Streamline Your Node.js Projects: Integrating Nected’s Low Code Rule Engine

Elevate your Node.js applications with Nected’s low code/no code rule engine. Learn with a step-by-step instructions for seamless Nected integration, and efficiently manage complex business rules with Nected.

Mukul Bhati

6
 min read
Streamline Your Node.js Projects: Integrating Nected’s Low Code Rule Engine
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6
 min read
Table of Contents

Rule engines are a critical component in software development, allowing for the separation of business logic from application code. This blog focuses on the use of rule engines in Node.js with JavaScript, particularly leveraging Node JS, a tool for filtering JSON objects. Node.js, a popular JavaScript runtime, enables JavaScript to be used beyond browsers, notably in server-side development. This expansion of JavaScript's capabilities is essential for integrating rule engines into various applications.

JavaScript's flexibility makes it ideal for rule engines, which require dynamic and efficient processing of rules. One notable tool in this context is 'json-rules-engine', demonstrating the integration of rule engines in JavaScript environments. Our exploration will center on how Nected can be utilized within Node.js to implement rule engines effectively. This blog aims to provide a clear understanding of implementing rule engines in Node.js/JavaScript, focusing on the practicality and efficiency of using Node.js.

Understanding Rule Engines in Node.js

Rule engines in Node.js are designed to process and evaluate a set of rules, making decisions based on those rules. In Node.js, a rule engine is typically implemented as a middleware or a service within an application, allowing for dynamic decision-making based on predefined logic. This is particularly useful in scenarios where business logic changes frequently or is too complex to be hard-coded.

What is a Rule Engine?

A rule engine in Node.js interprets and executes user-defined rules written in JavaScript. These rules are usually conditions or expressions that, when evaluated as true, trigger specific actions or outputs. The advantage of a rule engine is its ability to update and manage these rules without altering the core application code, offering flexibility and scalability.

Read Also: Top 10 Business Rules Engine 2024 [Expert Recommendations]

How does Rule Engine work?

In the context of Node.js, rule engines operate by processing a set of predefined rules against incoming data (facts) to determine actions or outcomes. The process typically involves the following steps, which we'll illustrate with a Mermaid diagram:

  1. Define Rules: Rules are defined usually in JSON format, specifying conditions and associated actions.
  2. Load Rules: The rule engine loads these rules into the system, preparing them for evaluation.
  3. Receive Data (Facts): The rule engine receives data, known as facts, which are the subject of rule evaluation.
  4. Evaluate Rules: Each rule is evaluated against the facts. The rule engine checks if the conditions specified in the rules are met by the current set of facts.
  5. Trigger Actions: If a rule's conditions are met, the corresponding actions specified in the rule are triggered.
  6. Return Results: The rule engine then outputs the results of the rule evaluation, which might be decisions, actions to be taken, or modifications to the facts for further processing.

Here's a Mermaid diagram to visually represent this workflow:

In a Node.js application, the rule engine is often integrated as a part of the application's workflow. This integration allows the application to dynamically evaluate and act upon different sets of data based on the defined business logic. The use of JavaScript, particularly with its asynchronous capabilities, enhances the efficiency and scalability of the rule engine, especially in handling complex or large volumes of data.

Best Node.js Rule Engines

When selecting a rule engine for Node.js applications, developers seek tools that are robust, flexible, and integrate seamlessly with their existing JavaScript codebase. In this section, we'll explore some of the best JavaScript rule engines suited for Node.js environments, focusing on their key features and use cases.

Feature/Rule Engine json-rules-engine Nected (nected.ai) Nools easy-rules durable-rules RuleBook
Type Open-source No-code/Low-code Open-source Open-source Open-source Open-source
Complexity Moderate Low to Moderate High Low High Moderate
Use Case Dynamic rule evaluation with complex conditions Customer-centric flows, saving development hours Complex applications with custom DSLs Simple rule-processing Advanced with complex event processing Straightforward rule definition
Key Features JSON-based rule definition, asynchronous conditions Workflow automation, API integration Rule flows, DSL creation Simple API, annotation-based rules Complex event processing, stateful sessions Readable syntax
Flexibility High Extremely High High Moderate High Moderate
Target Audience Developers Non-technical teams Developers Developers Developers Developers
Unique Offerings Easy setup, complex logic handling Dynamic pricing/discounts, payouts/rewards, lead allocation, customer segmentation, scoring Inspired by Java-based Drools, optimized performance Emphasizes simplicity Polyglot engine, declarative rules Easy-to-understand syntax

Nected stands out as a versatile, no-code/low-code option that empowers non-technical teams to personalize and iterate customer-centric flows efficiently. It offers unique features like dynamic pricing strategies, automated payout calculations, lead allocation based on predefined criteria, creation of dynamic customer segments, and dynamic scoring systems, all of which can be seamlessly called via API. This makes Nected particularly appealing for organizations looking to save development hours and streamline complex processes without requiring extensive technical expertise.

json-rules-engine in Node.js

This library is designed to process complex sets of rules and is easily integrated into a Node.js application. The 'json-rules-engine' allows developers to define rules in JSON format, making them readable and maintainable.

