MAY 27, 2004 1:00am ET

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In Praise of Procedure


A major goal of the business rules movement is to capture business rules in ways that express the business logic of the rules, rather than describing the mechanics used to execute them. As Chris Date has put it, business rules should be about "what, not how." A significant problem with this goal is that many IT professionals - perhaps the majority - tend to have mind-sets that think in terms of the "how" of implementing business rules. This seems to be based primarily on the experiences of individuals as programmers, and a view that creating source code by hand is the only way to get things done in practice. Source code is, of course, procedural. That is to say it is a sequence of instructions that a computer will execute, e.g., "first do A, then B, then C and if D is true then do E, otherwise do F."

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