Ad Hoc Querying
Ad hoc querying is a term in information science. Many application software systems have an underlying database which can be accessed by only a limited number of queries and reports. Typically these are available via some sort of menu, and will have been carefully designed, pre-programmed and optimized for performance by expert programmers.
By contrast, "ad hoc" reporting systems allow the users themselves to create specific, customized queries. Typically this would be via a user-friendly GUI-based system without the need for the in-depth knowledge of SQL, or database schema that a programmer would have.
Because such reporting has the potential to severely degrade the performance of a live system, it is usually provided over a data warehouse. Ad hoc querying/reporting is a business intelligence subtopic, along with OLAP, data warehousing, data mining and other tools.
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