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MidPoint 4.2 and later


MidPoint objects do not live in isolation. Often they need to take data from related objects. And so if an object changes, the change needs to be cascaded to related objects.

In midPoint 3,3 (2015) we have implemented "recompute affected" model execution option. Its purpose was to trigger recomputation of members of a role that was modified by the operation. Today we need to reimplement this mechanism in more generic and powerful way. Here it is.


For those that want to learn by reading code samples, please see

Links between objects

In midPoint there are many kinds of links among objects. They are differentiated by relation attribute of the particular object reference. Relations can be standard or custom. (More information on this topic can be found e.g. on Relation and Relation Configuration pages.)

These are typical situations when two objects are linked:

SituationLink sourceLink targetRelationNote
User A has a role R.User ARole Rorg:default
User A is a member of org O.User AOrg Oorg:default
User A is a manager of org O.User AOrg Oorg:manager
User A is an owner of token T.User AService T (archetyped as token)org:default(Or org:owner.)
User A is a child of user B.User AUser Bcustom:childThis is not supported now. The only user-user assignments we support are delegation ones.
Role R has a metarole M.Role RRole Morg:default(Or org:meta.)
User A is an approver for role R.User ARole Rorg:approver

Assignments vs. links

A link between two objects can be:

Kind of linkWhere storedNote
actualroleMembershipRef We should perhaps rename this item eventually.

So the link between two objects (A → B) is in one of 4 states:

YesYesThe usual case. There is an assignment from A to B. The assignment is valid and effective, so the information is in roleMembershipRef as well.
YesNoThere is an assignment from A to B. But it is either invalid (from the activation point of view) or not effective (from the conditions point of view), so there's no record in roleMembershipRef.
NoYesThere is no direct assignment from A to B, but the link was created indirectly, e.g. via some inducement, for example from A to B, where B induces C. So A → C is not prescribed but actual.
NoNoA and B have no link altogether, or there is an indirect assignment that is not valid or not effective.

Navigating links

Each link has two participants:

Link sourceObject that has something linked. Usually it is the holder (owner) of the respective assignment.
Link targetSomething that is linked to the object.

In mappings we can use the following methods to find "the other side" of our links:

MethodTo be invoked onMeaningSearch criteriaVersion returning single object
midpoint.findLinkedTargetslink sourceReturns all linked objects matching specified criteria.object type, archetype (experimental: link type name)findLinkedTarget
midpoint.findLinkedSourceslink targetReturns all objects that have the current one as link target.object type (experimental: link type name)findLinkedSource

Note that findLinkedTargets should be used only after assignments are processed, as it needs fresh information from assignment evaluation. Therefore:

  1. You cannot use it in inbound mappings.
  2. If you use it in object templates, you need to specify <evaluationPhase>afterAssignments</evaluationPhase>.
  3. The use in assigned/induced focus mappings or resource outbound mappings is OK.

On the other hand, findLinkedSources has no such limitation.

For some examples please see individual scenarios for linked objects.

midpoint.findLinkedTargets  method has relativistic behavior: it returns data derived from the new state of focal object if evaluating "new" state and the data derived from old roleMembershipRef values if evaluating the "old" state.

On the other hand, midpoint.findLinkedSources returns the same data in both "old" and "new" state, because the links from sources to the focal object are not changed in the course of focal object processing.

Cascading the changes

We often need recompute one side of the link when relevant parts of an object on the other side (or the link itself) change. We usually use policy rule with <scriptExecution> policy action for this.

Selecting objects to be recomputed

The <scriptExecution> policy action has an option to specify object(s) on which given midPoint script (bulk action) should be applied. This option is called object and has the following values:

OptionCardinalityBulk action will be run onOption value typeNote
currentObjectsingleThe current focus object. This is the default if nothing is specified.ObjectSelectorType
linkTargetmultipleObjects that are targets of links coming from this object (i.e. results of assignments of this objects) are recomputed.LinkTargetObjectSelectorType
linkSourcemultipleObjects that are sources of links coming to this objects (i.e. objects that have assignments to this object) are recomputed.LinkSourceObjectSelectorType
namedLinkTargetmultipleA shortcut for linkTarget with specified linkType.stringExperimental. May be removed.
namedLinkSourcemultipleA shortcut for linkSource with specified linkType.stringExperimental. May be removed.

Object sets coming from individual options and also from individual values of these options are added together.

