Business Rule Visualisation using CFML and HTML - or "What we really need is a flowchart"

When your business rules overwhelm you with complexity and you need your business users to be able to change them, what do you do? My solution was software that presents business rules as a flow chart. Sophisticated enough to represent the rules but simple enough for users to modify them.

At my place of work, our business rules can get very complex, just like any other company. We needed some way of representing these business rules so that we could explain them to business users and, occasionally, let those users alter the rules when things change without needing code changes.

When I started, most of the rules were represented by multiple grids of information, so I created some software we call the Matrix.

The Matrix is a series of business rule statements in If-Then-Else format displayed in a very similar manner to a flowchart. This appealed to us as programmers because it simplified the logic, but also appealed to managers who could “read” the flowchart format and help us to understand how future rules could be implemented.

The Matrix is written in CFML, generating HTML with a few pieces of JQuery thrown in for good measure.

This CFCamp talk will be an exploration of how the software fits together and can be used to create new sets of rules. There will be the peril and excitement of a live demo!