Tom Baeyens (jBPM / JBoss workflow project lead) has a good post on the jBPM (JBoss workflow) community day held at the Guinness brewery in Dublin. Warning - slides may contain pictures of people drinking beer.
In case you missed How to combine (jBPM) Workflow and (Drools) Business Rules (what do you mean that you were at Java One instead?) - here’s the summary. Slideset is available on this blogpost.
- Workflow (e.g. JBoss jBPM) is great - it allows you to take spaghetti code and draw it as a workflow diagram (flowchart) so that it can be reviewed by the business (the nice people who pay our wages). You then attach standard (Java) actions to these steps.
- Only problem is when you come to a decision node (the one circled in red below): How do you decide to go left or right (in the workflow)? Normally this is coded in Java - good for us, but hidden from those nice business people (which means that this is more room for errors-in-translation).
- Business Rules allow you to keep those decision making rules in Plain English: When something is true , then do this. That’s it. The rule engine does most of the hard work.
- Integrating Workflow and Rules is easy. Use JBoss Seam (link) or do it by hand (link). And it works on non-JBoss web / app servers such as Websphere, Oracle Application Server, Tomcat and Weblogic.
- Repeat x6 : Use workflow and rules. Use workflow and rules …
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In a maybe related development, Tom Baeyens is now using strangely Rules-y like examples over on his workflow blog ….