Blaze Advisor 6.5 springs forward, falls back
Verification and automated testing for business rules bring more reliability to rule services; if only the new tools were easier to useFollow @infoworld
In Blaze Adviser 6.5, Fair Isaac incorporates advanced rule management features such as rule verification and testing, customizable lifecycle management tools, and automated deployment of analytical models. Building upon the three-part architecture adopted in the 6.x line and now standard across the industry, Version 6.5 improvements will help address the needs of large, enterprise-class customers in managing business rules.
Fair Isaac has added more than 20 new features and improvements to this release. One of the most useful is the verification and testing framework. This consists of two parts: a verification tool to detect common logic errors and an automated testing tool that is similar to other code-driven, "xUnit" testing frameworks. Performance continues to be the best among the commercial BRMSes (business rule management system) according to our benchmarks.
For large scale, enterprise-wide applications, Blaze Adviser is a top choice due to the breadth and depth of the feature set. For smaller, tactical projects, however, the complexity of the product may tilt the scales toward lighter-weight options.
No-excuses test tools
The verification tool is impressive. It performs a static analysis on rules and functions to detect common errors. Think of lint for rules. In my tests, the tool was even able to detect some advanced programming errors such as infinite loops and semantic errors, and it provides a hypertext link to the part of the rule containing the error. Although range and value checking are always important, a tool like this makes a good first line of defense against common errors.
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Test results are displayed in a panel similar to the JUnit display in Eclipse, with a summary of tests run, results, and an overall progress bar. Having a testing framework embedded into the rule authoring environment makes testing a great deal easier and increases the chances that business users will actually run tests.