Comparing Rule Engines: Nected vs Drools

Explore our in-depth comparison of Nected and Drools rule engines. Understand key differences, usability, and which fits your needs best

Prabhat Gupta

6
 min read
Comparing Rule Engines: Nected vs Drools
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6
 min read
Table of Contents

In the diverse field of rule engine technology, selecting the right tool is crucial for enhancing operational efficiency and decision-making processes across various industries. This blog presents a technical comparison between Nected, a cloud-based rule engine with features tailored for a wide range of applications, and Drools, a Business Rules Management System (BRMS) developed by Red Hat, known for its versatility and broad industry usage. Our comparison will focus on their key features, usability, and particularly how Nected's language-agnostic design offers unique advantages. This analysis aims to assist professionals in choosing a rule engine that aligns with their specific organizational requirements.

Overview of Nected and Drools

Nected

Nected is a low-code/no-code rule engine and workflow automation platform. It's designed to empower product, growth, and tech teams to launch dynamic workflows quickly, experiment more, and iterate faster with minimal effort. Nected is especially beneficial in reducing time to market and accelerating growth, making it an effective tool for teams to focus on core product logic rather than repetitive tasks.

Key features of Nected include:

  • Integration Capabilities: It allows for the integration of various apps, enabling the creation and modification of rules and workflows. This integration extends to databases and third-party flows via database and API connectors.
  • No-Code Editor: The platform offers a no-code editor for building complex rules, including simple rules, decision table rules, and rule sets.
  • Database and API Interactions: Nected supports different databases like MongoDB, Postgres, and MySQL and offers REST API connectors for database interactions.
  • Deployment Models: Nected provides two deployment models: a cloud-based model (Software as a Service) and an on-premise option, where the Nected Execution Engine can be deployed on a local machine or server.

Drools

Drools, developed by Red Hat, is a Business Rules Management System (BRMS) that provides a core Business Rules Engine (BRE), a web authoring and rules management application (Drools Workbench), and full runtime support for Decision Model and Notation (DMN) models. It's an open-source software written in Java, available in the Maven Central repository, and runs on any Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Key aspects of Drools include:

  • Diverse Components: It encompasses various components like Drools Workbench for web UI authoring and management, Drools Expert for the business rules engine, and Drools Fusion for complex event processing features.
  • Integration with Other Tools: Drools integrates with jBPM for process and workflow integration and OptaPlanner for automated planning.
  • Community and Enterprise Support: While Drools offers community releases focusing on innovation, Red Hat JBoss BRMS provides enterprise-level support with a commitment to backport fixes and mission-critical support options.
  • Development Tools: It includes an Eclipse IDE plugin for core development and supports complex rule conditions and actions.

These overviews provide a foundation for understanding the capabilities and applications of Nected and Drools, setting the stage for a detailed comparison and evaluation of their features and benefits.

Read Also: Are There any Open Source Rules Engine?

Nected vs Drools

To provide a clear understanding of the differences and similarities between Nected.ai and Drools, here is a detailed comparison table highlighting their key features, target audience, ease of use, and other important aspects:

Feature/Aspect Nected Drools
Primary Focus No-code/Low-code rule engine and workflow automation Business rules management system with a focus on Java
Target Audience Non-technical teams, businesses seeking easy-to-use automation tools Developers and technical teams familiar with Java and business rules management
Key Features - Dynamic payouts and rewards - Dynamic lead allocation - Customer segmentation - Dynamic scoring - Dynamic content delivery - A/B testing rules - Gamification/Loyalty points - Data-driven recommendations - Fraud detection and prevention - Workflow automation - Interactive and conversational rule evaluation - Groupby for accumulating facts - Client-side Prometheus Dashboards with Dashbuilder - Integration with Excel, OpenShift, Knative, and Quarkus - Simplified testing with AssertJ
Ease of Use Designed for ease of use with a no-code/low-code approach Requires knowledge of Java and more technical expertise
Customization and Flexibility High level of customization with a focus on non-technical user flexibility High level of technical customization, suitable for complex business logic
Integration Capabilities Integrates with various systems for automation and data-driven actions Strong integration capabilities, especially in Java-based environments
Community and Support Information not explicitly detailed in the blog Strong community support, part of the KIE community, with contributions from IBM and Red Hat
Use Cases Suitable for businesses looking for quick and easy automation solutions Ideal for complex business scenarios requiring detailed rule management and integration with Java applications

This comparison is based on the latest information available from the respective blogs of Nected and Drools. It's important to consider that the suitability of each tool depends on the specific requirements and technical expertise of the user or organization.

