Home > Under-the-hood > Data handling in zkanji mini-series, Part IV.

Data handling in zkanji mini-series, Part IV.

I’ve mentioned most of the following before, so I’ll just summarize what considerations made it necessary to change the file format which will be used in the next release of zkanji (hopefully) soon:

  1. Safer dictionary updates: Because the underlying JMDict dictionary changes with every release, words could sometimes disappear from word and study groups without notice. This only happened if the word’s kanji form or kana writing (pronunciation) in the dictionary changed. As I mentioned before, the only way to identify words when loading the dictionary and groups was by those parts. For example in the current JMDict, the word バケツ (baketsu – bucket) has no kanji, but the dictionary at the time of the last program release contained the 馬穴 ateji (kanji selected by pronunciation only) for this word. If I don’t change how the program handles such cases, users could end up with words disappearing from their groups. Also if a word’s meaning is added to a word group and even the order of meanings change, the word group cannot be automatically fixed to reflect that.
  2. English dictionary user changes: In the currently released program it is not possible to change the English definition of words, nor to add new words or to remove existing ones. It was a request by many users to be able to do that, but without the changes I made to handle the previous point, it would have been very difficult to handle dictionary updates. Fortunately the additional work for allowing dictionary changes was nothing compared to that.
  3. Multiple meanings for single word entries in word groups: In the current release when a word is added to a word group, a meaning has to be selected, and only that meaning will be added to the group. This doesn’t seem to have any direct connection to dictionary updates, but if word meanings (the order or number of the meanings) changed compared to an old dictionary, it would have created an even greater problem that is more difficult to handle.

This is all that I could think of right now, but I sometimes remember other features that I could have implemented long ago if zkanji could handle dictionary updates better.

In the next post I’ll write about what changes had to be made to the file formats. Without knowing that, this and the previous entries might seem a bit mysterious. 🙂

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