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My personal experience with CalcManager and our HFM rules: attended a one-day customized training on CalcManager and decided to stay away from it as long as possible. :-)
As I understand it, it's not really a must to use Calculation Manager, but you can by application choose, whether you use it or not. I found CalcManager and (our) HFM rules to be a relatively hard combination to get working. More generally speaking, I tend to think CalcManager works better with Essbase/Planning where the calculation script is anyway split, whereas in HFM the whole Sub Calculate() is executed and needs therefore be expressed as one chart/drawing/flow in the Calculation Manager as well.
I just completed an installation of 188.8.131.52 and I am testing various applications in order to assess the situation and propose to my clients.
Calculation manager is not the only way to maintain your rule file. As I have seen Oracle has discuntinued the Rule Editor but you can use any notepad to edit your rules (Notepad ++ for example) and load the rule file Workspace.
I am not really impressed from calculation manager yet. Definately in one of the following versions we will have to migrate all the rule files but I do not believe that we can do that in this version. For example in my files there is a huge issue of displaying the variables....