JRules in the Real-World
Daniel Selman 2700022VQ3 Visits (3688)
I just got back from an on-site visit with one of our customers in the USA, a major insurance company. The customer is using JRules 6.6.x for commercial property insurance underwriting. The trip was very interesting as we were able to get hands-on with their large rule project for 3 days -- approximately 40,000 rules. We gained some fascinating insights into their development challenges and in exchange we performed an audit to ensure they were getting the most out of JRules. I came back with a couple of bugs to fix and a headful of ideas for enhancements.
One of their major challenges is that they simultaneously work on 3 versions of their platform -- a 3 month major release (2.0 say), a 1 month minor release (1.1) and a weekly "patch" release (1.0.5). The patch release is edited in Rule Team Server by business users while the other two releases are edited in Rule Studio by Java developers with JRules training. Due to this rolling release schedule they version the rules in a source code control system (using branches) and have to perform regular merges of the changes coming from RTS into RS.
The RTS repository does not support branches. This was a conscious limitation when we designed RTS as we believed that branching and merging would be problematic for a business user. The development process we therefore recommended is to treat RTS as a satellite user of the source code control system.
As you can see one of the RS users essentially "proxies" the changes coming from RTS into her local workspace.
Due to the textual nature of BAL rules (if-then-else) merging them is relatively straightforward. Decision Tables and Trees are more problematic as they are persisted as complex XML documents. We spent some time discussing the APIs that we provide that might enable a graphical merge capability for Decision Tables.
We also spent quite a bit of time optimizing the RS build time for these large projects. Here is a checklist:
I hope these tips will help as your projects get larger. Rest assured that we take real-world feedback sessions such as this one very seriously and we are constantly trying to stay one step ahead in the race for better performance.