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What is an Authoring Environment?

◷ Reading Time: 4 minutes

FlexRule Designer is an advanced authoring environment. It provides a tabbed-document-interface along with different docking controlled windows. This is to make sure you have the maximum space in your view to accomplish your goals.

The environment consists of a couple of different areas and windows:

  1. Designer Menu and Designer Toolbar
  2. Project Explorer
  3. Document Area
  4. Toolbox
  5. Property Window
  6. Message Window (execution/ exception messages)
  7. Parameters Window
  8. Login Name
  9. FlexRule Notifications

The location of each window (e.g. Property Window) is adjustable. These standard windows and areas are what you’ll find as the default setting when using FlexRule Designer.

Video Description


Designer Menu and Designer Toolbar

Menu and Toolbar contains options related to the Designer and project:

  1. Create / open project
  2. Run / debug
  3. Change view
  4. Install / manage extensions
  5. Publish Packages
  6. Help content

Project Explorer

Project Explorer shows the structure of the project. It also has options to:

  1. Add / remove / import folders
  2. Add / remove / import / duplicate / exclude / rename documents
  3. Change history
More info

These are the available functions.

  1.   Create folder
  2.   Add an existing folder
  3.  Rename
  4.   Exclude
  5.   Add an existing file
  6.   Create file
  7.   Duplicate
  8.   Delete
  9.   View change history

Document Area

FlexRule Designer allows you to create and maintain rules and decisions.

In the FlexRule platform, rules, decisions, validations, flows, workflows, are collectively known as Logic.

FlexRule Designer provides different editors for these Logic types:

  1. Tree-based editor
  2. Diagram-based editor
  3. XML-based editor
  4. Table-based editor

Arranging Documents

In the Document Area, it is possible to arrange multiple documents side-by-side. That allows the Document Area display more than one document at the same time.

1. Click on a tab of the document and hold your mouse button down, until it grays out and shows you a middle area indicator.

2. While holding your mouse button down, drag your document to any available area on the middle indicator.

3. Release your mouse button and the document will be placed in a new location.

Locating Documents

When multiple documents are opened in the Document Area, it becomes necessary to locate one of them back to the Project Explorer window. For this, simply right click on the document tab, and you will see the option Find in Project Explorer.


ToolBox is a command center related to each document. When you switch between documents, the toolbox gets updated and shows related commands that are available and valid for that specific document (Decision Table, Generic Flow, Workflow, etc.).

More info

ToolBox provides a set of different commands that can be drag-and-dropped on to the rule document.

Different command groups are provided based on the type of document that is currently being edited.

This logical grouping of commands should help you find commands more easily.
Click the + or – sign to expand or collapse the group.

Read More

  1. Extending Toolbox for your Project
  2. Extended Toolbox Configuration

Property Window

Each item in a document may have one or more properties. You can set and change the properties and values once they are listed in the Properties Window. It lets you enter the conditions and values of a particular command within a rule.

More info

The Properties Window has three main parts:

  • Top list shows the list of available objects in the opened document.
  • Middle grid lists name/value properties of a selected object.
  • Description panel gives a hint about the selected row in the middle grid.

When an item gets selected in the designer and if the item has properties registered, then the Properties Window selects the registered object in the combo box and the property grid will show the properties name and values. When the row in the middle grid is selected, the description of that row will appear in the description panel.

The Properties Window is sensitive to active selection in the designer environment; if you change the document, or select different objects, it will be refreshed.

Message List Window

Message List is the place where all of the messages related to your interaction with FlexRule Designer will be listed. These messages can be displayed in different formats (e.g., Error, Information, Warning, etc.).

More info

The Message List has a toolbar that enables users to take action on the messages or on the Message List itself. The toolbar has two sections:

  1. Command section
  2. Filter section

The Command section will take action on the messages in the list, while the Filter section will help to filter messages based on different types.

Messages have different levels of severity:

  1. Error: The rule engine will not be able to execute a rule without an error
  2. Warning: The rule engine may still be able to execute the rule, but it is better to fix it based on the warning message
  3. Information: This is an informative message that may appear in the Message List
  4. Log: This is a logging message that will be created based on user activities and actions in the designer application

Trace Errors

When there is an error in the list, you can trace it to find the root of the problem. When you double click on an error and the corresponding item is referenced, Designer will attempt to locate that item. For example, when you validate a document, the list will be filled with different messages, and if you click on an error message on the list, you will navigate to the item in the document which has the error.

Notification Window

Notification Window shows all notices of the mode that are generated during the runtime.

More info

If there are notifications defined in the flow, the messages will be displayed here.

Output Window

Output Window displays logs. These logs may be related to different actions or tasks that you’ve chosen to accomplish. For example, running a rule.

More info

The Output Window will be loaded at the bottom of FlexRule Designer. It shows different messages and feedback while the user is interacting with FlexRule Designer.

The Output Window provides different views that you can switch between. Initially, when you load the FlexRule Designer only the Storage view is shown, but as you work with FlexRule Designer more views can be added as required.


In the Output Window, there is a combo box list that allows you to switch to different views.

Here is a list of some available views:

  1. Storage is a live log for local/online storage with file access.
  2. Debugger Log has the capability to show a live execution path while executing logic documents.
  3. Trace shows live execution traces outputs (if available).
  4. Execution Log shows generated logs based on events that occur during execution.

Parameter window

Debugging business logic (rules, decisions, flows) can be tough. You will need to have a better understanding of what is happening behind the scenes and the values that drive certain behaviours.

Once the logic is being executed, there is execution content associated with it. This content holds many things and one of them is called Variable Container. A variable container is simply a container that holds all the variables, types, functions and parameters related to the execution. This variable container can be inspected using the Parameters Window during the debug session.

More info

As you step into different stages of execution, the variable container will be updated and as a result, the Parameters window will automatically show you the updated results.

The Parameters window allows you to expand the values and drill down to the details of objects when required. It shows the values in a tree in which each node can be expanded to view the details of each value:

The Parameters window provides a read-only list to inspect Variable Container in the execution context.

Data Viewer

In the parameter window toolbox there is a magnifier icon:

This allows you to inspect data in a grid view with search and filter capability:

Login name

Once you log into FlexRule, your username will be shown at the top right corner.

FlexRule notifications

Updates about new releases will be displayed on the top of the Designer window.

Updated on August 14, 2020

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