IMCS/Publications/CSJM/Issues/CSJM v.20, n.3 (60), 2012/

References and arrow notation instead of join operation in query languages

Authors: Savinov Alexandr
Keywords: Data modeling, query languages, concept-oriented model, join, reference, arrow notation, data semantics.


We study properties of the join operation in query languages and describe some of its major drawbacks. We provide strong arguments against using joins as a main construct for retrieving related data elements in general purpose query languages and argue for using references instead. Since conventional references are quite restrictive when applied to data modeling and query languages, we propose to use generalized references as they are defined in the concept-oriented model (COM). These references are used by two new operations, called projection and de-projection, which are denoted by right and left arrows and therefore this access method is referred to as arrow notation. We demonstrate advantages of the arrow notation in comparison to joins and argue that it makes queries simpler, more natural, easier to understand, and the whole query writing process more productive and less error-prone.

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