Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two great pieces of news from the Drools team: Mark Proctor to join RuleML as a Director and US Navy and OSDE community involvement.

Two great pieces of news from the Drools team: Mark Proctor to join RuleML as a Director and US Navy and OSDE community involvement.
(pdf version)

Mark Proctor has been invited to join RuleML as a director, to which he has graciously accepted. RuleML is best known for its work in relation to standards, both the RuleML standards and W3C's RIF standard. However the remit of the RuleML group extends much further than this, as was seen at this year’s RuleML Symposium. RuleML is more than just rule standards, its interests cover a wide variety of topics from event processing to the semantic web and it is a working group for general logic based collaboration and knowledge sharing. The Symposium event is in itself a great opportunity for researchers and engineers to meet and discuss the future, as well as listen to other leaders in the field. While other conferences have shrunk in size, it was good to see RuleML continue to grow again this year and it's always a pleasure to see students giving Drools related talks. RuleML along with the October Rules Festival are leading the way for research and engineering related events.

At the same time we are pleased to announce that the Drools team will be tripling its core community size from 5 to 15 developers thanks to development projects within the Department of Defense and OSDE (Argentina's largest healthcare organisation). A US Navy lead Clinical Decision Support research effort will be coordinating the work of its 5 full time developers with those of the core Drools team. OSDE will similarly align 4 full time and two part time (50%) developers. All members have the common goal of building the ultimate in Enterprise Decision Management and Business Automation; their commitment to community coordination is appreciated.
The coordinated work will focus on building enterprise tooling and capabilities with Mark Proctor providing subject matter expertise. The continued work of unifying and integrating rules, workflow and event processing for seamless use will remain a central tenet for all aspects of the development. Activities include extending existing authoring metaphors, adding powerful templating capabilities and meta authoring features, building sophisticated deployment and runtime management systems, enhancing the existing WS-HT based human task system for the demanding needs of the healthcare industry and completing the current BPMN2 solution. There will also be a focus of work around grid, cloud and interactive debugging, simulating and testing.

Healthcare is a demanding industry that often rides the cutting edge of technology. The recent advances of Drools, which brings fully unified and integrated workflow and event processing capabilities to the table, with our already powerful rule engine, positions Drools as a disruptive and enabling piece of technology for the Healthcare industry. In support of this and in true Open Source tradition of “We can do more when we work together” we are pleased to welcome these new community members.

For the Drools team, and the entire community involved in our project, things have never been more interesting and the future never looked so bright.

Sponsoring community involvement is one of the best ways to take control of your IT investment and get a great ROI, with the accelerated results in Drools helping you to build a more flexible and agile business. If you would like to follow in the footsteps of OSDE and the US Navy and get involved, please don't hesitate to contact me - mproctor at codehaus d0t org.

Mark Proctor
Drools Project and Community Lead.



  1. Btw big thanks to my wife for writing this for me - she works as a comms manager. She saw my attempt and said it was embarrassing :)

  2. OSDE is Argentina's largest healthcare organisation. Sorry at one point that was in an early draft and must have been removed by mistake. I've added it back in.

  3. Indeed, thanks to the unofficial comms manager (on loan from Transport For London) - nicely done !

  4. Interesting news. Can you comment on how this is related to the Red Hat (JBoss?) product line? I think we pay for JBoss Rules support so is this something that'll be supported too? :-)

  5. The work is happening at the community side, where actually all R&D work takes place.

    It's a coordinated community effort, which actually is no different to how we have always operated. The only difference here is it's an acceleration of that coordinated community work, but it's still business as normal. Because it helps accelerate things, that were already planned, I figured most people in the community might like to know about this.

    As always based on community feedback, customer demand and over all company product direction some or all parts will hopefully make it into the product at some point in the future.

    That's the beauty of the community and productisation process at JBoss.

  6. Thanks for this Mark. Any idea when we might see some of this making it's way into product? Plus we were told JBoss BPM productization effort was around JBoss jBPM not Drools, so this is still confusing. Help! :-) Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe we see Guvnor (sp?) in BRMS (dead or not ;) and from what we were told a few months ago CEP and Solver would be in the Red Hat SOA Platform. But nothing about 'flow. Except jBPM.

  7. "Any idea when we might see some of this making it's way into product?"
    I'm not a product manger at JBoss, and much of this is their decision, not mine. But I'll try and answer from the best of my knowledge, for a more definite answer please do ask to speak to a product manager directly.

    "Plus we were told JBoss BPM productization effort was around JBoss jBPM not Drools, so this is still confusing. Help!"
    Actually the JBoss BPM productisation process is currently focussing on WS-BPEL (RiftSaw project which is built around ODE) in a first phase. But there have always been plans for multiple process languages at a product level - you will need to speak to a product manager about post RiftSaw direction. There is not "a one size fits all" market and different products satisfy different customer needs, overlap is not a problem imho. I believe Drools Flow has unique characteristics in comparison to other offerings and this post, along with the flurry of questions in the user mailing list, provides further evidence for this. Product management monitors Drools Flow closely and hopefully (but no guarantees) with further growing community and customer demand Drools Flow will undergo productisation.

    The productisation process is there to ensure clarity to customers. It provides roadmaps and dictates what is and what isn't supported. It's best to think about community stuff like IBM AlphaWorks (except you get to join in) - lots of interesting stuff, some of it overlaps, some of it never gets made into a product.

    "Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe we see Guvnor (sp?) in BRMS (dead or not ;)"
    As the product grew the bug fixing and small tweaking was taking up more and more time, leaving less time for new features. Community involvement to help scale the project takes time to build up, and Guvnor is much younger than the engine which has always received a healthy amount of help. These are typical pains of any young and rapidly growing piece of software. These issues are being addressed internally, but this announcement certainly helps towards solving this problem - once again tilting the pace of development from maintenance to rapid feature development.

    "we were told a few months ago CEP and Solver would be in the Red Hat SOA Platform."
    There is certainly a lot of demand for Drools Fusion and product management are looking into this closely, no dates yet.

    Drools has a variety of high end research projects (think IBM AlphaWorks again), such as Chance and Solver. The community process makes this type of research possible. Because of the high-end and specialist nature of these projects, it is unlikely they will ever appear at JBoss supported products.

  8. Mark, thanx for answers. I'll see if I can convince my mngr to talk with a jboss product manager. But for now I wish you and the team all the best for the future. It's been a great ride as a user so far and I'm sure I speak for all of the members of my team when I say that I hope the nedxt few years are as fun as the passed.

  9. "I'll see if I can convince my mngr to talk with a jboss product manager."

    Out of interest, what Drools components do you use now and what ones do you plan to use?

  10. Sorry if this is a little disjointed but its early for me. Our needs at the moment are using the basic rules engine to express a series of business rules (I can't go into details but we have many hundreds) and I think we'll be moving to using BRMS soon - at the moment we manage the rules ourselves using cvs and a manual process pita. We're in the middle of some longer planing and several of us see the need for events and maybe work flow, but that is a few years off for us. But its good to have the knowledge so we can make those plans.

  11. Ah, it had to happen. Mark Proctor, Geek Extraordanier, now middle level manager. Nice photo. Nice suit. Nice wife to write up his PR promos.


  12. As for WS-HT, we are planning to add HISE plugin for drools flow. If you feel interested in it, you can cast a vote for this feature

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