06 September 2009

DBMS Interfaces

  1. Menu-Based Interfaces for Web Clients or Browsing : These interfaces present the user with lists of options, called menus, that lead the user through the formulation of a request. Menus do away with the need to memorize the specific commands and syntax of a query language; rather, the query is composed step by step by picking options from a menu that is displayed by the system. Pull-down menus are a very popular technique in Web-based user interfaces. They are also often used in browsing interfaces, which allow a user to look through the contents of a database in an exploratory and unstructured manner.
  2. Forms-Based Interfaces : A forms-based interface displays a form to each user. Users can fill out all of the form entries to insert new data, or they fill out only certain entries, in which case the DBMS will retrieve matching data for the remaining entries. Forms are usually designed and programmed for naive users as interfaces to canned transactions. Many DBMSs have forms specification languages, which are special languages that help programmers specify such forms. Some systems have utilities that define a form by letting the end user interactively construct a sample form on the screen.
  3. Graphical User Interfaces : A graphical interface (CUI) typically displays a schema to the user in diagrammatic form. The user can then specify a query by manipulating the diagram. In many cases, CUIs utilize both menus and forms. Most CUIs use a pointing device, such as a mouse, to pick certain parts of the displayed schema diagram.
  4. Natural Language Interfaces : These interfaces accept requests written in English or some other language and attempt to "understand" them. A natural language interface usually has its own "schema," which is similar to the database conceptual schema, as well as a dictionary of important words. The natural language interface refers to the words in its schema, as well as to the set of standard words in its dictionary, to interpret the request. If the interpretation is successful, the interface generates a high-level query corresponding to the natural language request and submits it to the DBMS for processing; otherwise, a dialogue is started with the user to clarify the request.
  5. Interfaces for Parametri c Users : Parametric users, such as bank tellers, often have a small set of operations that they must perform repeatedly. Systems analysts and programmers design and implement a special interface for each known class of naive users. Usually, a small set of abbreviated commands is included, with the goal of minimizing the number of keystrokes required for each request.
  6. Interfaces for the DBA : Most database systems contain privileged commands that can be used only by the DBA's staff. These include commands for creating accounts, setting system parameters, granting account authorization, changing a schema, and reorganizing the storage structures of a database.

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