JBoss have kindly allowed me to write on their Blog about Drools (although I am still waiting for them to come to their senses). The other guys get to talk about Unifying Rules and Processes and Business Rules WebApps. And I get to talk about pigeons. Yep, Pigeons; birds that fly, sometimes useful for carrying messages and have one hidden talent.
A Random Pigeon Photo
During the cold war, the Soviets (allegedly) trained pigeons to inspect ball-bearings on the production line . The Pigeons would sit in comfortable little boxes while the shiny silver ball bearings steamed past on a conveyor belt. If the pigeon spotted any that were defective, they would peck a button and the broken bearing was gone. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, all the pigeons have been gainfully re-employed over at Google.
Thankfully the pigeons didn’t go to work at a Bank in the City (have you ever seen anything with feathers drive a Ferrari?) . While the pigeons would be very good at responding to simple market events events (Market up , sell; Market Down , Buy). more complex analysis escapes them; For example ; if the market is down for the 30 mins, and Shares in Acme corp are down more than 10% than the average ,and I have seen 3 buy orders for that share in the last 60 seconds = I think the market is about to turn = buy shares in Acme corp.
Never mind pigeons; most humans would find that difficult – think about trying to read the stock ticker prices (the ones you see rolling across the screen at MSNBC) for all stocks, while trying to hold the buy and sell information for the last 30 minutes in your head. And do that not only for one , but for the couple of hundred different types of shares in the market. And while keeping an eye on your own trading position so that you’re not exposed to one sector of the market (e.g. keeping enough cash , not too many property or technology shares. No wonder most traders make their millions and burn out before they’re 30 – that sort of Complex Event Processing (CEP) will wear you out.
Most IT applications are like pigeons; they can only handle simple events. Press Button. Do something.
The way to make millions is to design applications that can handle these complex events, and apply sophisticated business rules to the (evolving) situation. And do it quickly enough (milliseconds) to seize the opportunity before somebody else does. A keep on doing it as long as the market is open.
Funnily enough, Complex Event Processing is part of the vision for Drools. With enough support, I’m sure we could convince the guys to stand up at JavaPolis and use a set of Pigeons on his slides. I suppose it’s better than using pictures of lego people to explain how to do projects using Agile.