IBM Training Classes in Kassel, Germany

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Facebook has recently released a collection of C++ software modules that it uses to run the popular website.  With Facebook releasing Folly (the name it designated for the collection), more of the internal programs could become open source since they need different parts of the collection.

 

Jordan DeLong, a Facebook software engineer, said one concerning holdup to releasing additional work is that any open source project had to cut away from the dependencies on non-released internal collection code.

 

data dictionary workThe mainstay of a corporation is the data that it possesses. By data, I mean its customer base, information about the use of its products, employee roles and responsibilities, the development and maintenance of its product lines, demographics of supporters and naysayers, financial records, projected sales ... It is in the organization of this data that advancements to the bottom line are often realized i.e. the nuggets of gold are found. Defining what is important, properly cataloging the information, developing a comprehensive protocol to access and update this information and discerning how this data fits into the corporate venacular is basis of this data organization and may be the difference between moving ahead of the competition or being the one to fall behind.

Whenever we attempt to develop an Enterprise Rule Application, we must begin by harvesting the data upon which those rules are built. This is by no means an easy feat as it requires a thorough understanding of the business, industry, the players and their respective roles and the intent of the application. Depending upon the scope of this undertaking, it is almost always safe to say that no one individual is completely knowledgeable to all facets needed to comprise the entire application.data dictionary

The intial stage of this endeavor is, obviously, to decide upon the intent of the application. This requires knowledge of what is essential, what is an add-on and which of all these requirements/options can be successfully implemented in the allotted period of time. The importance of this stage cannot be stressed enough; if the vision/goal cannot be articulated in a manner that all can understand, the knowledge tap will be opened to become the money drain. Different departments may compete for the same financial resources; management may be jockeying for their day in the sun; consulting corporations, eager to win the bid, may exaggerate their level of competency. These types of endeavors require those special skills of an individual or a team of very competent members to be/have a software architect, subject matter expert and business analyst.

Once the decision has been made and the application development stages have been defined, the next step is to determine which software development tools to employ. For the sake of this article, we will assume that the team has chosen an object oriented language such as Java and a variety of J EE components, a relationsional database and a vendor specific BRMS such as Blaze Advisor. Now, onto the point of this article.

A business rule is the basic unit of rule processing in a Business Rule Management System (BRMS) and, as such, requires a fundamental understanding. Rules consist of a set of actions and a set of conditions whereby actions are the consequences of each condition statement being satisfied or true. With rare exception, conditions test the property values of objects taken from an object model which itself is gleaned from a Data Dictionary and UML diagrams. See my article on Data Dictionaries for a better understanding on this subject matter.

A simple rule takes the form:

if condition(s)

then actions.

An alternative form includes an else statement where alternate actions are executed in the event that the conditions in the if statement are not satisfied:

if condition(s)

then actions

else alternate_actions

It is not considered a best prectice to write rules via nested if-then-else statements as they tend to be difficult to understand, hard to maintain and even harder to extend as the depth of these statements increases; in other words, adding if statements within a then clause makes it especially hard to determine which if statement was executed when looking at a bucket of rules. Moreoever, how can we determine whether the if or the else statement was satisfied without having to read the rule itself. Rules such as these are often organized into simple rule statements and provided with a name so that when reviewing rule execution logs one can determine which rule fired and not worry about whether the if or else statement was satisfied. Another limitation of this type of rule processing is that it does not take full advantage of rule inferencing and may have a negative performance impact on the Rete engine execution. Take a class with HSG and find out why.

Rule Conditions

 

I suspect that many of you are familiar with the term "hard coding a value" whereby the age of an individual or their location is written into the condition (or action) of a business rule (in this case) as shown below:

if customer.age > 21 and customer.city == 'denver'

then ...

Such coding practices are perfectly expectable provided that the conditional values, age and city, never change. They become entirely unacceptable if a need for different values could be anticipated. A classic example of where this practice occurred that caused considerable heartache in the IT industry was the Y2K issue where dates were updated using only the last 2 digits of a four digit number because the first 2 digits were hard-coded to 19 i.e. 1998, 1999. All was well provided that the date did not advance to a time beyond the 1900’s since no one could be certain of what would happen when the millennia arrived (2000). A considerably amount of work (albeit boring) and money, approximately $200 billion, went into revising systems by way of software rewrites and computer chip replacements in order to thwart any detrimental outcomes. It is obvious how a simple change or an assumption can have sweeping consequences.

You may wonder what Y2K has to do with Business Rule Management Systems (BRMS). Well, what if we considered rules themselves to be hard-coded. If we were to write 100s of rules in Java, .NET or whatever language that only worked for a given scenario or assumption, would that not constitute hard-coded logic? By hard-coded, we obviously mean compiled. For example, if a credit card company has a variety of bonus campaigns, each with their own unique list of rules that may change within a week’s time, what would be the most effective way of writing software to deal with these responsibilities?

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Germany since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about IBM programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized IBM experts
  • Get up to speed with vital IBM programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
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