In this post, our Business Rules trainer Victoria Ichizli-Bartels will point out for what types of business rules documentation you can use the new brdoc data module Schema defined in the S1000D® Issue 4.2.
In the previous post titled “Bitesize Business Rules: read-me chapters for Business Rules concept in S1000D® issue 4.2”, I highlighted what to read first when developing and using business rules defined by the S1000D® in general and Issue 4.2 in particular.
Among others, I mentioned that I wouldn’t start considering any other chapters on business rules inside Issue 4.2 before reading the new Chap 2.5.2. I said that because, among other valuable information, this chapter summarizes thirteen major steps for defining an efficient set of the business rules.
Apart from that, the Chap 2.5.2 gives a list of examples of the different types of the business rules documents often defined by projects and organizations applying S1000D.
These examples are:
- Data authoring style guide
- Illustrator’s style guide
- Security rules and procedures
- SNS definitions
- Information codes
- Data exchange processes (S1000D Issue 4.2, Chap 2.5.2, Para 3.1).
If you have ever worked with S1000D, you will recognize these types of documents.
Then there are of course BREX (Business Rules Exchange) data modules, which when shown as a PDF file or an HTML file in a browser resemble an index or list of decisions taken at various decision points. Or the output of these data modules can also look like a list of error messages when the defined rules are broken.
So what are the capabilities of a new brdoc Schema?
The above list shows different documents of structure and layout varying from tables, to lists, to flowing text.
S1000D defines the brdoc data module type as following:
“A business rules document data module is one of a set of data modules that define all the business rules together with descriptions and examples that are required to support an organization and/or project.”
“The intent is to provide S1000D implementation guidance to authors, editors, and Information Technology personnel, who are responsible for the creation and development of valid content conforming to the design considerations of project managers and information architects (in accordance with contractual obligations and corporate, organization, and/or customer guidelines).”
These statements imply that the example documents listed above must be realizable by using brdoc data module. I can confirm that this is true. When you consider the brdoc Schema you will see that it is at least 90% descriptive, so you can have flowing text, or tables in place. But you can also create indexes of both decision points and decisions. Or you could also record business rules decisions that capture the long-established business and industrial policies inside your company.
As any new construct, this Schema will have to grow, and it will meet more than one change. But it is a solid start in standardizing and exchanging business rules documentation as a whole. More than that, I am sure that implementing brdoc Schema will accelerate the generation of stable business rules. One of the reasons for this claim is the intention of the S1000D community to provide a Business Rules (BR) template. This template will comprise a brdoc data module listing all Business Rules Decision Points defined in (at this point) Issue 4.2, identifying what each of these decision points is about. For example, is it a Yes/No decision, a choice of values, or definition of values from scratch (such as strings of text). This template will be a questionnaire with a mixture of single and multiple choice questions, by answering which a project or organization will be able to tailor S1000D. For more details on the BR template refer to the S1000D Issue 4.2, Chap 4.10.1, Para 5 as well as the presentation made by a BRWG representative about BR template at the S1000D User Forum in 2015. You can access this presentation here
Coming back to the brdoc data module type and its functionalities, I would also like to point out that in addition to the above, a project is now able to indicate whether one or another decision they make should be captured in a BREX data module or not.
Seeing all this, the potential of the new brdoc data module Schema is evident, and I look forward to seeing what the experiences of its use will be.
Looking to learn more about Business Rules in the world of S1000D?
Book your place on our S1000D Business Rules training course delivered by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels.
This course is for anyone who needs an understanding of the principles of S1000D prior to implementing the standard. It covers the technical and business aspects of Business Rules and how to implement it and its implications for technical publications. Find out more.
About Victoria Ichizli-Bartels
Victoria has been working with S1000D since 2004, first for German Defence, then for a major S1000D software vendor and today as part of her own business. In the S1000D community, Victoria serves as the Business Rules Working Group (BRWG) chair since 2005.
To book your place call +44 (0)20 8722 8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.