School of Computing

A Graph Rewriting Visual Language for Database Programming

P.J. Rodgers and P.J.H. King

The Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 8(6):182-196, December 1997.


Textual database programming languages are computationally complete, but have the disadvantage of giving the user a non-intuitive view of the database information that is being manipulated. Visual languages developed in recent years have allowed naive users access to a direct representation of data, often in a graph form, but have concentrated on user interface rather than complex programming tasks. There is a need for a system which combines the advantages of both these programming methods.

We describe an implementation of Spider, an experimental visual database programming language aimed at programmers. It uses a graph rewriting paradigm as a basis for a fully visual, computationally complete language. The graphs it rewrites represent the schema and instances of a database.

The unique graph rewriting method used by Spider has syntactic and semantic simplicity. Its form of algorithmic expression allows complex computation to be easily represented in short programs. Furthermore, Spider has greater power than normally provided in textual systems, and we show that queries on the schema and associative queries can be performed easily and without requiring any additions to the language.

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Bibtex Record

author = {Rodgers, P.J. and King, P.J.H.},
title = {{A Graph Rewriting Visual Language for Database Programming}},
month = {December},
year = {1997},
pages = {182-196},
keywords = {determinacy analysis, Craig interpolants},
note = {},
doi = {},
url = {},
    journal = {The Journal of Visual Languages and Computing},
    number = {6},
    publisher = {Academic Press},
    volume = {8},

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