The Utility of the Abstract Relational Model and Attribute Paths in SQL

  • Weicong Ma
  • C. Maria Keet
  • Wayne Oldford
  • David TomanEmail author
  • Grant WeddellEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11313)


It is well-known that querying information is difficult for domain experts, for they are not familiar with querying actual relational schemata due to the notions of primary and foreign keys and the various ways of representing and storing information in a relational database. To overcome these problems, the Abstract Relational Model and the query language, SQLP, have been proposed. They are the theoretical foundations and ensure that explicit primary and foreign keys are hidden from the user’s view and that queries can be expressed more compactly. In this paper we evaluate these theoretical advantages with user studies that compare SQLP to plain SQL as the baseline. The experiments show significant statistical evidence that SQLP indeed requires less time for understanding and authoring queries, with no loss in accuracy. Considering the positive results, we develop a method to reverse engineer legacy relational schemata into abstract relational ones.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cheriton School of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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