What Not How: The Business Rules Approach to Application Development

Author: C. J. Date
List Price: $34.95
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ISBN: 0201708507
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Pub Co (12 April, 2000)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 98,174
Average Customer Rating: 2.9 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5
Interesting ideas, but things aren't as bad as described
First off, it is difficult to give a fair review to a book with a copywrite date of 2000 that I am just now reading. The concepts are interesting and reasonable, but I don't think the state of things is as bad as the author suggests. Section II wraps up by stating that business rules *should* be able to be expressed in constraints, but the SQL vendors have let us down in this area. I find that most of the constraints that the author describes are supported by Oracle 8i which is not a new release of the product. Much is made of automating business rules using Rule Engines, but it seems that these can be handled in the DBMS. The advice on data modeling in the last chapter is good, and I think you can come away with a different way of looking at things. After reading the book, though, I am not overwhelmed with the urgent need to have my team invest in a Business Rules Engine.


Rating: 3 out of 5
A reasonable introduction with pitiful worked examples
At first I was pleased with this Book, but as I progressed through the Chapters I got progressively more disappointed. In conclusion, I think the comments on the back page say it all "provides a good grounding" - I'd rate it 'average to good' - but certainly not 'excellent'.
What lets it down are the pitiful worked examples. They are key to explaining the concepts, but the choices are terrible. They focus on Inventory Control, but I wonder if the author has ever done any real analysis in this arena?
In Chapter 4 a few examples are introduced, that reappear throughout the book, for example :
(a) "Suppliers S1 and S4 are always in the same City" - and this is reaffirmed as 'being not all unrealistic'
(b) "Suppliers in Athens can move only to London or Paris"
(c) "Average shipment quantities never decrease"
but in my 25 years experience in systems design I could never imagine these rules as being acceptable in their own right, never mind as 'classics' to be used in training/education?
When one finds poor examples like this, it always make me wonder whether there's other topics in the book that in my naivety I am accepting hook, line & sinker, and others readers more familiar than me would similarly find to be in error? I suppose I'll never know. So I still need to read further about the topic in case I've been misinformed; so if you're going to buy one book about business rules - then this isn't the one.


Rating: 5 out of 5
The future of application development
This book clearly lays out the case for declarative application development and presents what is required to achieve the next level of development automation. The material is easy to consume and will never be outdated.

For those that are "in the trenches", the book's content may seem too far from current reality be useful. The fact is, technology which implements the ideas Date describes, now exist, and will be pervasive shortly. Current model-based code generation tools come close, and there is at least one product that fully realizes Date's suggestions ...

Those wishing to stay ahead of the curve will benefit greatly from understanding the fundamental concepts presented in this book.

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