The Rule Interchange Format (RIF) is a W3C recommendation-track effort to develop a format for interchange of rules in rule-based systems on the semantic web. The goal is to create an interchange format for different rule languages and inference engines. The RIF initiative is closely related to Ontologies. Whereas ontologies describe distributed information objects in a computer executable manner, rules in this sense combine such information and derive new information on top of ontologies.
The RIF working group was chartered in late 2005. Among its goals was drawing in members of the commercial rules marketplace. The working group started with more than 50 members and two chairs drawn from industry, Christian de Saint-Marie of ILOG, and Chris Welty of IBM.