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.
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
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.