Home / PolicyModels Tutorial

When Graphs Grow

Sometimes it makes sense to split a decision graph file into a few files. Some examples might be:

Reuse parts of the graph

When a part of the decision graph handles a issue common to a few graphs, that part can be stored in its own file and imported to those graphs. This is an improvement over copying and pasting the code, which also duplicates errors and makes maintenantce harder.

Easier collaboration

When a decision graph is split such that colleboratoers do not edit the same file at the same time, collaboration becomes easier (no merge conflicts!).


If a part of a decision graph is likely to change often, creating a dedicated file for it would make those changes easier to do. It is also easier to mix and match graph parts by altering imports than it is to mix and match them by copying and pasting code.

Easier editing

It’s easier to edit and reason about smaller files.

Divide and Import

In order to import one decision graph into another, we use the [#import] node. These nodes have to appear before any other nodes in the graph. An import node references a file, and gives it a local name that will be used to refer to the nodes in it. Note the # before the word “import”, stressing that this is not an instruction node.

Here’s a simple graph using imports:

[#import health: sub-graphs/health2-final1.dg]
[#import enc: sub-graphs/encryption-EU.dg]

[call: health>hippa]
[call: enc>at-rest]

The first #import node references the “health2-final.dg” file at a directory called “sub-graphs”. The path is resolved relative to the policy model’s directory, so in this example “sub-graphs” must be a sub directory of that directory. The importing decision graph can now call the nodes in “health2-final.dg” using the specified prefix health. This is done by the first call node.

So far, we’ve seen how to have the decision graph directly update the current value, using set nodes and control flow. But values can also be inferred.