The folks at InRule Technology see SharePoint as a budding application development platform, and as such, are offering up source code that demonstrates how SharePoint developers can call into the company’s business rules engine to create applications with deeper-level decisioning.
“More than saving Word documents, there are great ways to expose metadata [in SharePoint],” said Rik Chomko, chief product officer at InRule. “To be able to grab that metadata and run rules against it is very powerful.”
Organizations in such sectors as financial services, insurance and health care use SharePoint to manage an enormous number of forms, Chomko said, and to be able to plug rules into the forms selection process as part of underwriting or compliance enhances the kinds of applications businesses can create in SharePoint.
SharePoint 2010 adds such features as remote BLOB storage, Visual Studio integration and Business Connectivity Services that make business rule utilization easier, said John Hauppa, senior client services engineer at InRule.
“In [MOSS 2007], developers needed specific SharePoint knowledge to create these kinds of applications,” he said. “Also, there was a limitation to the number of documents you could flow through the environment. In 2010, the tools and integrations are better.”
While InRule does not yet deliver SharePoint integration out of the box, Chomko said it is “not a lot of work” to tailor business rules to a SharePoint environment. “We provide the code, and from there anyone could grow it to whatever solution they have in mind,” adding that it is simply too early in the SharePoint 2010 cycle to “guess how everyone would want to use it.”