Sunday, January 15, 2006
Outstanding Questions on Rules Engines
Today, I have decided to share some of the outstanding questions that have been lingering in the minds of lots my peers related to business rules in which I could not find information on from the industry analyst community...
- Recently read that the RETE algorithm developed by Charles Forgy is in its third release. Curious to know if RETE III is open source?
- Curious to understand in general why even the very large analyst firms don't have deep coverage of the rules space? There are at least thirty vendors in this segment and the rules-based approach can have a big potential in making a huge difference in how enterprises can achieve agility.
- In the industry, there are what are known as Rating Engines. Some are of the belief that these are distinct from rules engines while others simply think of them as specializations. Who is correct and why? It would be wonderful if a rules vendor would create a "reference architecture" and make it publicly available on how to use a rules engine for rating.
- Can't seem to locate industry analyst coverage on drools. For that matter, I can't even seem to find any public benchmarks on any of the rules engines. I heard of a benchmark named the Waltz but no one seems to talk about it.
- For enterprises that have adopted the notion of an Enterprise Service Bus, it seems as if rules-based routing is starting to become popular. The extremely scalable ESB Servicemix (happens to also be open source) uses rules based routing. If the ESB product I spent lots of money on didn't come with this functionality, what is the best way to integrate it?
- I would love to hear from industry analysts in terms of books that publishers such as Springer Verlag and others should be thinking about getting acquisitions editors focused on. As an author myself, I have been for the most part disappointed with pretty much all of the books in the rules space (Tony Morgan's book is the sole exception). The vast majority of the rules books are methodology books in disguise and are so general in nature. Maybe folks are eager to have a book that talks about rules architecture, but what should it contain?
- Curious to know why vendors in other spaces where it is J2EE servers, Enterprise Service Bus, or Portals have assembled to work on interoperability excersises and continue to bring useful standards to the table for us but yet we haven't seen any of this in the rules space. I know it is not because they are small as other vendors who are even smaller in other categories have figured out how to participate. Is it that they don't think interoperabiity is important to us customers?
- If the RETE algorithm went from version II to version III, could someone tell me in terms of "design patterns" what types of applications would improve by using the newer algorithm? What types of applications would see a decrease in performance?
- Is RDF rich enough to express and create a portable rules syntax?
- Any universities teaching rules based approaches as part of their computer science program. If not, what can us folks in the enterprise do to change this?