Example Implementation

Here's a basic example of how to set up a rule engine using 'json-rules-engine' in Node.js:

  1. Installation: First, install the 'json-rules-engine' package using npm.
npm install json-rules-engine
  1. Setting Up the Rule Engine:

Create a new JavaScript file and import the 'json-rules-engine'.

const { Engine } = require('json-rules-engine');

// Create a new rule engine instance
let engine = new Engine();

  1. Defining Rules:

Define rules in JSON format. For example, a rule that triggers when a user's score is above 50.

let rule = {
  conditions: {
    all: [{
      fact: 'score',
      operator: 'greaterThan',
      value: 50
    }]
  },
  event: {
    type: 'high-score',
    params: {
      message: 'User has a high score!'
    }
  }
};

engine.addRule(rule);
  1. Running the Engine:

Evaluate facts against the defined rules.

engine
  .run({ score: 75 })
  .then(results => {
    results.events.forEach(event => console.log(event.params.message));
  });

In this example, if the user's score is 75, the rule engine will trigger the 'high-score' event and output 'User has a high score!'.

This is a basic example of how json-rules-engine can be integrated into a Node.js application. The power of this tool lies in its ability to handle complex rule sets and conditions, making it a robust solution for various applications requiring dynamic rule processing.

Comparing Rule Execution: JavaScript-based Engines vs. Nected's Low Code/No Code

In JavaScript-based rule engines, like those compared previously, rules are typically defined and executed within the application code. Let’s take an example of a simple rule execution in a JavaScript-based rule engine:

JavaScript Code for a Simple Rule:

Suppose we are using a rule engine like nools. First, we define the rule and the facts (data) upon which the rule will act:

const NodeRules = require('nools');

// Define a rule
const rule = {
    condition: function(R) {
        R.when(this && (this.transactionTotal < 500));
    },
    consequence: function(R) {
        this.result = false;
        R.stop();
    }
};

// Initialize the rule engine
const R = new NodeRules();

// Add the rule
R.register(rule);

// Define a fact
const fact = { transactionTotal: 200 };

// Check the fact against the rule
R.execute(fact, (result) => {
    if (result.result) {
        console.log('Rule passed!');
    } else {
        console.log('Rule failed.');
    }
});

In this script, the rule engine evaluates a transaction total to determine if it is below a certain threshold. The rule is applied to the fact, and based on the outcome, a message is logged.

Read Also: Comparing Rule Engines: Nected vs Drools

Nected Low Code/No Code Framework

Contrastingly, Nected operates on a low code/no code framework, greatly simplifying the rule creation and execution process. The process is more intuitive and less code-intensive, as highlighted in the video:

Nected Rule Execution:

  1. Rule Creation: In Nected, you create rules using a graphical user interface, dragging and dropping conditions and actions to define your business logic.
  2. Deploying Rules: Once the rules are set, you deploy them on the Nected platform through the interface, eliminating the need for manual code deployment.
  3. Rule Execution: To execute the rules, you send data to Nected, typically as a JSON object via an API call. Nected processes this data according to the defined rules and returns the outcome.
  4. Monitoring and Management: Nected provides a dashboard for monitoring rule executions and managing rules, offering real-time insights into rule performance.

Nected’s approach makes it accessible to a wider range of users, not limited to developers, including business analysts and domain experts. This democratizes the rule management process and allows for quicker adjustments and implementations of business logic.

In summary, while JavaScript-based rule engines offer the capability to embed rule logic directly into the application code, Nected’s low code/no code approach streamlines and simplifies rule management, making it more accessible and less time-consuming to implement complex business rules.

How to Integrate Nected within a Node.js Environment?

Integrating Nected with a Node.js application involves making HTTP requests to the Nected API. This section provides a step-by-step guide with code examples to seamlessly integrate Nected into your Node.js project, focusing solely on the integration part.

Step 1: Install Required Packages

First, ensure that your Node.js environment has packages installed to make HTTP requests. A popular choice is axios, a promise-based HTTP client. Install it using npm:

npm install axios

Step 2: Setting Up Axios to Make HTTP Requests

Create a new file or use an existing service file in your Node.js project where you'll handle the communication with the Nected API. Import axios and set up a function to make POST requests to the Nected rule API.

Here’s an example:

const axios = require('axios');

const NECTED_API_URL = ''; // Replace with your Nected rule API URL

async function callNectedRule(data) {
    try {
        const response = await axios.post(NECTED_API_URL, data);
        return response.data;
    } catch (error) {
        console.error('Error calling Nected API:', error);
        throw error;
    }
}

In this function, callNectedRule, we make a POST request to the Nected API using axios. The data parameter represents the payload you need to send to the Nected rule.

Step 3: Using the Nected Integration in Your Application

Now, you can use the callNectedRule function in your application wherever you need to apply the Nected rule. For instance, in an Express.js route handler, it might look like this:

const express = require('express');
const router = express.Router();

router.post('/apply-nected-rule', async (req, res) => {
    try {
        const ruleResult = await callNectedRule(req.body);
        res.json(ruleResult);
    } catch (error) {
        res.status(500).send('Error applying Nected rule');
    }
});

module.exports = router;

In this example, when a POST request is made to /apply-nected-rule, the callNectedRule function is invoked with the request body. The response from the Nected API is then sent back to the client.

