World Wide Web Consortium Launches Rule Interchange Format Working Group

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W3C aims to bring together Business Rules and Web Architecture -- 7 November 2005 -- Today, the World Wide Web Consortium announced the formation of the Rule Interchange Format (RIF) Working Group with a mission to produce a standard means for exchanging rules on the Web. Rules constitute a key element of the Semantic Web vision, allowing integration, derivation, and transformation of data from multiple sources in a distributed, transparent and scalable manner.

"After years of industry and research work in rules languages, I'm pleased to see W3C Members working to develop a Web-based rules standard," explained Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the W3C. "The bringing together of business rules vendors, user companies, rule language designers and Semantic Web developers to create a rules standard is an important step in achieving the full power of the Semantic Web."

Rules Standard Adds Power to Business Applications

Today's announcement marks a key step in bringing together the leaders in business rules development, Semantic Web developers, and end users in an effort to identify requirements for a common Rule Interchange Format for the Web. A Rule Interchange Format will provide a way to represent established and new rule languages, allowing rules written for one application to be published, shared, merged and re-used in other applications and by other rule engines. This in turn facilitates the integration of individual, departmental, corporate, and public data sources and the ability to draw new conclusions. A Rule Interchange Format will, for example, help businesses find new customers, doctors validate prescriptions, and banks process loan applications. With a Rule Interchange Format for the Web, conventional rules technology will be enhanced not only by the usual economies of standardization, but specifically by what the Semantic Web infrastructure provides: the ability to exchange and merge rules from different sources.

Business Rules Become More Powerful When Coupled with Web Architecture

Linking the vision of the dynamic business rules marketplace with Web architecture began with the successful April 2005 W3C Workshop on Rule Languages for Interoperability, which brought together over sixty industry and research organizations working in this area including ILOG, Fair Isaac, Pegasystems, IBM, Oracle, Agfa, GM and others. The new W3C RIF Working Group is designed to balance the needs of a diverse community and produce a core rule language plus extensions which together allow rules to be translated between rule languages and thus transferred between rule systems.

More information is available from the W3C Rule Interchange Format home page.

Major funding for this work was provided by DARPA, as part of the DAML program, under MIT/AFRL cooperative agreement number F30602-00-2-0593.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. More than 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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