Database Users and User Interfaces

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There are four different types of database-system users, differentiated by the way they expect to interact with the system. Different types of user interfaces have been designed for the different types of users.

Naive users are unsophisticated users who interact with the system by invoking one of the application programs that have been written previously. For example, a bank teller who needs to transfer $50 from account A to account B invokes a program called transfer. This program asks the teller for the amount of money to be transferred, the account from which the money is to be transferred,and the account to which the money is to be transferred.

As another example, consider a user who wishes to find her account balance over the World Wide Web. Such a user may access a form, where she enters her account number. An application program at the Web server then retrieves the account balance, using the given account number, and passes this information back to the user.

The typical user interface for naive users is a forms interface, where the user can fill in appropriate fields of the form. Naive users may also simply read reports generated from the database

Application programmers are computer professionals who write application programs. Application programmers can choose from many tools to develop user interfaces. Rapid application development (RAD) tools are tools that enable an application programmer to construct forms and reports without writing a program. There are also special types of programming languages that combine imperative control structures (for example, for loops, while loops and if-then-else statements) with statements of the data manipulation language.These languages, sometimes called fourth-generation languages, often include special features to facilitate the generation of forms and the display of data on the screen. Most major commercial database systems include a fourthgeneration language. Sophisticated users...
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