Category: Snap Poll

And the Training Survey Prize Draw Winner Is…

And the Training Survey Prize Draw Winner Is…

So, the results of our Training Survey Snap Poll have been collated, and we are ready to announce the winner in just a moment. First, let’s get the results off our chests and see what the community thinks about Oracle Intelligent Advisor (see what we did there?) and Training Requirements. So the OPA Hub Training & Documentation Survey started with the following question:

Q1: Which of the following training products would you consider the most suitable training format for OPA?

 

Training Survey 1

Interested in the Training Survey data breakdown? OPA Hub Website supporters can download the PDF here. You can get a quick glimpse of the latest results on this public dashboard.

The two “in class” options beat the other answers hands-down. Consultants and users, in contrast (often) to their employers, still regard in class training as the premium format. Then comes interactive online training, finally we have recorded / non-interactive online training. Managers, Training Departments, take note! We’ve been in the training business for 30 years, and the answers were the same 30 years ago (albeit with CD-ROM or computer based training instead of on-line). At some point, the value for money equation became focused on the cost rather than the benefit. And it all went wrong from there :).

Training Survey Q2: Which of the following have you personally used most recently in relation to Policy Automation?

 

Training Survey 2

And so we come to the reality on the ground. If question one represented what you wanted, this is what you got! Very low numbers for in class training, and much higher for online. The Other option revealed that a fair number of you don’t even get that option, instead you have to read the documentation, forums, websites like this one, or just asking colleagues. What does that say about the availability and cost of training in your area, or the unwillingness of employers to pay for training? Some might blame the Salesforce Effect “Trailhead means I don’t have to buy any training for my staff ever again”. Yeah, right.

Training Survey Q6: In which region are you based?

S0 does Oracle Policy Automation only exist in your area?

Training Survey 4

These are only 3 of the Training Survey questions – we don’t want to bore you with all this unless you are interested in the full data breakdown? OPA Hub Website supporters can download the data here. You can get a quick glimpse of the latest results on this public dashboard.

So who the heck is the winner?

The OPA Hub Website is pleased to announce three winners (yes, we came over all “Holiday Season”).

Mr O.Rodrigues (France)

Mr Manohar Veeraiah (India)

Miss A.Fisher (Australia)

The winners should leave their details in a message using the Contact Form of this website.

Article Survey : 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.

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.

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).

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:

Example Model and Interview

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

Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation

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

Table of Conclusions

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 4

Object-Oriented Design Patterns and Oracle Policy Automation 5

Design Patterns with OPA : 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.

Object-Oriented Design Patterns Example

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

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.

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?

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?
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