policy Automation-specific goals. Take for example one of the stand-out benefits of Oracle Policy Automation: Policy Isomorphism. This means having the same form (i.e., you can copy and paste legislation or other source material directly into Microsoft Word, and base your rules on this and compare them side-by-side) and this is in tension with the concept of intermediate attributes (adding more attributes to increase clarity).

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation : Strategy and Template Patterns

With that in mind we return to another example of how Object-Oriented Design patterns can be applied to Oracle Policy Automation. The following extended example will be given to demonstrate how useful the Strategy and Template Method design patterns (which we adapt from the GoF book) could be in reducing the number of tables and increasing the flexibility of calculations. We show this extended example to demonstrate the size of the reduction in rules from applying these design patterns to Oracle Policy Automation. We start with an information collection screen and associated Boolean rules to derive values from the drop down list items:

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 1

We then look at the top level goals for determining the total profit of the company, which is our main goal:

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation

These are then derived from three very similar tables of calculations, which are listed in succession below:

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 3

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 4

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 5

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation : Implementing the Design Pattern

We can now alter this to implement our design pattern. We first create a main rule to determine the total profit:

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 6

This is the Template Method pattern since it delegates a part of the algorithm – the tax factor, a newly created attribute. Then, we employ the Strategy pattern to effectively split up the tax factor into one of three algorithms (in effect, we are treating the tax factor as an algorithm and then applying Strategy to it). We do this by parameterising, based on type of company, using a feature called Apply Sheet that avoids multiply proven attributes by letting the parameter determine which Excel Worksheet applies:

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 7

Then each of the subsequent tabs has a small table. As an example, here is the mining sheet. The others have identical structure and adjusted values for the tax factor.

For the Strategy and Template Method patterns, applying these design patterns has transformed our example rulebase into something much more easily extensible.

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation : Improved Maintenance and Clarity

If we were to create another sector (e.g., oil), it would be very easy to add on another sheet in the Excel Workbook and add it to the Apply Sheet. In fact, we could easily add another 20 sectors, whereas there would be a lot of time-consuming ‘find and replace’ work to do in the original, and we would have ended up with dozens of pages of rules. Moreover, the original algorithm had a lot of code duplication, as the same Boolean attributes were repeated in row after row in table after table.

Furthermore, if we had needed to add or remove conditions from the tables it would have taken extensive work in order to verify that each and every table was updated correctly. In the reformed algorithm, the conditions were written only once and these are easily changeable. And, we were able to eliminate three (possibly confusing) and unnecessary sub-totals relating to each of the company types. The unvarying part of the algorithm (the total revenue – the total cost) is now written once, rather than 15 times, and so it is easily changeable.

Finally, our new algorithm mentions only the tax factor. This means that if all tax rates were harmonised, a single tax rate declared, or a new formula implemented that did not depend on the company type, since we have encapsulated the part of the algorithm that varies, we could just delete the Excel table and introduce a new table for the tax factor that did not mention the type of company. This would not have been so easy to do with the original algorithm.

Once again, even from a very simple set of examples, it should be clear that Oracle Policy Automation rules will benefit from the targeted application of principles from programming – in this case, the Strategy and Template Method design patterns. For more information about the ideas discussed in this article, Dr Sender can be reached using his LinkedIn profile, at the end of this article.

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation : Going Further

The OPA Hub and Dr Sender are currently working towards the launch of advanced training based on his work. If you are interested, please take a moment to answer the 1 question survey below (if you have not already registered for the OPA Hub you can do that here before you answer). Thank you!

What kind of advanced OPA training would you be interested in attending?

Guest Post : Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation

Hi There!


This content is accessible only to logged in users of the OPA Hub Website.

To Register takes only 10 seconds and uses LinkedIn for authentication.

Once registered you can change your OPA Hub password and manage it independently of LinkedIn.

We recommend you keep different passwords for all your sites.

To register, click the Log in link in the menu at the top of your page.

