I spent Monday through Friday afternoon in the Boston area getting spun up on several interesting new technologies for some future work. I was there with four other geeks from NuSoft as part of a team getting ready for some implementation and integration work. We're forming a relationship with a company full of very clever folks who are doing some very cool things with a couple different business rule engines from the folks at InRule and Active Endpoints.
I'm still not sure how much I can talk about regarding the main company; hopefully our partnering agreement will let me blog about who they are and how we'll go about solving some very neat problems.
One general issue we're running in to is testing of business rules. Active Endpoint's product is based on the Business Process Execution Language, an XML implementation/specification targeted at, well, business processes. It's been a tough concept to get our heads around, but a few things are becoming clearer as we're continuing our work. I've found a couple interesting things which may offer us some guidance and tool/test framework help:
- Ben Carey's MSDN webcast on Test Driven Development in BizTalk
- BizUnit, a framework for testing BizTalk and processes in general
- Towards a BPEL unit testing framework, a white paper on the Association for Computing Machinery's digital library. (I still haven't read this one, but the abstract looks promising.)
- Fitnesse. I think has terrific potential in that we're able to have the customers specify inputs and expected results for each process -- plus we'll be able to use those test results as documentation.
It was a very challenging week, and we've still got an incredible amount to learn, but I think exciting times are ahead of us.