It's a common practice to set some include and exclude rules to filter some resources.

This small rule engine is implemented in InExRules class. This rule engine may work in one of the two following modes:

  • blacklist mode (default) - any input is included, and you specify what to exclude;

  • whitelist mode - any input is excluded, and you specify what to include.

The order of execution of explicit include/exclude rules depends on the mode.

The rules 'opposite' to the rule engine mode is always executed first! Corresponding rules of the same group (include or exclude) are executed as they are defined.

For example, if the rule engine is in blacklist mode, the engine first executes exclude rules and then include rules. When executing one of these groups, all corresponding rules are executed as defined. This way you can filter out any combination you need.

I am sure you are totally puzzled with the above definitions:) Let's see rules in action, everything will be much clearer!


When created, the rules engine can be filled up with the various include/exclude rules. For example, we can have something like this:

InExRules inExRules = ... // we get the engine instance


What we set here are two rules: one for defining what will be included and one for what is going to be excluded. In this example, rules are simple strings, but this does not have to be the case, as we gonna see later.

After setting the rule, our engine is set and we can start matching input resources. In our trivial example, resources are again strings, so we can write something like:


Order of execution

The above two rules are a bit vague. In one rule, we said we want to include all pages, and then we are excluding one page. Which rule is applied first?

Look again at what we said at the very beginning. The order of execution depends on the current mode. So here is the logic behinds the rule engine in this case:

  • By default, the engine is created in blacklist mode

  • Therefore, everything is included.

  • First check the opposite rules, the excluded group.

  • We have just one excludes rule (

If we stop now, then the rule engine would be set to include all book pages except page 1. But we have more rules:

  • After checking the opposite group, go with the included group.

  • We have one includes rule (*).

We just overwrite the exclude rule! Meaning, we didn't exclude anything!

Changing the mode

Obviously, this is not what we wanted. We have to change the initial mode of the rule engine.

then the rule engine logic goes like this

  • The engine is started in whitelist mode

  • Therefore, everything is excluded.

  • First check the opposite rules, the included group.

  • We have one includes rule (*).

  • After checking the opposite group, go with the excluded group.

  • We have just one excludes rule (

This time, rules are set as we wanted: the whole book is included except page 1.

Last updated