Defining Business Rules ~ What Are They Really?


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Systems analysts have long been able to describe enterprises in terms of the structure of the data those enterprises use and the organization of the functions they perform, but have tended to neglect the constraints under which the enterprise operates. Frequently these are not articulated until it is time to convert them into program code. While rules which are represented by the structure and functions of an enterprise have been documented to a degree, others have not been articulated as well, if at all.

The GUIDE Business Rules Project was organized in November 1993 to carry out that articulation. This paper, the original report of the GUIDE Business Rules Project (now the Business Rules Group), describes a scheme for understanding the nature of business rules and the categories into which they fall. It presents a formal approach for identifying and articulating the rules that define the structure and control the operation of an enterprise.

Table of Contents

The Table of Contents below is intended for readers who wish to load the document one chapter at a time. You may go to each chapter directly from the Table of Contents below or read the document sequentially, from one chapter to the next.

The document is also available as a PDF format document (approximately 175k).

  1. Introduction
  2. Formalizing Business Rules
  3. Formulating Business Rules
  4. Structural Assertions
  5. Action Assertions
  6. Derivations
  7. Footnotes & Acknowledgments

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