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Visual Specification of Fully Parenthesized Complex Expressions

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000113293D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Consolatti, SM: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

A method is disclosed which centers around the mechanism by which fully parenthesized, syntactically correct, complex expressions can be visually specified by the end user without the need for a manual power typing entry mode. Software tools and environments today often require an end user to specify arithmetic, relational and logical expressions. These expressions can be simple, (a + b), as well as complex, ((a * (b / c) > d) AND (e = 0)). An example, and very common use, of this specification would be with visual SQL query builders in application development products. The most publicized feature of these tools is their ability to graphically define and generate SQL statements that contain complex expressions.

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Visual Specification of Fully Parenthesized Complex Expressions

      A method is disclosed which centers around the mechanism by
which fully parenthesized, syntactically correct, complex expressions
can be visually specified by the end user without the need for a
manual power typing entry mode.  Software tools and environments
today often require an end user to specify arithmetic, relational and
logical expressions.  These expressions can be simple, (a + b), as
well as complex, ((a * (b / c) > d) AND (e = 0)).  An example, and
very common use, of this specification would be with visual SQL query
builders in application development products.  The most publicized
feature of these tools is their ability to graphically define and
generate SQL statements that contain complex expressions.

      The solution to this problem has to do with the manner in which
expressions are specified graphically.  It requires lists of operands
and operators for selection at specification time.  The key to this
solution is to update the operand lists upon completion of a simple
expression.  (Note that an operand in a simple expression may be
another simple expression.)  A complex expression is built up by
specification of simple expressions that are automatically
parenthesized and added to the appropriate operand lists.  They are
then available for subsequent selection and use in other simple
expressions.  This process is repeated until the entire complex
expression is achieved,...