Announcing SQLfast v4.0
(1) By J-L Hainaut (JLHainaut) on 2020-12-11 15:55:08 [source]
The SQLfast software is one of the outcomes of a project of the University of Namur (Belgium) intended to demonstrate that database technology, and particularly SQL, well beyond its usual transactional CRUD usage, is also (as it was at its start) a powerful tool to model and solve complex problems, notably by non-IT users. SQLfast is a graphical and programmable front-end to SQLite that offers two usage modes: Basic and Expert.
In the Basic mode, the users (supposedly novice) explore, query, sort and modify data through a graphical interface. In addition, they write queries (or sequences thereof) and execute them. This mode is supported by a series of integrated tutorials on SQL.
The Expert mode allows users to develop and run scripts written in the SQLfast language. This language, designed to be easy to master, even by novice users, is an extension of SQL with standard procedural features (variables, if-then-else, various kinds of loops, procedure call, etc.), GUI (to collect and display data values, texts, bitmap, vector graphics), web access, files, etc.
SQLfast comes with a rich documentation : first-step guides for each mode, a manual devoted to various aspects of database programming, a language reference manual and a survival guide (about 50 typical script models). Moreover, it has been used to develop a series of 16+ case studies addressing a wide range of problems, all modeled and solved through a relational database and SQL applications. These studies include application prototyping, code generation, metadata management, tree processing, graph analysis, shortest path, active databases, temporal databases, blockchains, schema-less databases, Conway's Life game, an adventure game engine, topological sort, etc. The SQLfast code of each of these studies is included in the distribution.
The software comprises a tutorial engine, that is one of its distinctive features. A tutorial is a multimedia document generated from a source text written in SQLtuto, a page layout mini-language. This document is made up of formatted texts, images, internal and external links and executable scripts. The SQLfast distribution includes about 80 such tutorials.
Just like SQLite, its SQL engine, it does not need any installation and does not modify system parameters. SQLfast is written in Python and has been compiled for MS Windows. Several members of this forum have reported that it works fine under Linux/Wine.