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Re: XML Blueberry (non-ASCII name characters in Japan)

Quoting Elliotte Rusty Harold:

> Let's stop imagining what the situation is and try to find out
> what it really is by actually talking to some of the people there.
> Do not presume you can transfer the experience of other
> places and times onto Cambodia or Myanmar or anywhere
> else. English is a much more contentious issue in Canada and
> Europe than in Asia. There was a wonderful article by Seth
> Mydans in the July 1 New York Times about English in Asia,
> probably available from your local library or for a $2.50 fee
> on the Web. One of his points was that English is often used
> by Asians with different native languages who want to
> communicate with each other, even when there's no native
> English speaker involved.

Repeating myself until the list is probably ready to throw me off:

There is a vast difference between bargaining over the price of sake and
marking up some subtle philosophical nuance in a text on traditional
histories. Do we want to limit the usefulness of tags in the latter case?

But then again, maybe we should check that all the ways to describe the
various qualities of fermented beverages are included in the BMP? Who's
going to pay the guy who does that check? (Oh, wait. Those guys do put out a
lot of money for that kind of research. ;-)

Then what about the various qualities of miso (fermented soup base) that one
might want to use as an enumerated attribute in a database? How about tags
in a list of instructions for making natto? (Fermented soy beans. Not bad,
once you get used to it. Why am I thinking of things fermented? 8-0 )

How about catalogs of the tubors grown in Tottori prefecture? Do we want to
force the database designer to refrain from the obvious design, just because
some obscure-to-foreigners classification turns out to be unavailable as an
attribute ID? And I suppose I could think of valid reasons to want to use
names of obscure roots as tags in a database, as well. Pottery? Martial arts
techniques? Weapons used in the ninjitsu traditions? (Okay, let's scratch
the ninja stuff. ;-)

Is this still too hypothetical, just because I haven't thoroughly checked
each of the cases I thought of in five or ten minutes?

The question here is not whether the characters involved are in the BMP, it
is whether a small company that might want to use XML in a strictly local
context can afford to waste programmer time with issues that ought to be
trivial. Also, do we want the Japanese programming industry to have to
publish a reference of characters (and therefore words) that can and cannot
be used freely in markup?

<half-joking>Actually, once the reference is available, I suppose checking
on the availability of characters for markup would be the sort of job
managers love to assign to new hires.</half-joking>

Is XML supposed to allow us to add to the explicit semantic mass of a
document, or are the tags supposed to be only for making the connections
between on-line databases easier to grab? <slight-exaggeration>The way it
looks right now, I'm wondering if we should warn our customers off XML for
anything but selling transistors and tee-shirts.</slight-exaggeration>

Again, I don't want to mis-represent myself. I didn't have time to check
each of the examples I mentioned above. But that's part of my point, really.

Joel Rees
programmer -- rees@mediafusion.co.jp
To be a tree supporting all information,
  giving root to the chaos
    and branches to the trivia,
      information breathing anew --
        This is the aim of Yggdrasill.
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