SQL, Easier in the Future

by Shigom H
Depending on the task, writing SQL queries can get complicated, in the article “Interactive SQL Query Suggestion: Making Databases User-Friendly”  Ju Fan proposes a neat tool for making SQL easier. By simply inserting keywords the tool will generate the corresponding SQL statements. This is similar to Microsoft excel, those who are unfamiliar with excel can type in keywords and excel will find the corresponding formula. SQLSUGG  is a program that suggest queries while the user types. Many databases already offer this type of  functionality but SQLSUGG differentiates itself by its ability to suggest advance queries. Unfortunately most database systems that offer this keyword functionality generate SQL queries from simple keywords that are only beneficial to “casual users”  but deemed useless to database administrators and SQL programmers.

SQLSUGG is  in the final stage of development and will probably be an important tool for future database administrators. The developers of SQLSUGG tested ten different keywords across similar programs.  In every single test, SQLSUGG outperformed their competitors by displaying accurate query results. For example if a user types in “jim gray” SQLSUGG will quickly retrieve Jim Gray from the Persons table. Unlike most tools, SQLSUGG is aware of the data structures and constraints within a database- so instead of searching all the tables for “jim gray”, it will only search for string values.

The reason I chose this article because I am starting to understand how difficult it could be to write SQL statements. An interactive tool like SQLSUGG can definitely help benefit inexperienced and experienced users. SQL SUGG reminds me of the code-completion feature that is offered in most development environments. SQLSUGG provides only relevant SQL statements based on your database schema. Likewise a development environment will only display components associated with that particular class within the SDK package. Many tools that allow users to find SQL statements through keyword searches will also display irrelevant information because the tools are unaware of the data structures and relationships.

Fan, J. (n.d.). Interactive SQL Query Suggestion: Making Databases User-Friendly. IEEEXplore. Retrieved December 3, 2012, from 0-ieeexplore.ieee.org.opac.library.csupomona.edu/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5767843