Practical Implementation of a Sample Rule with Drools vs. Nected

Let's consider a simple use case: a discount rule for an e-commerce platform. The rule grants a 10% discount to customers who have spent over $1000 in the past year.

Implementation in Drools

Drools is a Business Rule Management System (BRMS) that uses a rule engine to execute business rules. Here's how you might implement our use case in Drools:

  1. Define a Fact Model: First, you need a fact model. In this case, a simple Java class representing a customer:
public class Customer {
    private String id;
    private double totalSpentLastYear;

    // getters and setters
}
  1. Write the Rule: Drools rules are written in DRL (Drools Rule Language). Here's how our discount rule might look:
package com.example.rules

import com.example.Customer;

rule "Discount for Loyal Customers"
when
    $customer : Customer(totalSpentLastYear > 1000)
then
    System.out.println("Customer " + $customer.getId() + " gets a 10% discount!");
end

Execute the Rule: You would then create a session, insert customer facts, and fire the rules in your Java application.

Read Also: Decision Engine: What is it and How Does It Work?

Implementation in Nected

Nected simplifies rule creation and execution using an API-based approach. Here's how you might implement the same rule in Nected:

  1. Define Rule Information: You start by defining the rule, including its name, description, and environment (staging or production).
  2. Set Up Data Source: You can use custom input parameters or a dataset. For our use case, you might use parameters like customer_id and total_spent_last_year.
  3. Define Rule Condition: In Nected, you define the rule condition using a user-friendly interface. For our discount rule, the condition might be total_spent_last_year > 1000.
  4. Define Results and Actions: Specify the result (e.g., a boolean indicating whether the discount applies) and the action (e.g., sending a notification or updating a database).
  5. Access via API: Nected provides an API endpoint to trigger the rule. You can call this API from your application, passing the relevant parameters (customer ID and total spent).
  6. curl -X "POST" "<https://nected-59.nected.io/nected/rule/YOUR_RULE_ID>" \\\\

    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \\\\

    -d '{"customer_id": "12345", "total_spent_last_year": 1200}'

For more, you can read nected’s simple rule documentation.

In summary, while Drools offers powerful rule processing capabilities, it requires more technical expertise. Nected, on the other hand, provides a more accessible and flexible approach, especially for users who prefer a less code-intensive solution.

Read Also: Python Rule Engines: Automate and Enforce with Python

Conclusion

This comparative analysis of Nected and Drools highlights the distinct approaches and capabilities of each rule engine. While Drools offers a robust and powerful Business Rules Management System, its complexity requires technical expertise in Java and Drools Rule Language. In contrast, Nected provides a more user-friendly, API-driven approach, making it accessible for users with varying levels of technical expertise. This distinction is particularly evident in our use case, where Nected's simplicity in rule implementation and flexibility in integration offers clear advantages for rapid development and iteration. Ultimately, the choice between Nected and Drools depends on the specific needs and technical proficiency of the organization or team, with Nected emerging as a particularly appealing option for those seeking a straightforward, no-code/low-code solution.

Nected VS Drools FAQs:

Q1. What is the primary difference between Nected and Drools in terms of user accessibility?

Nected is designed with a low-code/no-code approach, making it highly accessible for users without extensive programming experience. Drools, on the other hand, requires familiarity with Java and its own Drools Rule Language (DRL), catering to a more technically proficient audience.

Q2. How does the performance of Nected compare to Drools for complex rule processing?

Drools is known for its robustness in handling complex rule processing, especially in scenarios requiring intricate logic and numerous conditions. Nected, while user-friendly, may be more suited for applications where ease of use and speed of deployment are prioritized over complex rule intricacies.

Q3. Can Nected be integrated with existing enterprise systems as effectively as Drools?

Nected facilitates integration through its API-based approach, allowing for seamless connectivity with various systems and databases. Drools offers integration capabilities as well, but it might require more in-depth development work, particularly in Java-based environments.

Q4. What are the scalability considerations when choosing between Nected and Drools?

Both Nected and Drools are scalable in handling a large number of rules and complex decision-making processes. However, the scalability approach differs: Nected leverages cloud-based scalability, while Drools depends more on the underlying Java environment and server capabilities.

Q5. In terms of community support and resources, how do Nected and Drools compare?

Drools, being open-source and established, has a substantial community and a wealth of resources, including documentation, forums, and tutorials. Nected, while growing, have a growing community and it provides comprehensive documentation and support for its users.

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