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JBoss Drools over SOA

The popular open-source Java business rules engine known as Drools will soon become part of the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System, says Pierre Fricke, JBoss's director of product management. Mark Proctor, Drools lead developer, is joining the middleware provider as a software architect, and Drools founder, Bob McWhirter, will consult on the integration.

Drools is based on Charles Forgy's Rete algorithm but tailored for the Java language. Adapting "Rete" to an object-oriented interface allows for a more natural expression of business rules with regards to business objects, according to Fricke. It is written in Java but able to run on both Java and .NET. And it is designed to allow pluggable language implementations.

By incorporating the Drools project, JEMS will enable dynamic processing and intelligent routing within business processes based on service level agreements or other business rules, Fricke says.

The decision to incorporate the Drools engine into JEMS was arrived at by a vote of the Drools community, Proctor says. “It was incredibly important that the Drools community be involved in the decision process to join JBoss," he says. "We’ve seen what JBoss did for Hibernate, JBoss jBPM and Apache Tomcat, and have every confidence that Drools will achieve similar success with dedicated resources from JBoss.”

The addition of the Drools engine to JEMS completes the suite's "natural evolution as an interoperable, open-source platform inherently suitable as a foundation for SOA,” Fricke tells SOATrends. JBoss is systematically building out JEMS so enterprises have an alternative SOA platform, he says.

The JEMS product suite combines the JBoss app server with the Hibernate object/relational persistence and query service for Java, the JBoss Portal, the Eclipse IDE, Apache Tomcat, and other technologies. The company recently added an enhanced version of the jBPM workflow and orchestration engine to the suite.

JBoss made the announcement at its annual JBoss World user conference, under way this week in Barcelona. The company is using the event to crank up the volume on its SOA message.

"JEMS combines mass-market appeal with an open, pluggable architecture on which customers and partners can build applications in whichever way they want,” Shaun Connolly, JBoss's VP of product management, says.

JEMS's evolution may not be quite complete: JBoss plans to enhance its SOA capabilities further with the release of JBoss Messaging in early 2006. JBoss Messaging will be the backbone of JBoss Enterprise Service Bus, Fricke says. The ESB, which will be based on the Java Business Integration specification (JSR-208) is due later in 2006.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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