Browse Prior Art Database

Browsing: A Novel Facility for Exploring the Contents of a Datastore

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000102611D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-17
Document File: 4 page(s) / 194K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Burns, L: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Disclosed is a facility for a non-expert user to easily explore and update the contents of a datastore in an unplanned manner by navigating from data element to related data element(s). Browsing is designed to be implemented on a windowing system using a visual display terminal. The user browses by operating directly on a graph representing the datastore schema or by selecting action options from data windows.

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Browsing: A Novel Facility for Exploring the Contents of a Datastore

       Disclosed is a facility for a non-expert user to easily
explore and update the contents of a datastore in an unplanned manner
by navigating from data element to related data element(s).  Browsing
is designed to be implemented on a windowing system using a visual
display terminal.  The user browses by operating directly on a graph
representing the datastore schema or by selecting action options from
data windows.

      A datastore is defined as a collection of data elements grouped
into classes.  Data elements belonging to the same class have the
same properties.  Individual data elements can be related to other
data elements of the same class or other classes by named
relationships.

      We assume that the properties of data elements take their
values from two types of domains:
      Primitive datatypes, e.g., numbers and character
      strings whose values can be displayed and updated in a
      standard manner.
      Complex datatypes (long fields), e.g., pictures,
      drawings, video, etc., whose values need to be
      displayed and updated using special functions.
Properties that have one or more data elements as their values are
represented by relationships.

      Note that the logical view of the datastore presented to the
user may be quite different from the manner in which the data is
actually stored.  Browser maps the user's requests on the logical
model to operations on the physical model.

      After the start of a browsing session a current set of data
elements is always identified.  This can be the set of:
      (1)  data elements belonging to a class, or
      (2)  selected data elements belonging to a class for
      whom a predicate defined on their properties evaluates TRUE.
      And if a current element (defined below) is displayed, the set
can
      further include
      (3)  elements related to the current instance by a given
relationship, or
      (4)  selected elements (as defined above) related to the
current instance by a given relationship.

      A set of type 1 is selected from a graphical display of a
database schema where the nodes of the graph represent classes and
the arcs represent relationships.  A set of type 2 can be specified
by selecting a set of type 1 and then bringing up a window, showing
the properties of that class, into which selection criteria can be
entered.  Sets of types 3 and 4 can be specified by selecting a
relationship from the graphical display or by bringing up a list of
the relationships that the current instance participates in and
selecting from them.  Selection criteria can be specified as above.

      After selecting a current set the user can choose to display
the elements in the current set in a data window as follows:
           One element at a time in a window -- this is the
  ...