Daniel Lemire's blog

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What are the computer langage people waiting for?

The glorious time when people could design a new insightful computer language is gone.

Or is it? In our Data Warehousing and OLAP classes, we cover MDX and various APIs for OLAP. Arguably, MDX is de facto the standard OLAP language. But as far as languages go, it is just ugly. Microsoft chose to mimick closely SQL and yet, extend it dramatically into a multidimensional setting with a large dose of abstraction. I’ve never designed computer languages, but I’ve used them and just like a painter can recognize a bad brush even if he can’t design a brush, I just don’t like MDX.

But even if I’m wrong, you can’t hope to teach MDX to a busy decision maker even if he has sufficient programming experience:

I believe that OLAP using MDX with Mondrian requires expert language knowledge and it would be very difficult for a user, with only domain knowledge, to be able to issue correct queries. (Hazel Webb)

What is needed is a simpler, easier langage. Something someone who knows about control structures (loops and if clauses) and has a basic understanding of what a data cube is (drilling-down, rolling-up, slicing and so on), can quickly pick up and use, say within a day.

Would make a great Ph.D. thesis.