GUI improvements will make the next version of English Query in SQL Server 7.0 easier for developers to use. Natural-language products are notorious for requiring a lot of up-front work to populate application-specific dictionaries. But developers will appreciate the improvement of graphical authoring wizards, which display semantics in diagram form and allow quick creation of OLAP cubes. Microsoft has many folks toiling away in the arenas of natural language and speech recognition, so it's just a matter of time before natural language becomes mainstream. It's certainly part of Bill Gates' vision for a digital nervous system. See and the microsoft.public.sqlserver.mseq newsgroup to come up to speed on this research. Look for a beta of English Query 7.5, with OLAP Services support, a graphical question builder, Visual Studio integration, a thesaurus, and SQL Server full-text indexing support. For more information on English Query, see (An interesting aside: AskJeeves, a natural-language search engine at, uses SQL Server as an input engine for its proprietary natural-language search engine. Customers, such as Dell Computer, who have licensed AskJeeves, enter site-specific data into templates that are stored in SQL Server 7.0.)