Back to Basics 2 – Oracle Policy Modeler Articles

Back to Basics 2 – Oracle Policy Modeler Articles

Articles are a thorny point, since not all languages have the same concept. But the chances are that if you are working in a latin-based or greek-based language then you will have the concept of “the”, “le” or “la”, or “der”, “die”, “das” and so on. Writers who jump into Oracle Policy Modeler, especially those from other less natural-language focussed tools, tend to write rules that don’t have any articles, or that use the indefinite article. So what should we look out for in the area of Oracle Policy Modeler Articles?

Basic  Idea #2

Articles don’t matter.

Yes they do. Very much so. And perhaps the most insidious problems occur when there is no defined strategy at all, and everyone does what they feel like. For example, consider the following rule.

Oracle Policy Modeler Articles

Notice the lack of article. This rule will validate and work, despite it being a long way from natural language. However, what usually happens next is the entity model becomes more complex. So the designer adds an entity. Either “the customer” or “a customer”.


Notice how the original attributes, customer status and customer is always right, have remained attached to Global rather than the new Entity, since they didn’t contain the exact text “a customer”.


Now in the Debugger we can see the side effect in the language generation.  A customer looks weird. The customer would have been far more readable. And in the Interview debugging session, it looks pretty nasty too.


And of course at the same time, our Interview does not really work because the attribute is not applied to each customer, just to Global.



If we had adopted a common sense approach and created all of our attributes with the more natural “the customer…” we would have had less issues with matching attributes to Entities and better natural language generation, and last but not least it would have been far more normal to read in Word. Oracle Policy Modeler needs to have definite articles both for Entity names and attribute definitions. 

  • Customer is right – not natural language
  • A customer is right – which customer?
  • The customer is right – natural, specific to one customer



Richard Napier

Author: Richard Napier

Richard Napier joined Siebel Systems in 1999 and took up the role of managing the nascent Siebel University in Southern Europe. He subsequently was Director of Business Development and Education for InFact Group (now part of Business & Decisions) for 8 years. He now runs Intelligent Advisor IT Consulting OÜ. Owner of, he also is Co-Founder of the Siebel Hub.

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