Clash of the Java rule Titans
Blaze Advisor 6.1 gains speed, JRules 6.0 gains complexityFollow @infoworld
The other really cool rule management feature is the separate repositories for the business analysts and developers. The developer repository is basically a “checked-out” version of the business analyst one. The two sides can be synchronized at any given time, but there is a date/time problem: By default JRules teams located in different time zones will see the rules execute in the time zone where the rules are located rather than the time zone of the user. An update, version 6.0.1, adds a feature that allows the use of either time zone.
On the down side, ILOG made a number of changes that make the tool far less easier to use for both the experienced programmer and the experienced AI geek. No longer are PDF manuals included in the release (they are online but require an ILOG id and password), and the formerly user-friendly documentation has taken a sharp turn for the worse. Finding the information you need can be nightmarishly difficult. Considering that version 6.0 is by far the most complex and difficult-to-understand implementation that ILOG has ever delivered, now was not the time to hobble the documentation.
Further, JRules no longer provides a way for developers and engineers to access the rules and the standard ILOG Rule Language “irl” files in the same tool. Developers can generate and access “irl” files when using the Eclipse-based BR Studio, but the rules are accessible only through the JRules GUI -- a fine tool for business users but painful for geeks. Developers and engineers need a way to work with the rules and the “irl” files in the same place.
Blaze Advisor and JRules continue to lead the BRMS pack in features suitable for enterprises, and both should be on the consideration list for most enterprise deployments. If you need great reporting templates, maximum speed, and lots and lots of factory support, Blaze Advisor is probably the answer. If rule building and rule management are more important than runtime performance -- if you need different views of the rules for different classes of users, or you want to customize the rule-building GUI and language for your business or industry -- then JRules may be the better choice. The pricing of the JRules starter pack, which includes unlimited use of BR Studio across the company, is also quite favorable.