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Posted Feb 4, 1999

English Language Query (ELQ) - A 30,000 feet Overview

By Adwait Ullal


In a nutshell, ELQ allows the users to phrase queries in a spoken English-like language. For example, on a Web Site, I could type in "Show me all jeans that cost less than $30"

Note: ELQ is available with SQL Server 6.5 Enterprise Edition and with SQL Server 7.0

However, to enable the ELQ feature, there are a number of building blocks that need to be created. Follows is a short version of steps:

  1. Create an English Query Domain, specific to your database.
  2. In general this will contain all information that is relevant to the database. The information consists of:

    1. Entities
    2. Entities are the fundamental blocks or 'things' that are contained in a database. In a relational world, they are akin to tables.

    3. Relationships
    4. Relationship tell ELQ how the entities interact with each other.

    5. Phrasing
    6. Phrases can either be in 'verb' form (such as 'Shopper who bought most') or in an 'adjective' form (such as 'Prolific Shopper'). Other types of phrasing are 'prepositional' and 'subset' phrasing.

  3. Use the created EQD within a project.

In order for any project, Web based or otherwise, to understand a ELQ, the EQD must be used within that project. For a Web Site, one could potentially have a 'Search' page where the user could type or vocalize the query in English.

Once the query is received, it is validated against the EQD and if a valid SQL statement is generated, it can be used to retrieve the resultant information.

For more information, download the document available at: http://www.microsoft.com/backoffice/sql/70/whpprs/eqp.htm

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