rules, dotnet applications and XML

<xml newbie>

Hi all,

We are considering using XML to specify rules, policies. This XML file
will be used to generate source code in either managed C++ or C#,
which will be implemention of API to be used by different applications
program (written in .NET language, for this dicussion). You can
contribute your ideas.

Time for an example. A company or a government body has lot of
policies which can be captured in the form of IF-THEN rules. These
rules needs to be accomodated in application program(s).

o Imagine an application program which processes visa applications,
social security etc.

o Imagine a application program at shopping mall counter (rules
related to discount etc.)

Bad thing about them (from the point of view of developers writing
application whose behaviour depends on those rules) is that they
change frequently. So if developer code them with rest of the
application in a manner that they are tightly coupled with rest of the
application, too bad ! Because changing code (when rules get changed)
might cause unexpected effects.

Common approach to deal with this is to separate IF-THEN rules from
application and having an API (so separate library takes care of
implementation) to be used by application(s).

Thats precisely what we are planning to do.

[ Rules Specification ]----> [Library in C++/C#]
                        |---> [ API ]
                       [ Application program ]

Let me get to the point. We are planning to have rule specification as
an XML file. Why ?

o We assume that it will be easy to develop a GUI to create/edit that
XML file, even some third party GUIs say M$ Excel 2003 might be used.

o We assume that govt orgs (specially US gov) will publish rules in
English and XML as well, for app programmer which means just copiing
new XML file and replacing old one. (making sure of authenticity
before go live ! )

Your comments are required, especially on XML part.
If anybody has already worked with such projects please write
9/17/2003 11:46:59 AM
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