A Method for Expressing Integrity Constraints in Database Conceptual Modeling

Alain Pereira Toledo, Abel Rodriguez Morffi, Alain Pérez Alonso, Andy Morfa Hernández, Luis M. Gonzalez Gonzalez


Traditional methods lack the necessary or appropriate means for expressing the integrity constraints during the database conceptual modeling stage. At most, integrity constraints are informally documented and then, coded in the application. This leads to late error detection and database inconsistencies due to the incapacity of the domain expert to validate the program code. Thus, it is necessary to express such constraints in a natural and formal way in order to close the gap between modelers and domain experts, and to support the transformation to other languages and models. As a result, we propose a controlled natural language based on Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR) to help modelers and domain experts in the process of writing and validating the constraints that cannot be represented in an Entity-Relationship schema; and the Alloy language to allow a formal specification. Inaddition, all the correspondences between the models and languages are described in order to consistently express the constraints and to lay the foundations of the automatic transformation. Finally, a case study and a usability survey show that the proposal is feasible, without abandoning a traditional and popular approach such as the Entity-Relationship model.


Integrity constraints, entity-relationship, SBVR, alloy

Full Text: PDF