[xquery-talk] XQuery Visualization (GUI) for beginners

Jonathan Robie jonathan.robie at datadirect.com
Mon Apr 24 11:58:09 PDT 2006

Tim Finney wrote:
> It seems to me that what XQuery does is best understood in terms of set
> theory. If so, it is an eminently suitable candidate for symbolic
> treatment.
> You are right to object to cryptic icons and box-and-arrow diagrams.
> However, if someone does a good job of mapping XQuery to a standard
> symbolic notation then she will have done a great service. For a start,
> it will help all of the right-brain types out there to understand what
> the language does.

Hi Tim,

When you say XQuery is best understood in terms of set theory, I think 
that may be particularly true of FLWOR expressions, but the general 
forest-to-forest transformations of XQuery probably require a rather 
different visual model than the tables-to-table model used for SQL.

Like Mike Kay, I am more comfortable with text than diagrams as the 
syntax for queries. When I use Stylus Studio, I tend to keep the text 
window open, and drag and drop from the data sources into the text of 
the query (this is also how I use it for XSLT stylesheets). Used that 
way, it really does save me time. Clearly, there are many people out 
there who prefer to use the visual approach to constructing queries - I 
assume these are the same people who like to use the graphical view of 
Microsoft Access and other tools to construct their queries, and this is 
not a small group. Personally, I find that any visual representation of 
the language that is reasonably complete is also as complex to learn as 
the language. But I don't use a graphical tool for SQL queries either....


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