Thanks, the OPA Hub Website.

Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation 20018 Edition

Snap Poll : Training – 1 Question, 30 Seconds and a Chance to Win

Snap Poll : Training – 1 Question, 30 Seconds and a Chance to Win

As you all know, the OPA Hub Website tries to provide content and services that meet the needs of all of us who are working with Oracle Policy Automation, and probably Oracle Service Cloud or Oracle Siebel CRM on a day-to-day basis. One of the areas we have been looking at with our partners and content providers is the subject of training. We have a number of different training projects in the pipeline. But read on to find out about our Snap Poll : Training – 1 Question, 30 Seconds and a Chance to Win…

Some of the training we already provide has met with good feedback and seems to fill a gap left by the official training provider. However, we are always eager to find out more. That is why this post contains a snap poll : it is so easy to answer the question it will take you all of 30 seconds. You can register your vote using either an anonymous vote or if you use your OPA Hub Website login you will automatically be entered into a draw to receive a free copy of the Getting Started with Oracle Policy Automation 2018 Edition.

Snap Poll : Training - 1 Question, 30 Seconds and a Chance to Win

This book is so new it is not even in the shops yet, I have just received the first copy from the printers so it is fresh as fresh can be. The book can therefore be yours just for entering our Snap Poll : Training – 1 Question, 30 Seconds and a Chance to Win!

Thank you to everyone who takes part in the spirit of sharing your opinion. The data will be reviewed on the OPA Hub and will be completely anonymised. The name of the voters will only be used to ascertain the winner of the free copy of the book!

What kind of advanced OPA training would you be interested in attending?

Magia Consulting are hiring

Friends of the OPA Hub Website Magia Consulting are hiring!

Leona Chauban, Director at Magia Consulting  got in touch to let us know.

“Magia Consulting is an innovative solution provider and consultancy in the technology industry, and our people are amongst the industry best in our field of expertise, who are embracing our journey of global expansion. As a team, we pride ourselves in our technical expertise and delivering excellence in our products, services and training. We are interested in speaking with talented, intelligent individuals with an aptitude for technology, who take pride in delivering customer value and have a “can do” attitude.”

The different career options are outlined below. You can directly apply from the relevant page. Hurry because not only will there be lots of applicants but the closing dates are coming up soon:

Sales Executive – Enterprise Software & Services

Magia Consulting are recruiting a full time Sales Executive to join our expanding UK based team. The role is offered on a permanent basis, and presents an exciting opportunity for a highly ambitious sales manager or business development executive to be involved in growth of an innovative organisation in the EMEA market.

The position involves collaborating with a skilled team to identify leads, secure opportunities and generate sales in licenses, consulting and support contracts.

This is a key role for Magia and the Sales Executive will report directly to Company Directors. Magia are offering the unique opportunity for a commission structure that is uncapped, so that when a candidate excels, they will rewarded accordingly. Magia also offer equity options for employees.

The role is London/South East based with travel as required within UK/EMEA.

Read More and Apply…

Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) consultant

Magia Consulting are recruiting an Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) consultant to join our expanding UK team. The role is offered on a permanent basis, and presents an exciting opportunity for the best and brightest to join an established consultancy on the verge of further global growth.

Good working knowledge of Oracle Policy Automation is required as a starting point, with training and support provided to advance your skills to expert level.

The role is based in Midlands with potential travel to client sites in other parts of the UK and EMEA.

Magia Consulting offer employee equity options, training, and the rare opportunity for a potentially varied role that will engage the smartest mind.

Read More and Apply…

Guest Post : Refactoring in Oracle Policy Automation #1

Hi There!


This content is accessible only to logged in users of the OPA Hub Website.

To Register takes only 10 seconds and uses LinkedIn for authentication.

Once registered you can change your OPA Hub password and manage it independently of LinkedIn.

We recommend you keep different passwords for all your sites.

To register, click the Log in link in the menu at the top of your page.

Thanks, the OPA Hub Website.