Simon’s Backup Weblog


Pimping my words: Rules Engines in El Reg

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on August 3, 2006

Here’s the first chunk of some work I’ve been doing for The Register, looking at rules engines and declarative programming.

Businesses run on rules. They define business processes, and describe just what happens if something goes right – or if it goes wrong. Do all the gold-rated customers get a 10% discount, and what happens if one calls customer support? Business rules are part of the decision support systems that underpin every business process.

You can write the rules into your application business logic, but they quickly become spaghetti code, as you try to wrap each and every rule into a self-referential chain of “if then else”, “case endcase” and “do while” statements (depending on your language of choice). Business rules change more often than the applications behind them. Debugging every case can add days and complexity to application tests, and meanwhile the business process owner is waiting for you to make the last set of rule changes…

Read more here.

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3 Responses to 'Pimping my words: Rules Engines in El Reg'

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  1. nmg said,

    Heh. I notice that you decided not to scare off the punters by pointing out that rules engines are in fact what is traditionally considered to be the domain of artificial intelligence, and by not mentioning the words “expert system”.

    That is, of course, what makes you a journalist and me an academic…

  2. sbisson said,

    I used code… “knowledge-based system design” šŸ™‚ After all, is the one with the AI degree in this household!

    Of course, the problem with AI is that it’s a moving goal post. Once a problem gets solved, well, it’s just computer science…

  3. spride said,

    What about the existing and long-running business rules implementations in SAP etc?


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