I was recently part of a team that gave a presentation on how Portals can be an "on-ramp" to SOA with Gene Phifer of Gartner, Sun and some Sun partners. This was an interesting overview of how to get started in SOA using Portals as a way to develop composite applications and gain access to processes within an organization. Business rules is a great complementary technology for this kind of approach. Imagine...
- The business logic for your composite applications can be maintained and evolved in a rules maintenance portlet suitable for business users and delivered through their usual portal
- Rules for your portal and rules for your business process management are integrated and managed together not separately allowing you to reuse and manage them better
- IT and the business can collaboratively manage transformation and orchestration rules quickly and effectively
- Portlets can be deeply personalized using a 360degree view of customers, their preferences and their behavior up to and including bringing predictive analytic models to bear
- Your business services tolerate change and are evolution-friendly because the core decision logic in them is externalized
- The data you need for applications and self-service is captured in rules-driven “conversations” in your portlets so that you capture the right information the first time
I would think that this would be attractive to anyone using a Portal/SOA approach.
One comment on the last point. If you are developing portlets for data capture then you need a portlet where rules and constraints applicable to the data being captured apply to the portlet, where there is effective validation at source based on constraints and behavior built by business users. Such a dynamic web UI leads to more responsive applications and enriched user experience and is what I mean by a Smart Form.