New Trends in Database Languages

Dagstuhl Seminar 9610, March 1996

During the week of March 04 - 08, 1996, the Seminar on New Trends in Database Languages was organized by Anthony J. Bonner (University of Toronto, Canada), Andreas Heuer (University of Rostock, Germany), and Letizia Tanca (University of Verona, Italy). Participants came from Universities or Research Centers from Belgium (4), Canada (2), Germany (15), Great Britain (1), Italy (4), Switzerland (1), The Netherlands (2), and USA (2).

Altogether 22 lectures and 2 working groups covered various aspects of new trends in database languages. Areas of particular interest were foundations of database languages and extensions of the standard languages.

The participants appreciated the outstanding local organization and the environment including all Dagstuhl facilities which enabled a successful workshop.


In relational database systems, SQL has become the accepted standard as a general database language for data definition, queries, updates, and database programming (in its embedded version). More recently, several new directions for database languages have been developed

  • for the specification and design of database applications,
  • for more complex queries than expressible in standard SQL,
  • for deeply structured and long transactions,
  • for a seamless integration of database operations and application programs,
  • for the use with new database models like object-oriented ones.

These new directions are especially motivated by new and more-complex applications like CAD, CAM, CASE, office automation, and scientific databases.

These trends lead to

  • newer versions of SQL like SQL3 and Object SQL (OQL),
  • deductive approaches to database querying like rule-based languages or database logics,
  • rule-based approaches for active database applications,
  • transaction languages or models for different data models,
  • special-purpose specification languages,
  • integrated database programming languages,
  • object-oriented calculi, algebras, or programming languages with persistence.

The workshop was to bring together researchers working on foundations of database languages, especially for the relational and object-oriented database models, and researchers developing extensions of the standard languages like DATALOG and SQL, among them projects like object logic (F-Logic) or extended SQLs (SQL3, Object SQL or OQL).

The discussions at the workshop aimed to result in a deeper understanding of the forthcoming developments in the database language area and the usefulness of fundamental results in complex applications. There were special sessions on developing canonical examples for advanced applications of database languages, which captured the essence of an advanced application and reported about advanced applications showing the usefulness and problems of new database languages.

Monday, March 04

Monday, March 04

Presenter Title Abstract Slides Full Paper Links
Uwe Hohenstein Query Languages of Object-Oriented Database Systems
Anthony J. Bonner Concurrent Transaction Logic
Lawrence V. Saxton Adding ordered data to database systems
Michael Kifer Deductive Object-Oriented Database Systems: From Wishful Thinking to Virtual Reality
Günter von BültzingsloewenActive Information Delivery in a CORBA-based Distributed Information System
Tuesday, March 05

Tuesday, March 05

Presenter Title Abstract Slides Full Paper Links
Piero Fraternali Designing Applications with Objects and Rules: the IDEA Methodology
Rainer Manthey Developing DB Languages with Active and Passive Rules: Experiences, Issues, Opinions
Georg Lausen Nested Transactions in a Logical Language for Active Rules
Luigi Palopoli Circumscribing Datalog: expressive power and complexity
Burkhard Freitag Objects and Views in Deductive Databases
Malcolm Atkinson An Orthogonally Persistent Java
Working Group 1 (Chair: Gunter Saake)Descriptive Method Languages
Working Group 2 (Chair: Anthony Bonner) Query Languages
Herman Balsters, Maurice van KeulenHow do we type an object-oriented query result?
Wednesday, March 06

Wednesday, March 06

Presenter Title Abstract Slides Full Paper Links
Peter Pistor SQL3-Standardisation, a Status Report
Marc H. Scholl On the Design of Object Database Languages
Stefan Conrad Towards a Formal Analysis of ODMG's Object Query Language
Dirk Van Gucht Generalized Quantifiers in Decision Support Queries
Riccardo Torlone Models and Languages for the World Wide Web
Thursday, March 07

Thursday, March 07

Presenter Title Abstract Slides Full Paper Links
Florian Waas Describing Query Execution in Parallel Database Systems
Hans-Joachim Klein Problems with answers to queries against databases with incomplete information
Letizia Tanca A Structured Approach for the Definition of the Semantics of Active Databases
Marc Gyssens Tables As a Paradigm for Querying and Restructuring
Herman Balsters Verification of transactions in object-oriented databases
Friday, March 08

Friday, March 08

Presenter Title Abstract Slides Full Paper Links
Andreas Heuer What's a query? (What's a program?) Simple Question?
Roberto Zicari Is Deferred Faster than Immediate? - Benchmarking Schema Updates for Object Database Systems-
Hans-Jörg Schek