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User Interface for Simplifying Complex Query Expressions

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000110259D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-25
Document File: 2 page(s) / 80K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Brininstool, CD: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

This article describes a graphical user-interface technique for constructing simple queries and using set operations to create more powerful, complex ones. The user is able to achieve a very complex query by iteratively combining and refining simple queries.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

User Interface for Simplifying Complex Query Expressions

       This article describes a graphical user-interface
technique for constructing simple queries and using set operations to
create more powerful, complex ones.  The user is able to achieve a
very complex query by iteratively combining and refining simple
queries.

      Many of today's computer applications make use of searching,
e.g., looking for documents in an electronic library, looking for
products in an electronic inventory, or looking for people in an
electronic directory.  These applications tend to make use of
database technology.  Databases are capable of handling very complex
queries.  However, queries tend to be limited by the ability of users
to compose search expressions.  Thus, most applications designers
have simplified the interface used to express search criteria so that
it is easy for users to define a search and the odds of a successful
search execution are increased.  These query interfaces tend to be
fill in the blank interfaces.  Users can easily find people who work
for a specific manager or customers who spent so much money in
January.

      Unfortunately, this approach does not always let users get to
the information they want.  For example, how do users find the people
who work for John or Sally or how do users find who ordered more that
$1000 but less than $10,000 worth of supplies each January during the
last five years?

      Using the proposed interface, application designers can still
use fill in the blank techniques to allow users to easily and simply
express search criteria.  Users can save these simple queries and
have access to them (the definitions an...