Rule languages and inference engines incorporate reasoning capabilities to Web information systems. This paper presents an approach for the specification and development of Web applications performing the usual functionalities of data management and incorporating a rule engine for reasoning capabilities. The proposed approach is based on the definition of a high-level representation of the semantics of rule-based applications through a formalism for conceptual modeling combining lightweight ontologies and production rules. These models are used as the source for a model-driven method that applies several transformations to conceptual models generating the rule-based Web application code in an automatic process. As a result, the rule-based Web application embeds a rule engine suitable for deducing information by applying an inference process. The structure of the information managed by the Web application is based on ontology classes, whereas the logical expressions applied in reasoning are obtained from production rules of the model. A rule-based Web application has been developed and evaluated using a supporting tool that implements the ideas presented in this paper.