Getting started with Drools and Netbeans

Rule engines are a rather complex topic with potentially a steep learning curve. I am looking at a few options, Drools being one of them. As usual one can read all the theoretical papers, but rather I have a something to look at and play with fast. Ultimately I need to integrate the rule engine into my application, so I dont want to play with eclipse editors for rules but seeing a rule engine ticking inside my Netbeans project. I found one tutorial from Vishal Akhouri which I updated to the latest version of Drools and some minor fixes. Most of the sample source code is from Vishal.



  • Create a new plain java project HelloDrools

    New project

    New project

  • Add below drools libraries from the distribution zip file
    (except the core file which is not part of the zip file)

    Drools Distribution file

  • We are operating outside the eclipse environment, we need to add this jdt core file from
  • Following Vishal’s tutorial we create 3 files
  • Simple Message Class
    package hellodrools;
    public class Message {
        private String type;
        private String msgtext;
         * @return the type
        public String getType() {
            return type;
         * @param type the type to set
        public void setType(String type) {
            this.type = type;
         * @return the msgtext
        public String getMsgtext() {
            return msgtext;
         * @param msgtext the msgtext to set
        public void setMsgtext(String msgtext) {
            this.msgtext = msgtext;
  • The rule file testrules.drl
    import hellodrools.Message
    rule "Hello World"
        message:Message (type=="Hello")
        System.out.println("Hello World, Drools!");
  • The main file
    Update 2012-03-01: Check the updated code with new packages here.

    package hellodrools;
    import org.drools.RuleBase;
    import org.drools.RuleBaseFactory;
    import org.drools.StatefulSession;
    import org.drools.compiler.PackageBuilder;
    import org.drools.compiler.PackageBuilderErrors;
    public class HelloDrools {
        private static RuleBase rbase = RuleBaseFactory.newRuleBase();
        private static PackageBuilder pbuilder = new PackageBuilder();
        private static StatefulSession sessionObject;
        private static String DRL_FILE = "/hellodrools/testrules.drl";
        public static void main(String[] args) {
        private static void initialiseDrools() {
            //1. Read the DRL File and add to package builder
            try {
                Reader reader = new InputStreamReader(HelloDrools.class.getResourceAsStream(DRL_FILE));
            } catch (Exception ex) {
            //2. Check for any errors
            PackageBuilderErrors errors = pbuilder.getErrors();
            if (errors.getErrors().length > 0) {
                System.out.println("Some errors exists in packageBuilder");
                for (int i = 0; i < errors.getErrors().length; i++) {
                throw new IllegalArgumentException("Could not parse knowledge.");
            //3. Add package to rule base
            try {
            } catch (Exception e) {
                System.out.println("Error: " + e);
        // Method to fire all rules
        private static void runRules() {
        // Method to insert message object in session
        private static void initiliseMessageObject() {
            Message msg = new Message();
            sessionObject = rbase.newStatefulSession();
  • Run the project

    HelloDrools project

    Executed rule


  • We know almost nothing about rules yet (other than ‘rule-when-then-end’), nor have any clue about the drools engine. Up to you to read up about the background. Refer to below references.
  • But the most simple rule executed in our beloved Netbeans environment. A starting point to integrate drools into your application and conquer more complex scenarios.
  • I recommend to verify if you really need a rules engines or not. Depends very much on the dynamic nature of your rules and complexity (branches,etc).


12 thoughts on “Getting started with Drools and Netbeans

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  6. I am getting this error:

    java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: org/slf4j/LoggerFactory
    at org.drools.RuleBaseConfiguration.(
    at org.drools.common.AbstractRuleBase.(
    at org.drools.reteoo.ReteooRuleBase.(
    at org.drools.reteoo.ReteooRuleBase.(
    at org.drools.RuleBaseFactory.newRuleBase(
    at org.drools.RuleBaseFactory.newRuleBase(
    at org.drools.RuleBaseFactory.newRuleBase(
    at hellodrools.HelloDrools.(
    Caused by: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: org.slf4j.LoggerFactory
    at Method)
    at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(
    at sun.misc.Launcher$AppClassLoader.loadClass(
    at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(
    … 8 more
    Could not find the main class: hellodrools.HelloDrools. Program will exit.
    Exception in thread “main” Java Result: 1
    BUILD SUCCESSFUL (total time: 0 seconds)

    what have I done! 😦

  7. hey nice tutorial, but i am having one problem that my is not able to pick up testRules.drl file and throwing NullPointerException. Please Help.

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