Sandia LabNews

Jess lives: Latest version of popular productivity-boosting software tool is released for licensing

A powerful new version of Sandia’s popular Java rule engine Jess has just been released for licensing. Jess originated as a minor component of an information security project, and is now among one of Sandia/California’s most successful intellectual properties.

The programming environment is especially suited to problems that resist being reduced to rote computation and are best described by expert knowledge and “rules of thumb.” Those questions might include: “Is our network under attack?” “Is this document fraudulent?” “How should we schedule our resources?” says the developer, Ernest Friedman-Hill (8964).

Jess has been popular in the finance, insurance, security, transportation, and manufacturing sectors, as well as government and academia.

“Programming with rules allows software to express real-world concepts in a natural, expressive way that helps business and IT professionals collaborate in bringing enterprise applications to life,” says licensing lead Craig Smith (8429). Jess 7.0 includes new tools, improved features, and enhanced performance that allows users to manage and control business rules in an enterprise environment.

Among Jess’s new features is an integrated development environment (IDE) that increases programmer productivity and enhances collaboration. The IDE is based on the award-winning Eclipse™ platform ( and features tools for creating, editing, visualizing, monitoring, and debugging rules.

Jess is the only enterprise-capable rule engine to offer both the convenience of an IDE, and an unprecedented level of flexibility and openness. This makes it easy for developers to add the power of heuristic rules to applications that run on everything from handheld devices to enterprise servers. Jess supports the industry-standard JSR94 Java Rule Engine API as well as its own rich interface. Rules can be written both in its own expressive rule language and in XML.

Sandia receives about 25 inquiries a day about this software, which has already been licensed in earlier versions by companies ranging from startups to Fortune 50 companies. Jess (along with the textbook Jess in Action) is also used as a teaching tool at hundreds of universities around the globe.

Binary-only versions of Jess are available on a 30-day trial evaluation basis. Commercial, internal, government, R&D and no-fee academic/student use requires a license. To learn more about Jess, please visit