Zuzel Vera Pacheco, a Master Student at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Greg Wilson has been working on the Back-annotation of data models at run-time . For a short description of her project see also this presentation on slideshare.
As part of this work, she has done a very interesting experiment in which she has analyzed the diagrams/notations that programmers use to represent the execution of database queries. Now, she is reporting the first results of the experiment showing that “there is not a single pair that uses the same notation.” .
Definitely, something to think about. Next question would be: Are all programmers at least able to understand the representations used by their peers? If so, ¿what´s the importance of standard notations? ¿do we all have an implicit knowledge that helps us to understand new notations? ¿Is this “knowledge” an important factor when designing a new notation (imagine that our invented notation is counterintuitive and people make the wrong assumptions about it)?. Any opinions?