Give Your Business Logic a Framework with Drools
Subject:   Business Users
Date:   2005-08-04 14:04:25
From:   vikdavid
Response to: Business Users

Ok, I was impressed by the Drools-Excel link. On a previous project, we did exactly this: took business rules written in MS-Excel by the biz users, wrote some scripts to convert Excel->XML, and our program worked with the XML 'rules' at runtime. Very nice that the drools people provide a standard way to do this.

I'm stressing the business users because IMHO rules engines are supposed to make biz rules more maintainable. And one way I've see that work is if you can actually take what a business analyst gives you (eg: an Excel file) and convert it to a format that the program can use (eg: XML), with little or no programmer intervention. BUT if the programmer is just writing the rule in XML instead of Java, then... like you said, it's a skillset thing and that leads to other problems (a topic for a long blog entry ;-).

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  • Business Users
    2005-08-05 00:21:11  paul_browne [View]

    I've also been very impressed by the Drools project in general.

    I wouldn't see Drools as 'program-in-XML-instead-of-Java' - the underlying approach is very different: With Drools you state what you know to be true , with Java you say exactly what you want done. The Drools approach can lead to more simple code (none of those messy , tangled , if..then statements).

    In an 'ideal world' not only could business analysts write rules (if they wanted to) , but other Analysts could use RAD Tools to develop the user interface (the market Visual Basic aimed at). The productivity gain comes from not waiting for a developer to translate requirements into code , with the possibility of making mistakes.

    In reality , there will always be requirements that need a Developer (such as writing rules against a Database). As ever , the balance of work between Developer and Analyst will depend on project, organisation and skillsets.

    Paul Browne