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ECOOP' 98 Workshops on Business Rules 

Tools and Environments for Business Rules

Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday, July 21th, 1998

The Workshop will be held in conjunction with the 12th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming.


Business rules are nothing new. They are used by every organisation to state their practices and policies. Every business application contains many business rules. Analysis and design models specify business rules without explicitly indicating them. Actual tools and environments for building business applications, however, provide little or no support to deal explicitly and automatically with business rules during the software life cycle.

This workshop focuses on tools and environments that handle the semantic content of business rules in an object-oriented environment. The main goal is to provide an overview of possible techniques (tools and methods) for the handling, definition and checking of these rules and the constraints expressed by them during design and development of object-oriented software.

Some of the purposes of this workshop are:

Call for Papers

Current software engineering tools provide inadequate support to explicitly and automatically deal with business rules when building object-oriented business applications. With this workshop we want to investigate which tool and environmental support for handling business rules during software development and evolution is needed and/or desired and which is already available. To come to a categorisation of available support tools and techniques, we solicit position papers from both academia and industry.

Amongst others, the workshop will focus on the following topics:

  1. What tools and environments currently exist to handle business rules?
  2. Which extra support is needed or desired?
  3. How can business rules be made explicit during the different phases of the software life cycle?
  4. How to specify business rules and the constraints they express in a strict way?
  5. How can we deal with enforcement of business rules, compliance checking, reuse and evolution of business rules?
  6. What exists in the field of automatic generation of code from business rules and reverse engineering that results in extracting business rules from existing software systems?

Special attention will be directed towards object-oriented approaches and the role of constraints in specifying business rules.


1. Dirk Bontridder ( )

System Integration & Services Division - Application Engineering
Olsy Belgium nv. (Olivetti Solutions)
Madouplein 1 box 8
B-1210 Brussels

Dirk Bontridder obtained a degree of licentiate in Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1995 and is now working as an application engineer at Olsy Belgium. Currently he is involved as functional analyst and design architect on a large business process engineering project for the complex dossier management of the Belgian "Courts of Appeal" (Ministry of Justice). Much effort is spent on reuse and evolution of software components and the specification of business rules. Dirk is also a key player in the definition of Olsy's software development methodology SystemsCRAFT/OO.

2. Alain Grijseels ( )

System Integration & Services Division - Application Engineering
Olsy Belgium nv. (Olivetti Solutions)
Madouplein 1 box 8
B-1210 Brussels

Alain Grijseels obtained the degree of Civil Engineer in Electronics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1976 and followed the Special Licence of Informatics at the VUB. From 1976 on he was involved in IT projects evolving from the design of hard- and software to management consulting in the set-up of large multinational IT organisations. The last couple of years he was especially involved as project co-ordinator and consultant in several large OO projects going from distributed information systems in the telecommunications sector up to client/server based systems for industry and public authorities. Currently he is based at Olsy Belgium. He is involved in client/server technology co-ordination for the SISD - AE department and acts as project manager in the OO project of the "Courts of Appeal" of the Belgian Ministry of Justice.

3. Kim Mens ( )     (official contact person)

Programming Technology Lab
Department of Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
B-1050 Brussel

Kim Mens obtained a degree of licentiate in Mathematics in 1992 and of licentiate in Computer Science in 1994 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where he is currently working as a teaching and research assistant. He is a member of the Programming Technology Lab and is involved in the Reuse Contract research project. The model of Reuse Contracts is a methodology for dealing with reuse and evolution throughout all phases of the software life cycle. Kim is planning to finish his Ph.D. in this research domain in the summer of 1999.

4. Roel Wuyts ( )

Programming Technology Lab
Department of Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
B-1050 Brussel

Roel Wuyts obtained a degree of licentiate in Computer Science in 1996 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and is currently a Ph.D. student on an I.W.T. scholarship granted by the Flemish Government. As a member of the Programming Technology Lab, he is currently researching how to express different design paradigms in a declarative programming language. He also participates in the Reuse Contract project. Roel is planning to finish his Ph.D. in the fall of 2000.

Important Dates

    Deadline for submission:    
Extended to June   15th, 1998 (this deadline is STRICT)
    Notification of acceptance: June  22th, 1998
    Final version:              June  29th, 1998
    Day of workshop:            July 21st, 1998
Please note that workshop participants must register at least on that day of the ECOOP conference. Deadline for early registration for the
ECOOP'98 conference is Friday, June 19th.

Workshop Programme

A selection of the best contributions will be invited for presentation during the first part of the workshop where at least two or more of the topics mentioned above will be addressed.

In the second part of the workshop, small working groups, composed of both industrial participants and researchers, will be asked to focus on specific problems such as how to use constraints for specifying business rules, how to enforce business rules, how to do compliance checking, how to deal with reuse and evolution of business rules, how to generate code from business specifications, and so on.

In the final part, the results of the small working groups will be merged and discussed with all participants.


Proceedings will be printed as technical documentation by Olsy Belgium and will be available at the day of the conference. An official Ecoop'98 Workshop Reader will be published after the conference.


Each participant should submit a position paper of maximum 5 pages length, together with a number of topics or questions (at least 2) that she or he would like to see discussed during the workshop. We like the submitters to give, besides the actual content of the paper, a definition of " business rule" and "constraint" to be sure of the correct understanding of the content of the submitted papers.

A selection of interesting papers will be made by the organisers of the workshop. The authors of these papers will have the opportunity to present them in about 25 minutes. Workshop participants are invited to submit their contribution by e-mail to either one of the workshop organisers by May 22nd (see Important dates). Any of the following formats are allowed: HTML, ASCII, PostScript, MSWord (please mention version and platform !). HTML submissions are preferred.

Related Workshops

A number of other workshops at ECOOP'98 will be devoted to the theme of using object-oriented techniques in business applications development. Nevertheless, there is a clear distinction between the different workshops. (A general home-page describing all related workshops is available.) If your interest is more focused on the tools and environments that are needed and/or desired for handling business rules during software development and evolution you should select our workshop. The workshop titled "What's Wrong with OO - Requirements for an OO Business Process Model" focusses on constructing a particular object-oriented business process model. Finally, the workshop on precise behavioural semantics focuses on the common concepts and constructs used to specify behavioural semantics throughout the lifecycle, on rigourous ways to represent them and to reuse specifications. For more information, see:

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