Integrating Nected into a Node.js application is straightforward with these steps. By setting up an HTTP client like axios and creating a dedicated function to interact with the Nected API, you can leverage the power of Nected’s rule engine in your Node.js applications. This integration brings the advanced rule-processing capabilities of Nected to your JavaScript-based projects, enhancing their functionality and scalability.

Best Practices for Node.js Rule Engines

Implementing a rule engine in Node.js is a strategic decision that can significantly enhance the flexibility and efficiency of an application. However, to maximize the benefits, it's crucial to follow certain best practices. These guidelines ensure that the rule engine integrates smoothly with the Node.js environment and maintains optimal performance.

  1. Keep Rules Simple and Manageable: Rules should be straightforward and focused on a single condition or action. Complex rules can become difficult to maintain and understand. If a rule becomes too complex, consider breaking it down into multiple simpler rules.
  2. Separate Business Logic from Technical Logic: Keep the business logic (the "what") separate from the technical implementation (the "how"). This separation makes it easier to update rules as business requirements change, without needing to delve into the technical details of the application.
  3. Use Version Control for Rules: Treat your rules as you would any other code. Store them in a version control system. This practice allows you to track changes over time, revert to previous versions if necessary, and understand the evolution of your rule logic.
  4. Test Rules Thoroughly: Just like any other part of your application, rules need to be thoroughly tested. Ensure that you have a comprehensive suite of tests that cover all possible scenarios and edge cases. Automated testing is particularly useful here.
  5. Optimize Rule Evaluation Performance:

Monitor the performance of your rule evaluations. If you notice slowdowns, investigate ways to optimize. This could include reordering rules to ensure that less expensive conditions are evaluated first or caching frequently used data.

Read Also: The Best Alternative to Microsoft Rules Engine in 2024

In conclusion, rule engines in Node.js offer a powerful and flexible way to manage complex business logic separately from application code. We've explored various rule engines like json-rules-engine, Nools, easy-rules, durable-rules, RuleBook, and notably Nected, each catering to different needs within the Node.js environment. Nected, with its no-code/low-code approach, stands out for empowering non-technical teams to efficiently handle customer-centric flows. The choice of the right rule engine depends on the specific requirements of the project, balancing factors like complexity, ease of use, and the technical expertise of the team. By leveraging these tools, developers can significantly enhance the efficiency, scalability, and maintainability of their Node.js applications.

Rule Engine in Node JS FAQs:

Q1. What is the learning curve like for integrating Nected into a Node.js project?

The learning curve for integrating Nected into a Node.js project is relatively gentle, especially due to its low-code approach. Developers familiar with making API calls in Node.js will find the technical integration straightforward. The main learning aspect involves understanding how to use Nected's platform to create and manage rules, which is facilitated by its user-friendly interface.

Q2. Is Node.js a Tool for Running JavaScript Code?

Yes, Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that allows JavaScript code to be executed outside of a web browser. It's commonly used for server-side programming, allowing JavaScript to be used for a wide range of applications beyond web pages.

Q3. How does a rule engine like Nected handle complex logic compared to traditional JavaScript rule engines?

Nected handles complex logic through its intuitive, graphical user interface, allowing users to define rules without deep technical knowledge of coding. This contrasts with traditional JavaScript rule engines, where rules are written and maintained as code. Nected's approach makes rule management more accessible and less error-prone, especially for users who are not professional developers.

Q4. How does Nected's no-code/low-code approach benefit Node.js developers?

Nected's no-code/low-code approach simplifies the process of implementing complex business rules, making it accessible even for those with minimal coding experience. For Node.js developers, this means they can integrate sophisticated rule processing into their applications without writing extensive code. This approach reduces development time, makes the application easier to maintain, and allows for quick updates or changes to rules without needing to modify the application code.

Q5. Can Nected be integrated with existing Node.js applications that already use another rule engine?

Yes, Nected can be integrated with existing Node.js applications, even if they are currently using a different rule engine. Since Nected operates through API calls, it can work alongside other systems without interference. This allows developers to leverage Nected's capabilities where its no-code/low-code features are beneficial, while still maintaining other rule engines for different parts of the application as needed.

Q6. How do Node.js developers ensure that the integration with Nected is secure?

To ensure secure integration with Nected, Node.js developers should use HTTPS for all API calls, manage API keys securely, and follow best practices for data encryption and validation. It’s also important to regularly review and update security measures in line with evolving security standards and threats.

Q7. Can Nected be used for real-time decision-making in Node.js applications?

Yes, Nected can be used for real-time decision-making in Node.js applications. By making API calls to Nected's rule engine, applications can process data in real-time and receive immediate responses based on the defined rules. This makes Nected suitable for applications that require instantaneous decision-making, such as fraud detection systems, dynamic pricing models, and real-time personalization.

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