Batch Processor in Oracle Policy Automation (OPA)

In this article, we will be exploring the Batch Processor in Oracle Policy Modelling. The Batch Processor allows a large number of cases to be processed in batch. It can take input from comma separated files or from a database and can output to the same.

Let me give an example of where the batch processor may come in handy. Imagine a Telecommunications organisation that recently implemented OPA for its customers to check what mobile phone packages they can apply for. However, that organization already has data about its existing customers in a database and will also want to know which packages are applicable to its existing client base. The best way to do this will be by running this data in a batch rather than conducting an interview for each existing customer. The Batch Processor sees its usefulness in other areas like conducting what-if analysis and generating test scripts from existing Excel data. We will explore input from and output to CSV files. This article assumes you have working knowledge of OPA; I will make it as practical as possible so let us begin by modelling a simple rulebase.

  • The customer is eligible to apply for the Gold Plan if the customer has been a registered customer for at least 3 years and the total amount spent by the customer is above £3,000.
  • The customer is eligible to apply for the Silver Plan if the customer has been a registered customer for at least 2 years and the total amount spent by the customer is above £2,000.
  • Any registered customer is eligible to apply for the Basic Plan.

The OPA rules for this policy are as shown below:

The data model is as shown below:

Batch Processor Zero-configuration

If you are using CSV files as the input to the Batch Processor, much of the mapping from CSV data to OPA data can be done automatically through the Zero-configuration, by following a few simple guidelines which we will discuss in this section.

The CSV file name should be the public name of the entity. In our example, we will use two CSV files: “global” and “customer”. “customer” is the public name of ‘the customer’ entity as shown below:

The CSV files are as shown below:

The columns on the first row in the CSV files should be named with the attribute public names.

By default, a column with the heading “#” is assumed to be a unique identifier for that entity.

Output attributes

To represent output attributes, enclose such public names in brackets.

One-to-many relationships can also be represented in CSV files by using the public name of the relationship as the column title. For example, the relationship between global and ‘the customer’ entity is a one-to-many relationship which I can represent  in the customer.csv as shown below:

In the diagram above, customer instances #1 to #4 are instances under global instance #1 while customer instances #5 to #7 are instances under global instance #2.
The full content of the CSV files are shown below. The global.csv file has two instances of ‘global’. You can think of this like two separate interviews (or 2 test cases). The customer.csv file has 7 instances representing 7 customers.

The batch processor is a standalone application that is run from the command line using the parameters listed below:

  •  java -jar determinations-batch.jar <command line parameters> (JAVA)
  • Determinations.Batch.exe <command line parameters> (.NET)

To make running the Batch Processor easier especially when using Zero-configuration, I recommend placing all your files and rulebase in one folder. For example, take the rulebase ZIP file (found in the output folder in the Development folder of your OPA project) and place it in a separate folder. In that same folder, create another sub-folder to hold your CSV input files (name it “csv” so you don’t have to specify the name of the folder in the CLI parameters).

Then, you can open a command prompt, navigate to this folder and run the batch processor from this location.

Note: If you are not running the Batch Processor from its default location, you must specify the full path e.g. “C:Program Files (x86)OraclePolicy Modelingbindeterminations-batch.jar”

When the Batch process is complete, a folder (called “csv.out”) is automatically created. This folder used to be named “output” in earlier versions of OPA (I’m using version 10.4.4). This folder contains the same CSV files in the input folder but with the generated output values.

Let’s view the content of these CSV files. First, the customer.csv:

– has been filled out. This is just the number of years between the current date (January 08, 2014) and the dates the customer registered. Let’s also view the global.csv file, where the output should count the number of customers that are eligible for each plan.

In this article, we have seen how to use CSV as input to the Batch Processor. We have also seen how to ensure that our csv files are properly formatted so that zero-configuration can take place. There are move advanced topics like writing a configuration file to be used for running the batch process and also database connections but this gives a good overview of the Batch processor. I hope you have found this article insightful.