Sunday, August 31, 2008

Studying biz rule tables used on Wall St

Background: many rule based systems (on Wall St or elsewhere) have thousands of rules in database tables. The simplest and most used pattern is the lookup table. A lookup table has one (or more) input columns and one (or more) output columns.

Each combination of input fields maps to exactly one row. There should be a unique composite index on the input columns as a group.

The concept is simple, but sometimes needs to be hand-crafted and perfected, because
* these rules are often part of the most important 1% source code in a big code base
* users change rules frequently, at least in some Wall St firms
* we often need to query the tables with complex criteria. Such complex queries are usually implemented in source code, but for quick production support we often need to run them by hand, tweak and rerun. In some cases, we end up learning all the intricacies by heart. If your full time job is a spell-checker you won't need the dictionary much.
* we often need to explain how rules are disqualified, filtered out, ranked, grouped, applied, overlayed, re-applied.... Many IT veterans would say blow-by-blow knowledge of a code module is needed in extremely rare situations.. Welcome to Wall St these business rules are examined and tweaked on a daily basis by multiple groups of users.

Compare with Informatica lookup transform.

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