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Re: SQL generator

From: "Aaron Bono" <postgresql(at)aranya(dot)com>
To: "Chris Browne" <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>
Cc: pgsql-sql(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: SQL generator
Date: 2006-07-26 15:21:01
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-sql
On 7/25/06, Chris Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org> wrote:
> "Bit Byter" <takashi_949(at)hotmail(dot)com> writes:
> > I would like to know what the underlying SQL statement will look
> > like, so that I can use this knowlege to build a generic parser that
> > creates SQL statements from the "English like" text, using the
> > syntax I described above.
> I seem to recall that Lotus tried doing this once upon a time with
> trying to build an "english-like" interface for doing "business
> intelligence-like" queries against spreadsheets.
> Nobody likely remembers HAL; it was underwhelmingly useful.
> In effect, anyone that was skilful enough at composing "English-like"
> queries to get HAL to work was likely to find the "native" methods
> more convenient.

There was a company near where I live who recently tried to do natural
language parsing for search engines - like Ask Jeeves.  It was an utter
failure but before they got far enough to see that, they did a study of
users to see how they search.  They found that people adapted to learn how
to "talk in the search engine's language" fairly easily and it has actually
become unnatural for people to talk to search engines with a natural

I have had so many problems with users who know a little SQL causing
database crashes and slow downs.  I don't think I would recommend allowing
someone who can't even do SQL access to a database.

If you still think it is a good idea to do this, good luck and I hope you
prove us wrong.  But just keep in mind you are going to be attempting
something that has been tried before with little success.  Maybe you will
figure out what your predecessors were missing...

Bottom line though, just how difficult is SQL to read and write anyway?  It
is a hell of a lot easier to read and write than any other computer language
I have seen.

   Aaron Bono
   Aranya Software Technologies, Inc.

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