The values of the above options are used to select what specific link targets or sources to use; and under what conditions the current object is to be selected. You can use these filters ("and"-ed together when present in a single value):

type Type of the object.yesyesyes
subtype Subtype of the object.yesyesyes
archetypeRef Archetype of the object.yesyesyes

Top node of an organizational hierarchy. This node and all of its subnodes (transitively, unlimited depth) are considered matching.


Filter that an object must match to be considered selected. This filter MUST NOT contain organization unit clauses. It may only contain property clauses, logical operations and so on.


Link matches if it has any of the relation specified. (If no relation is specified, all relations match.)

linkType Name of the declared link type. (Experimental.)
changeSituation In what situations (change-related) does the link match? (always, added, removed, inNew, inOld, changed, unchanged)

The link target is related to the assignment that brought this policy rule to the focus object. This setting can eliminate the need to specify linked targets e.g. via archetype, if the archetype itself brings this policy rule to the object.

This filter is approximate only! First, it ignores relations. Second, it ignores whether the assignment that brought this policy rule was really the one that become listed in (old/new) roleMembershipRef. So please do not use it if you need absolute precision.


The link target was matched by some policy constraint in this rule (e.g. assignment modification constraint has a target object equal to assignment target). This setting can eliminate the need to specify linked targets e.g. using archetype.

Highly experimental, probably will be removed.


Possible values of changeSituation filter are:

ValueMeaningOld existenceNew existence
always Link always matches (even if it existed but does not any more). This is the default.any (X)any (Y)
added Link matches only if it was just added.falsetrue
removed Link matches only if it was just removed.truefalse
inNew Link matches if it exists in the "new" state.any (X)true
inOld Link matches if it exists in the "old" state.trueany (X)
changed Link matches if its existence was changed.any (X)not X
unchanged Link matches if its existence was unchanged.any (X)X

An example:

Recomputing devices when user name changes
                   <archetypeRef oid="........"/>

This rule causes recomputing all linked objects with specified archetype when name or fullName of the current object is modified. See also recompute for more information on object recomputation.

Asynchronous execution

In situations where there are many objects to be recomputed you can specify asynchronous execution i.e. execution of the recomputation in the context of a background task.

This is done using <asynchronousExecution> item containing the following options:

executionMode Mode of asynchronous script execution.iterative (the default)
taskTemplateRef Reference to task template i.e. task that is used as a template (prototype) of the actual task being created.

An expression that takes a task and customizes its content.

Input variable: preparedTask  (of TaskType).
Output: object of TaskType type that should be used.

The script can simply modify preparedTask and return it, see the example below.

Note that this is the final step in task preparation. So the task is executed in the form that is prepared by this expression.

Asynchronous execution modes

The following modes are available:

Execution modeMeaningComment
iterativeUses iterative scripting handler, i.e. object query with a script that processes every object found.This is the default and recommended option.

Uses single-run scripting action. Input for this action contains references to objects that should serve as bulk action inputs.

To be used in special cases only.
singleRunNoInputUses single-run scripting action without any explicit input.

Task templates

The task template can contain any options you want to be present in the final task. Its state should be waiting or closed to avoid being run independently. The following items are set for the final task (so overwriting ones present in the template):

ItemMeaningValue set
name Task nameName of the task template (or "Execute script" if no template is specified) plus a random number suffix.
ownerRef Task ownerCurrently logged-in user, or user specified in runAsRef for script execution policy action.
executionStatus Task execution statusRUNNABLE (This is quite obvious: task should be run.)
archetype assignmentTask archetype00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000509 (Iterative bulk action task) for iterative execution mode and 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000508 (Single bulk action task) for other execution modes.

Note that the taskTemplateRef  can contain object filter, even with expressions. Those expression can refer to focuspolicyAction, policyRule and configuration. variables. An example:

                            import com.evolveum.midpoint.xml.ns._public.common.common_3.OrgType
                            focus instanceof OrgType ? '9c50ac7e-73c0-45cf-85e7-9a94959242f9' : '9107b8a4-0a0a-4e82-a4c6-9d84034f9d6e'

Task customizer

You can specify any other task properties (or delete any pre-set ones) using a special expression that expects preparedTask as its input and should return modified task object. Returned object can be one that was received as input (with necessary modifications). An example:

            <!-- This script assumes the existence of 'memberRecomputationWorkerThreads' integer property in ModelExecutionOptionsType extension.
                 It uses the value of this option to set worker threads (mext:workerThreads task property) for given task. -->
      'Task being prepared = {}', preparedTask.asPrismObject().debugDump())
                preparedTask.description = 'Hello there'
                workerThreads = midpoint.getExtensionOptionRealValue('memberRecomputationWorkerThreads')
                basic.setTaskWorkerThreads(preparedTask, workerThreads)

Delaying recomputation using triggers

There are situations when you want to delay the recomputation. A typical case is when you want to recompute members of abstract roles that are (potentially) changed on larger scale. For example when they are synchronized from a resource. Or if they are modified using a bulk action. Or if it is simply expected that users are going to edit more roles via GUI in short period of time (relative to the time needed to recompute members of these roles).

