- RAQUEL was first used in 1991 as a teaching language at the predecessor to the current Northumbria University School of Computing, Engineering, and Information Sciences. It was used to teach relational database principles, particularly as expressed in the different editions of C. J. Date's textbook "An Introduction to Database Systems".
- As a result of strong and positive student feedback, its use was broadened and deepened. In 1998 it was decided to support this teaching by the development, via student projects, of a software Teaching Tool that would demonstrate the use of relational algebra. The "database engine" was to be a product called "db++" recommended by Newcastle University. Much time was spent on developing a good user interface to support the teaching.
- After the publication of The Third Manifesto, it was decided in 2002 to form the Open Database Project Group for the purpose of developing a prototype Open Source DBMS as a proof of concept of The Third Manifesto specification. RAQUEL was the natural language to use for this. The never-quite-completed teaching tool became the basis for the prototype. Development again proceeded via student projects. Rather than use traditional Lex and Yacc type tools to create the tokeniser and parser for RAQUEL, since the whole point of the language design is that it be simple, powerful, and extendable, the tokeniser and parser were 'hand coded' using standard tokenising and parsing techniques in order that a full appreciation and control over the language could be maintained.
- In September 2008, funds were received from NStar to accelerate developments to date and build on what had already been achieved. By August 2009, a simple Proof of Concept prototype of a RAQUEL DBMS had been completed. The salient characteristic of the prototype is the provision of a complete range of Join operators : all possible Natural and Generalised Joins in inner, outer and semi forms. The prototype was published in September 2009. It is freely available to download from SourceForge.
- During 2010, a web-based infrastructure was built up to support the evolution of the prototype into a worthwhile product via the Open Source route. Plans were also prepared to form an Open Database Company to work on product development.
- The current phase began in January 2011. Its aim is to re-factor the NStar prototype and document it thoroughly in order to provide an open modular architecture. This will provide the foundation for its future development, via the incorporation of new modules, into a commercial product. It is also planned to found a User-Developer community to support the work.