Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic Network Query Language
started 6/11/2002; 8:07:41 AM - last post 6/15/2002; 1:10:39 PM
Ehud Lamm - Network Query Language  blueArrow
6/11/2002; 8:07:41 AM (reads: 2353, responses: 4)
Network Query Language
It's no accident that NQL has a similar name to SQL. NQL is an application of the principles of SQL to apply to all forms of Internet and network programming. Like SQL, NQL allows you to accomplish a great deal in just a few lines of code. Unlike SQL, NQL's domain isn't restricted to the world of databases. There are over 500 powerful building blocks (statements) in NQL, covering everything from crawling web sites to running neural networks!

Aside from the sad fact that the language is proprietary, does anyone know why it didn't catch on? Is it any good?

(I have the feeling this is not really a DSL. The language seems too big and complicated. Why would you need to make neural networks built in?)

Posted to DSL by Ehud Lamm on 6/11/02; 8:08:52 AM

Ken Meltsner - Re: Network Query Language  blueArrow
6/12/2002; 8:36:38 AM (reads: 1236, responses: 1)
[long time reader delurking.]

The language was something of a mess, with features taken from all over the place. If I recall correctly, it looked most like Visual Basic, but that may be wrong. It was usable, however.

What killed it? My guess is that it fell prey to the difficulty of scraping content in general, which has led me to two observations:

* Almost all Web "active proxy" systems have failed. Transcoders, scrapers, Web scripting languages, etc., regardless of the specific capabilities, have been almost completely unsuccessful. Systems rich enough to scrape content from an uncooperative web site tend to be expensive and will not be of broad interest.

* If you could program well enough to scrape content from a complicated site, you'd probably prefer a real language with the associated debugging and support tools. Or Perl.

A way out of this, I think, would be for a vendor to sell relatively inexpensive tools that generate "real" language output, either for direct use, or for use as a "scaffold" when writing the full application. Going straight from tool to application doesn't seem to work well.

The other alternative would be to sell a really good library (Java or .NET) that encapsulates the nasty bits of scraping content or automating the Web, while allowing the developer to stay in her or his favorite environment and language.

[SiteRaider is a good example of the "cheap tool" approach. I haven't found the ultimate wrapper/scraper library for Java.]

Ehud Lamm - Re: Network Query Language  blueArrow
6/12/2002; 1:12:39 PM (reads: 1286, responses: 0)
One thing that I noticed (from the example code on the site) is that unlike SQL, NQL is not declerative.

I woold be more interested in a more limited declerative web query language.

Ken Meltsner - Re: Network Query Language  blueArrow
6/15/2002; 10:55:34 AM (reads: 1193, responses: 1)
My favorite Web query language was WebL. It had a very powerful approach to the manipulation of web pages. It was also orphaned when DEC became Compaq, but I still see email about it at times. I'm not enough of a language maven to decide whether it was "declarative" but it did have a strong functional influence.

There used to be a web site at: but it appears to be gone now -- the redirect fails.

Ehud Lamm - Re: Network Query Language  blueArrow
6/15/2002; 1:10:39 PM (reads: 1265, responses: 0)
Maybe this presentation on WebL can be helpful. Some of the research behind WenL was mentioned here in the past (search for service combinators for example).

As far as I can tell the language is imperative.