ERDoc: A Web Interface for Entity-Relation Modelling


Computer Science professors at the University of Chile have found that their students often lack the abilities required to adequately model a relational database, for example, in the context of capstone Software Engineering projects. These students have passed an introductory Databases course covering conceptual modelling via Entity–Relation (ER) diagrams. A possible cause is that modelling tools found on the Web force students to immediately think in terms of tables and foreign keys instead of in terms of concepts and how they connect. In this paper, we present ERDoc: an application aimed at assisting students and other users through the modelling process. We define a syntax to allow users to describe entities, their attributes and relationships; from these descriptions, we automatically and dynamically generate ER diagrams. Both syntactic and semantic errors are detected and informed to the user. Preliminary evaluations with professors, teaching assistants and students show that ERDoc Playground is usable and useful in the task of conceptual modelling of databases, and thus has the potential to improve the conceptual-modelling aptitudes of Computer Science students.

In 3rd ACM SIGMOD International Workshop on Data Systems Education
Sebastián Ferrada
Sebastián Ferrada
Assistant Professor

Research. Coffee. Lifting.