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Will the addition of XML data types to relational databases help this
problem, at least for data-centric schemas? It's a bit of an force-fit,
but it seems that mixed content could be mapped to and accessed from an
XML column when the meaning of that content is a single word, even an
This solution won't work for data binding until programming languages
can handle XML data as a first-order type.
Rick Jelliffe wrote:
>>I am having a hard time accepting the case for mixed content, especially
>>based on the arguments I have seen.
> One important reason is internationalization.
> Japanese, in particular, has too many homophones and variant readings
> to make either syllabically-spelled words or ideographically-written
> characters completely satisfactory. The common "writing-on-the-hand-
> when-ralking" behaviour that strikes foreigners in Japan is evidence
> of this.
> To overcome this, Japanese have adopted a system of annotated writing,
> which we can call Ruby (after the 4? point characters.) These allow
> ideagraphs (whose meaning may be readable but pronunciation unclear)
> to be coupled with their phonetic spelling. Or to allow contractions
> to be spelled out, or even little translations of unusual foreign words
> or names to be given in the text.
> Similar annotations are also used by Taiwanese with the bopomofo
> syllabary used for teaching children and with rare ideographs.
> One of the promises of XML over 3rd normal form data is therefore
> that mixed content provides a way for Japanese people (etc) to use their
> traditional Japanese solution (ruby annotations) and overcome the
> alphabet-centricism of RBDBS and third normal form.
> Some internationalization people even go as far as saying that *all*
> text in a schema intended for international use should be mixed
> content. I.e. that XML's string type should be the exception, to be
> used only when the pattern facet is used to disallow Han ideagraphs.
> Obviously, this can freak out RDBMS people. But why should East Asians
> settle for text in databases being less comprehensible than text in
> free text, in ways that alphabetic scripts are not?
> Rick Jelliffe
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