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Graphics Query System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000039921D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 15K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hunt, GD: AUTHOR

Abstract

The primary objective of the Graphics Query System (GQS) is to provide the result of a query against a database in the form of a graph (picture) representing the meaning of the data, without user programming. A secondary objective of GQS is to allow for graphic analysis of data. Previously, when users queried data bases, they received the actual data in tabular numeric form. In order to get a graph of the data, the user had to write a specific application program or dump the data into a graphics system. GQS solves these problems by generating graphs automatically as the primary result of queries against SQL databases. What users actually need is for a query to give them an increased understanding of what the data means.

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Graphics Query System

The primary objective of the Graphics Query System (GQS) is to provide the result of a query against a database in the form of a graph (picture) representing the meaning of the data, without user programming. A secondary objective of GQS is to allow for graphic analysis of data. Previously, when users queried data bases, they received the actual data in tabular numeric form. In order to get a graph of the data, the user had to write a specific application program or dump the data into a graphics system. GQS solves these problems by generating graphs automatically as the primary result of queries against SQL databases. What users actually need is for a query to give them an increased understanding of what the data means.

Therefore, we assume that the data (actual values) is not as important as the meaning behind it and that a picture is the best way to understand the meaning behind the data. Graphics query systems should be able to automatically generate basic graphs from extracted data. These systems should also be able to generate queries of the underlying database from simple user input. Finally, some analysis should be available without additional user programming. The most sophisticated users should be able to provide customized routines for each of these functions. However, the beginning user should not require a detailed understanding of the database (beyond knowledge of content) or graphing to generate useful charts. GQS generates queries dynamically from simple user input, then generated a graph from the results of the query. The user only sees the graph, not the intermediate results. GQS retains the results of a query until explicitly discarded by a user. GQS divides the screen into four quadrants which allow the results of multiple graphs to be displayed.

Even when a quadrant was overwritten, the graph of a query was not destroyed but stacked until explicitly discarded by the user. The initial problem was analyzing the same data repeatedly. New values were added on a regular basis without frequently changing pre- existing values. Because of this, the GQS subset implemented was based on a static data definition rather than a completely dynamic data generation. A large number of assumptions were made to allow the subset to be implemented in a reasonable amount of time. One of the major assumptions was that most data could be effectively represented in one of four chart types. A brief description of the function implemented in the subset (referred to as GQS) follows. GQS allows users to generate graphs for data that is stored in a SQL database. It interfaces with the users through full screen displays and is driven by a set of files (called CONTROL FILES) which define all of the data that can be graphed. The CONTROL FILES can be dynamically changed. When GQS is started, the main scre...