Rules Apathy: Form vs Function

Posted on 03/10/10 No Comments

I have received a few private messages about Charles Young and his form v. function rules debate. Folks have sent me references and articles to counter his debate points, however, I am impassive about this topic.

It is common sense to objective systems engineers (and well documented) that trying to manage large sets of rules are a disadvantage of rule-based systems. There are countless references available, and my operational experience with rules validates the advantages and disadvantages of rule-based systems.

Charles Young is a very intelligent person and a superior writer. He debates well and is elegant in speech. His impressive professional career revolves around advocating rule-based approaches and the vast bulk of his career perspective is shaped by his work with Microsoft and BizTalk.

I fully understand and empathize with anyone who primarily work in a narrow commercial segment, like Microsoft Biztalk, and find it natural and perfectly normal they will minimize the disadvantages of “their approach” and emphasize the advantages.

As a systems engineer, I am neutral on the topic and prefer to remain objective in systems engineering and architectural matters, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of all systems equally and without commercial bias. Hence, I respectfully abstain from the debate, out of apathy and a lack of passion for the topic.

Having said that, I do have my own personal biases based on my experiences, so please do not get the impression I believe otherwise!

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