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AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED UPDATABLE FORM SCREENS AS A DATABASE INTERFACE LANGUAGE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128474D
Original Publication Date: 1984-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-16
Document File: 12 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Beard, David Volk: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Current general purpose database interface languages, while being acceptable for computer professionals, are difficult for many other users to learn and use. They require understanding the structure of the database, as well as comprehending the use of variables. Such interface languages are especially difficult to use when formulating multirelational queries. The alternative of using application programs to develop form screen interfaces -- even using application generators -- is still too slow and expensive for many database projects.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED UPDATABLE FORM SCREENS AS A DATABASE INTERFACE LANGUAGE

Davld Volk Beard and Toby J. Teorey

CRL-TR-13-84

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN COMPUTING RESEARCH LABORATORY1

AUGUST 1984 (Revision 1)

Room 1079, East Engineering Building

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
USA
Tel: (313) 763-8000

Automatically Generated Updatable Form Screens as a Database Interface Language David Volk Beard
Toby J. Teorey
August 1984

Computing Research Laboratory

Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI., 48109-1109

Abstract

Current general purpose database interface languages, while being acceptable for computer professionals, are difficult for many other users to learn and use. They require understanding the structure of the database, as well as comprehending the use of variables. Such interface languages are especially difficult to use when formulating multirelational queries. The alternative of using application programs to develop form screen interfaces -- even using application generators -- is still too slow and expensive for many database projects.

A new database interface language called Metaform has been developed which automatically generates multirelational form screen interfaces for use by non-computer professionals. A form screen is a hierarchical subschema of the database schema, with a particular entity type at the apex of the hierarchy. This system -- when given an entity type -- will produce a corresponding form schema. Such a form schema displayed as a form screen on a CRT provides a user with a view of the database that can be focused on each entity type. A user can simultaneously query and update several relations in the database without having to know about its actual schema. Several human factors experiments are discussed to illustrate Metaform's user interface potential.

CR Categories and Subject Descriptors: H.1.2 [ User/ Machine Systems ] , H.2.3 [ Database Management Languages ] ;Query Languages, H.4.1 [ Office Automation ]

1 Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency.

University of Michigan Computing Research Laboratory Page 1 Aug 01, 1984

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AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED UPDATABLE FORM SCREENS AS A DATABASE INTERFACE LANGUAGE

INTRODUCTION

A rapidly growing way in which users interact with a database is through a form-screen application program which produces a multirelational form screen interface for the end user(see Figure 1). This allows the user to have a view or perspective of the data which is easy to understand, and the user does not have to know about the actual database schema. It also means that the query and update languages used in conjunction with the form screen can be very simple and still be adequate for the user performing tasks requiring informatio...