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A Relational Database Tool for M359 Students

What is Rel359 for?

Block 2 of the Open University course M359 - Relational databases: theory and practice introduces students to relational theory. In this part of the course, relations are defined and a language is described that can manipulate these relations. This language is not named in the course but is unique to M359 so this site refers to the language as the "M359 Language".

While studying Block 2, students may complete a number of exercises using the M359 Language. The Open University do not supply a computerised implementation of the M359 Language along with the course materials and so students must complete the exercises entirely by hand. Furthermore because there is no implementation, students are unable to further their understanding by trying out queries of their own and checking that they receive the expected results.

Rel359 is intended to fill this gap by providing an implementation of the M359 Language.

Why did I write Rel359?

When I studied M359, my tutor, Hugh Darwen, introduced his tutor group to the idea of using Rel to assist with M359. At the time I chose not to use Rel because it does not implement the M359 Language and hence could be confusing. Rather, it implements Tutorial D which uses a different syntax but includes similar concepts.

I liked the idea of using Rel but didn't want to learn another language especially as the M359 Language might have featured in the final exam and I didn't want to accidentally use Tutorial D intstead. However when I came to do M450 - The computing project I needed a project and creating Rel359 seemed like an interesting and challenging idea!

Releasing Rel359 to the world is not part of my M450 project, but having created it I might as well make it available to anyone who might find it useful.

page last updated: Thursday, December 31, 2015