Some small improvements for CDM RuleFrame (including code)

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After a year full of stuff like Spring, UIX and ADF, JHeadstart, Struts and JSF, XSL-T and the likes, PL/SQL and SQL, I had a bout of nostalgia this week as I participated in a more ‘traditional’ project, although with the very latest versions of the ‘traditional tools’. Designer 10g, WebForms 10g, Headstart 9i-certified-for-10g, Repository Object Browser and CDM RuleFrame. In a way a trip down memory-lane, although I have not done a lot of work with WebForms 10g and I am looking forward to an opportunity to work with JDAPI and WebUtil in practice. And it is nice to have a little family reunion as I still consider both the ROB and CDM RuleFrame as my babies.

There are some things I have always found annoying while working with CDM RuleFrame – apart from the fact that I would like to give the whole framework a major overhaul, see for example my post The future of CDM RuleFrame – the Oracle framework for server-side business rules. I have made some changes to the Utilities underlying CDM RuleFrame to make life more comfortable:

  • Show list of all available parameters – In the PL/SQL Block where I have to actually code the business rule, I would like to see a list of the parameters that RuleFrame will make available to me at runtime – I don’t like checking the list of Arguments, it is far easier to directly see and copy/paste the parameter names
  • Overwrite Business Rule Design Definitions – I do not like the fact that the Business Rule Design Transformer cannot overwrite or replace existing Business Rule Design Definitions, if I were to tell it do do that; now I have to manually remove the Business Rule Design Definition (both Trigger and Trigger Module) before I can run the Business Rule Design Transformer on changed Business Rules.
  • Create Arguments for Primary Key columns – I am most annoyed by the fact that if I want my business rule validation code to make use of the Primary Key of the current record, I have to manually create a Program Argument. Normally, the BRDT takes Function Attribute Usages and creates Arguments from them. However, my Primary Keys are ID columns that I have had the Designer Database Transformer create as Surrogate Primary Keys. Therefore, these columns are not based on Attributes and hence I cannot create Function Attribute usages for them and therefore the BRDT cannot create Arguments

As the CDM RuleFrame utilities are PL/SQL packages, it is fairly simple to inspect them and modify them. If you how to write PL/SQL, know something about the inner workings of the Headstart Utilities as well as the meta-model and API of Oracle Designer, it is really quite straightforward. In this case, I have made some changes in the packages HSU_BRTR and HSU_CRBR.

The effect is the following: I have an existing Business Rule – BR_EMP001_ATT – for which I have run the Business Rule Design Transformer. Now I have made some changes in the Business Rule definition: I have changed the Short Definition and I have added the <PK/> tag to the Function Entity usage of Entity EMP; through this I want to indicate to the BRDT that I would like to have an Argument created for the Primary Key ID that was added as Surrogate Primary Key by the Designer Database Design Transformer.

When I run the Business Rule Design Transformer, I want it to overwrite the existing Business Rule Design Definition for BR_EMP001_ATT. I want it to create an Argument for the ID column in the EMPLOYEES table and and I want it to write a line of comment in the PL/SQL block, specifying all parameters available to me when I write the code for this business rule.

Here is the run screen for the Business Rule Design Transformer – notice the new parameter “Overwrite Existing BRDDs” that my code alterations have added:

After running the Business Rule Design Transformer, the following logging is reported:

The result is, as anticipated, that the existing BR_EMP001_ATT is replaced/overwritten. It has an argument for the EMPLOYEES.ID column and it contains an additional comment-line hinting the available input parameters to the Business Rule programmer:

Input parameters available in the validation code:  p_salary, p_id

In Designer 10g, this looks like this:

Resources and Downloads

Since I feel these changes are beneficial to RuleFrame designers and developers, I gladly make the code available. You can download a zip-file with the sources for hsu_brtr.pks and hsu_brtr.pkb as well as hsu_crbr.pkb here:CdmRuleFrameChanges_27aug2005.zip.

Installing the scripts is straightforward:
– extract the files to <hsd_home>\ hsu\scripts\pb\AMIS
– start SQL*Plus as Headstart Utilities Owner (often HSU65)
– run the three scripts: hsu_brtr.pks, hsu_brtr.pkb and hsu_crtr.pkb
– execute the following statement:

begin
  hsu_brtr.install;
  commit;
end;

If you now (re)start the Headstart Utilities Start Form, you should benefit from the three functional enhancements described in this post.

Note: these changes are based on the versions of the source files shipped as part of the Headstart 6.5.3.2 Patch; if you have different base versions of these files, you cannot just replace your scripts with the scripts in this zip-file. In that case, you either first need to ugrade to 6.5.3.2 or you have to manually make changes similar to the ones that I have made in the versions of the files that you have in use.