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Are there any standards under development for business rules?

The lack of standards currently in the business rules space makes interoperability hard. Although many of the technical deployment standards are supported as deployment options by rules vendors, the standards specific to rules are limited:

JSR-94 - some information on this first rules standard can be found at It is a fairly limited standard but fairly well supported by the major vendors.

OMG Production Rules Representation - a standard for rule interchange under development by the OMG. More details on their site.

W3C Rules Interchange Format - another standard under development by W3C. More information here.

Hopefully the OMG and W3C ones will come together. It is also worth noting that these standards lack end-user customer participation so those interested should think about signing up.

In answer to the questions posed in the comments:

  • The leading vendors are active in both standards. Doubt they would invest the time if they weren't planning on supporting them. I suspect that failure to merge them might result in one getting more support than the other but all the big vendors would be likely to support both at some level.
  • As for what customers can do - participate in the standards! Join OMG or W3C and get on these committees. Get your point of view across.

RDF has also been proposed but it seems more likely that a combined rules-specific standard will be the way this goes.

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James Taylor is the author of Enterprise Decision Making - a weblog. It is a blog devoted to Business Rules. Business rules describe the operations, definitions and constraints that apply to an organization in achieving its goals.I have found this inte... [Read More]



Even if W3C and OMG don't come together, how quickly do you think rules vendors will support both specifications?

Is there something customers can do to make sure the right thing happens?

Lucas Rodriguez Cervera


This is a very interesting topic. I hope you write more about it. I believe that it will be important for a standard to succeed to be supported by a recognized organization and that it is compatible with a business process definition language standard. It is my understanding that the OMG (after the merger with BPMI) is the best positioned organization to achieve this with BPEL.

Lucas Rodriguez Cervera


I have a question based on the standards for the business rules. How do you decided which all types of business rules to be supported in your rule composer/rule engine. Is there any kind of classification of business rules. A business rule taxonomy which can be kept as a refernce while developing such a product. Please do let me know if there are any such things.Also any pointes like white papers/links which talk about it.


James Taylor

There is a fair amount of work going on in this space, especially around the difference between source rules and production rules. Not much finalized yet but as the OMG standards for SVBR (Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules) and PRR (Production Rule Representation) get adopted it should become clearer.

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