In such cases you can simply set a recompute trigger on relevant objects instead of recomputing them immediately. The trigger can be set either unconditionally, or for a given time in the future. The latter option optimizes even the creation of the triggers by skipping triggers that are known to be redundant. See recompute for more details.

(Note also that triggers can be set synchronously or asynchronously. The latter option is suitable for roles with lots of members.)

Enabling/disabling the change propagation

The original "recompute affected" option has an advantage that it can be turned on or off directly when submitting the operation e.g. via GUI. In order to implement a similar mechanism we devised a concept of ModelExecuteOptions  extension items. You can define these using standard extension mechanism, e.g.

<xsd:schema elementFormDefault="qualified"

    <xsd:complexType name="ModelExecutionOptionsTypeExtensionType">
                <a:extension ref="c:ModelExecuteOptionsType"/>
            <xsd:element ref="tns:recomputeMembers" minOccurs="0"/>

    <xsd:element name="recomputeMembers" type="xsd:boolean">
                Enables or disables recomputation of members - for abstract roles or their archetypes
                that look at this extension property.

And then you could check for this option in conditions related to the particular policy rules, e.g.

            When department cost center changes, members must be recomputed
            (unless explicitly disabled in execution options).

The specific options cannot be (now) set via GUI. However, they can be specified in bulk actions, synchronization reactions, or anywhere where model API is called from Java or groovy code. In the near future we implement support also for REST calls.


Authorizations should be checked somehow when processing execution options. Currently they are not.

An example of setting the options within synchronization reaction:


Security aspects

  1. The midpoint.findLinkedSources and findLinkedTargets methods use model API to retrieve objects, so they are executed under privileges of currently logged-in user. You can use runAsRef mechanism in expressions to use a different user, if needed.
  2. Scripts (bulk actions) in scripting policy rules also execute under privileges of currently logged-in user. You can use scriptExecution.runAsRef to use a different user. There is one exception, though: the search for relevant objects (linked sources or targets) is currently done directly via repository because of the performance. So the security is not being applied there. This might change in the future.

Performance considerations

There are many things related to performance to consider. Let's mention some of them:

  1. Foreground or background processing of change propagation? This is quite obvious: if the objects linked are only a few and if their recomputation is fast, it can be done on the foreground. If we only want to trigger the recomputation via triggers, it can be also done on the foreground (even for a slightly larger sets of linked objects). But for all other cases, background processing is preferred. And, if processing more focus objects with potentially overlapping sets of linked ones, using triggers is strongly advised to avoid repeated recomputation.
  2. Where to attach change propagation policy rules? For example, in user → device scenario (Linked objects scenario 2: Devices owned by users) policy rule that causes recomputation of linked devices can be put either into user archetype (with order 1 inducement) or device archetype (with order 2 inducement). The advantage of the latter case is that it is applied to the user only if the user has at least one device (so sparing some processing time.) The disadvantage is that if a user has multiple devices, the policy rule is present multiple times: once for each device. And here comes the distinction: if the rule recomputes all devices, this would lead to repeated recomputation of them. So, if you have a rule that recomputes all linked objects of a kind, then it should be induced only once, i.e. assigned to the user from user archetype. If the rule recomputes only relevant devices (using matchesRuleAssignment or matchesConstraint clause) or it is expected that there is at most one matching linked object, it can be attached to target's archetype.
  3. Looking for sources and targets in midpoint.findLinkedSource and midpoint.findLinkedSource methods: The former uses a traditional repository query, as it has no hints of who could be the sources. It can be fast or slow, depending on the complexity of the query and the number of objects returned. Fortunately, the result should be cached (locally or globally), so the repo cost will be incurred only once. When looking for targets, candidate set of objects is taken from assignments and preliminarily filtered on object type. However, further filtering requires fetching these objects. (By OID.) In extreme cases that might present hundreds of objects. The repo calls should be cached. But - in both cases - the objects pass model getObject/searchObjects methods, so all the model processing (security, template, post read hooks) is applied. And it is not treated by cache, so it is applied each time these methods are used. If this is an issue, you'd need to write your own (optimized) versions of these methods or, providing that platform subscription is in place, request such changes from Evolveum.
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