Open source rule management

Jess and JBoss Rules reviewed

Open source rules

JBoss Rules and Jess are similar in both design and functionality. Neither would be a good choice for a fast-track enterprise project, or for a large application requiring input from many business users or analysts. But both are suitable for business applications that use fewer than, say, 1,000 rules and 100 objects, which means most applications.

How to choose between them? If you are especially price-sensitive, then JBoss Rules is the answer; it's free. If you seek a formal network of service partners, or if you like the "true" open source approach that focuses on development, versus user support, again JBoss would be the better choice.

On the other hand, if you want more stability, in terms of a longer track record for the product and a longer-established user community, you can't go wrong with Jess. Likewise, if your project requires fuzzy logic or simple backward chaining, Jess offers these capabilities, JBoss doesn't.


Score:Good -- 7.3
Developer tools6.030.0
Product:Jess 7.0
Cost:Compiled version free for personal use; full source code version offered under a no-cost license to government and academic agencies; US$5,000 per server for source code version for internal use to commercial firms; US$15,000 per application or product for source code for commercial distribution; no runtime fees.
Platforms:Requires JDK 1.4 or later
Bottom Line:Jess is a tried-and-true Java BRMS backed by outstanding community support and good documentation. The price is right (though not free) and performance is good, but debugging is limited, reporting is absent, and the syntax is still the complex CLIPS OPS-type held over from the LISP days. Jess is commonly used in university AI programs, so is familiar to many in the industry.

BOTTOM LINE: JBoss Rules 3.2

Company:JBoss (Red Hat)
Score:Good -- 7.4
Developer tools7.030.0
Product:JBoss Rules 3.2
Cost:Free open source
Platforms:Requires JDK 1.4 or later (JDK 1.4.2 recommended)
Bottom Line:JBoss Rules is already a close match to Jess and, at its rapid rate of development, should reach true commercial quality by the end of 2007. Meanwhile speed is good, being comparable to Jess or better, while debugging is problematic and reporting on rule analysis is limited. On the plus side, the product is free and support is available (for a fee) from JBoss and service partners.

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