Syntax and Semantics of Gql, a Graphical Query Language. The problem of formalization for visual languages has been identified as an important one. We present in this paper a formal definition of both the syntax and semantics of Gql, a declarative graphical query language based on the functional data model. In Gql a query is fully and unambiguously represented by a single diagram and the user interaction is kept distinct from the language itself. In our approach for formalization we abstract from the world of graphics and concentrate on a world of sets and functions, called the base structure, which represent the various elements of the language. The syntactical definition of the language is completed by defining a set of rules that a base structure instance must satisfy, in order for it to correspond to a legal Gql query. The semantics of the language is given via a functionally defined, syntax-directed translation from Gql queries (represented as base structure instances) to list comprehensions. Finally, a form of attribute grammar is used in conjunction with the previous definitions for specifying in a single formalism both the syntax and semantics of Gql.

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  1. Wilkinson, Leland: The grammar of graphics. With contributions by Graham Wills, Dan Rope, Andrew Norton, and Roger Dubbs. (2005)