Home > Development, Program features > Data export and import in zkanji

Data export and import in zkanji

The release of the next version of zkanji has been delayed a good 10 months already for the single reason that huge changes took place in its data format, and for that reason the export and import feature became unusable. (Translation: reason of delay = laziness.) You can ask “So what? Why not just release it and add export and import later, like other features?” I could do that of course, but there is a difference. I usually only remove features if I don’t intend to support them in the future, and some users couldn’t use the program without export and import. I think both are reasonable.

Now that this is out of the way, I’ll write a bit about the previous concept image of the data export dialog. You can see that I have thought of four sections. Dictionary, word groups, kanji groups and long-term study list export. After a bit of thought I realized that the dictionary and word group export both has the same kind of data. Not just the words’ kanji form and reading must be exported, but the meanings as well. This is obvious for the dictionary. The word groups contain words, but only specific meanings are added. In the near future I plan to change this a bit to be able to include several or all meanings for each word entry in a word group, but it will still be possible to only add some meanings. The biggest problem here (like with everything) is that the dictionary can change between releases, sometimes splitting meanings or changing them altogether. If the export file didn’t contain the word meanings, it would be impossible to check this at the time of import. The only additional data that must be exported with the dictionary is the word usage types and word frequency so the two are very similar.

It’s a simple case if the dictionary has the same words and definitions when importing (though there still can be conflicting word groups which require user interaction), but when the dictionaries at the time of export and import differ, the program should probably allow users to update the target dictionary not just for dictionary imports, but word group imports as well. When I took a break from developing zkanji 10 months ago I had this same problem, and it is still difficult. Thus I think that I’ll first make the export/import with a bit crude interface, and if users can propose something better I’m going to change it. Because this doesn’t usually happen you will probably have to put up with that interface for life. 🙂

I can’t think of such difficulty with kanji group and long-term study list export/import. The kanji group might have to handle words that are selected as examples for kanji, but the meaning is not important there. The long-term study list holds meanings for the words but those either depend on the current dictionary, or can be independent, in which case there is no need to do anything with the dictionary.

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