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Decision Model and Notation – DMN


Decision Model and Notation (DMN), Impact Analysis and Custom Attributes Definition

Decision Model and Notation (DMN) is the best way (in my opinion) to make processes smarter and simpler. It is a common language for business rule initiatives across the enterprise. DMN 1.0 was approved by the Object Management Group (OMG). The relationship between DMN and BPMN is very close. By utilizing DMN in the context of processes, the routing logic of a process can be externalized. This allows the simplification of processes and making them easier to understand without going to too much detail about a specific decision point within a process.

I do not want to train you on the concepts here (I will do that in another post). What I want to show here is how to use FlexRule Designer to model DMN diagrams. In the latest release of our authoring application we introduced DMN modeling. Also, this release allows you to define custom attributes against each element on the model.

Try to create a new project or open an existing one using the latest FlexRule Designer, and then add a new document to your project. What you will notice is that the document selector is more organized and grouped in different nested types (left hand side tree).


What you need to do now is to select “DMN” from the “Analysis” section, and in the template select “Decision Requirement Diagram”. Enter a name for your document and press “OK”.

Now that you have a canvas and DMN toolbox, you simply can drag and drop items onto it.

Here is what you get for DMN modeling in this version:

  1. The DRD editor
  2. Custom attributes manager that allows you to build any set of attributes you need and associate them with different elements on the model
  3. Search on models and custom attributes
  4. Relation type between elements are automatically are chosen
  5. Linking models with different rule/logic implementations (e.g., decision table, rule flow, calculations, procedural logic, etc.)
  6. Impact analysis
  7. All of the advanced diagram capabilities (e.g., Zooming, Overview, Layout, etc.)
  8. and much, much more…


For example, we want to see the impact of changing “Data 2”. What you need to do is simply select that node (Data 2) and then press the “Red” button on the toolbar.


As you can see, this shows all the impacted decisions in the model. If you want to turn it off, you just need to press the button again.

Last Word

FlexRule Designer support for Decision Model and Notation (DMN) in this release has impact analysis capability and custom attributes definition, as well as advanced modeling features (e.g., zoom in/out, search, overview, etc.).

Above all, FlexRule is a fully fledged BRMS solution that provides an advanced authoring tool as well as execution engines. This enables you to link your rule implementation (e.g., Decision Table) to this model and start running, simulating and debugging these right from this modeler. For example, you can simply model a Decision Table in Excel and import it to test and run a Decision Table visually. On the other hand, developers in your team can integrate FlexRule Runtime in their system, so they can execute the Decision Table directly from their code.


We look forward to receiving your feedback. You can download the modeler at http://download.flexrule.com for FREE!

If you want to read the full OMG Decision Model and Notation (DMN) standard specification you can download it from here.

Other Related Articles

1. Decision as a Service using DMN: http://www.flexrule.com/archives/decision-as-a-service/
2. Executing a Decision model and Notation: http://www.flexrule.com/archives/execute-decision-model-and-notation-dmn/
3. Calling a Decision Service using REST API in JavaScript: http://www.flexrule.com/archives/javascript-decision-as-a-service/

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