Frequently Asked Questions – Click on the arrow to see answers

Previous Customizations

What is the recommendation for customers that have a “very” customized (i.e. lots of java classes) Maximo system? Will there be conflicts? Is it better to migrate everything to Rules Manager? Is a full test cycle needed after Rules Manager rules are added to such an environment (heavily customized)?

We typically find no conflict with previous customizations. This, of course, will depend on the customizations you’ve made, but in general we strive to have our product work with any current customizations.

Migration is often the best, but not always the most cost effective. This judgment should be based on where you are going with Maximo vs. how many/what kind of customizations you have. Full testing is always recommended for any environment.

Architecture

Can you give us further architecture details?  What runs on the server, what in the browser client?

The RulesManager runtime engine runs on the server. There is no installation required to your browser clients or changes to your database.  The Rules Builder Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is based on Eclipse and a Rules Manager plug-in is provided to write rules.

What is installed on the server in order to make Rules Manager work?

Java Archive Repository (JAR) files are installed to your Maximo installations directory and built into your Enterprise Application Repository (EAR) file. You merely have to run the Rules Manager installer, build your EAR file and deploy it to your Web platform as you normally do with “Out of the Box” Maximo.

Does RulesManager require extra resources (RAM, CPU, network bandwidth)?

No. System requirements are same as for Maximo without RulesManager.

Is RulesManager independent of the platform? If not which versions/platforms are supported? Is Rules Manager development portable to any version/platform without changes?

RulesManager is certified against all major platforms that Maximo runs on.

How would you deploy these rules to another environment?  Are they stored in a file somewhere?

The rules are stored in XML files that can be deployed easily to other environments (test and production environments.)

Learning

How is the product packaged? Does it include rules examples for every type of rule? What documentation is provided?

Documentation is included in Studio and sample Rule files and libraries are included.

Are there any best practices for implementing rules in order to improve performance or other considerations?

Standard coding best practices should be followed, e.g. build functions/libraries for items needed in multiple areas and focus on building “low cost/efficient” rules. We have a knowledge base with a living best practices thread and there is a best practices section in our Developers Guide.

What is available in terms of Rules Manager training?

We have a 5-day Rules Manager training course.  It is $4,000/student at our training facility in Alexandria, VA.  We offer an onsite training course for $15,000/class domestic and $18,750/class international for up to 8 students. (plus expenses).

Upcoming courses can be found at our Rules Manager Training page.

We are also creating a 3-day refresher Rules Manager course for the more experienced rule-writer to increase their knowledge. Contact us for more information.

How long does it take for a person to become productive with Rules Manager?

This depends on the proficiency in Maximo. Typically, java programmers are immediately effective, others may take a month of working with Rules Manager to start becoming proficient after completing a RulesManager training course. Students taking the RulesManager training course are also encouraged to bring along their typical problems that their instructor may help solve during the course of the training.

Is it possible to build a library of java script functions that then can be reused in the rules?

Yes, in fact it is recommended. We provide some common useful libraries as well (such as a CSV library).

Support


Does IBM standard support area support clients that have Rules Manager installed?

No. TRM provides RulesManager Support via email and phone.

RulesManager is a Tivoli Approved 3rd Party product. RulesManager has a “turn off” switch so you can completely turn Rules Manager off.  When a problem is encountered and it cannot be isolated, we recommend turning RulesManager off to see if the problem persists.

If it does, when you call the IBM help desk, you can legitimately say you have no 3rd party products installed.

If patches/fixes are installed, are rules affected? Is testing required afterwards?

Yes, we always recommend re configuring and testing your Rules Manager rules after (Maximo) patches are installed. We post support patches for RulesManager as they are QA’d.

Pricing

How is Rules Manager licensed? What is the Price Schedule? Is there a runtime license (for clients that will not need the development environment, will use a third party for development)?

RulesManager licenses mirror a client’s Maximo licenses.  For example, if a client as 100 primary, 300 secondary and 1,000 requester users, they need an equal number of RulesManager primary, secondary and requester licenses. Service providers that support and develop Maximo for their clients should contact us about pricing.

Data Migration

How does RulesManager function as a data migration tool or interface to external systems?

RulesManager provides several options for moving data in and out of Maximo.  RulesManager can be used to import and export data between the systems without the need for Java development.  These tasks can easily be scripted and timed as regular tasks using Rules Manager’s CRON task capability.

One of the distinctions Rules Manager adds is the ability to transact with an external XML service and get real time data on the Maximo screen during a transaction.  An example is using a Rules Manager interface function to get GL account validations from an external system, live at the Maximo screen, while a user is working on a transaction.

Another example showing the flexibility of the Rules Manager Interface functions is a rule which includes an interface to an HR system and populates a lookup (real-time) of only craftsmen currently “clocked in” per the HR system for emergency work orders.

Interface Communication Options
Rules can be written that can include the following interface communication options for Maximo with external systems or data sources which include:

  • HTTP – sending and receiving web transactions in Maximo
  • JDBC – pulling data from an external database into Maximo
  • FTP – sending and receiving FTP files and transactions in Maximo
  • XML Web Services – sending and receiving XML transactions in Maximo, e.g. SOAP
  • File/Directory – creating and accessing files on the Maximo server
  • Email – Sending and listening to SMTP and POP servers
  • SVN – Connecting and creating subversion repositories

Data Parsing Options

Rules Manager includes tools to parse the data as needed.
The following data formats can be parsed within a Rules Manager rule:

  • XML
  • CSV
  • FLAT File
  • JSON
  • HTML
  • ZIP
  • Microsoft Project

CRON Task

Rules Manager supports CRON Tasks so the required frequency of the interface can be set.  Additionally Rules Manager allows scripts to be triggered base on defined conditions when a CRON task fires without the need for any Java coding.

Maximo Integration Framework (MIF)
Rules can be written on MIF, so rules can fire for incoming or outgoing MIF traffic.  This includes rules specifically for Web Services, Enterprise Services, Publish Channels, or Invocation Channels. User Exits, Internal Exits, Response Exits, Processing Classes and Event Filter Classes can all be replaced with Rules Manager rules.

Mobile
Need different rules for Maximo Everyplace? Rules Manager can do that. Rules will also work for any Mobile system that updates data through the application server, this includes Maximo Anywhere.

Scripting Engine

I believe it is possible to run an external java script file via the rules manager. What is required on the machine from where the script is run – full rules manager installed or something less?

It is possible. There is a separate component which we call the standalone engine. The standalone engine allows your script to read/manipulate data from multiple Maximo instances, XML Web services, JDBC databases, local file systems, etc. It has a separate installer. You do not need to have anything on that machine other than java to run the standalone. However, if the standalone needs to connect to a Maximo instance, that Maximo instance must have Rules Manager installed.

Performance Impact

What is the performance impact of Rules Manager?

The RulesManager framework has an insignificant (unmeasurable) footprint and there is no correlation between performance degradation and the number of Rules on the system when development best practices are followed.

Our Quality Assurance team thoroughly vets (and load tests) every release. We’ve tested the performance on several global organizations with over 3,500 rules, multiple time zones and thousands of users – there was a negligible performance impact.

Reporting

Can RulesManager customize the Reports selection and request pages?  For example, can I hide reports from some users/groups and when running a report can I customize the request page to not show some optional report criteria?

RulesManager has the ability to control any (Maximo Business Object) MBO or MBOSet in your Maximo System. Any dialog, application, etc. that uses MBOs and MBOSets to present data can be controlled. In this case, the Report MBO is presenting the data and can be controlled via RulesManager.