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Renaming Virtual Columns to Computed Columns


There was a suggestion on the docs mailing list that we rename Virtual Columns to Computed Columns. I think it makes sense, but before we implement I want to make sure everyone is happy with the change, so am repeating it here as not everyone follows docs.

Currently, we use the term Virtual Columns (see https://mariadb.com/kb/en/mariadb/documentation/sql-structure-and-commands/sql-commands/data-definition/create/virtual-columns/).

Oracle uses this term, while MS SQL and Firebird use the term Computed Columns to describe similar functionality.

MariaDB's virtual column implementation has both persistent and virtual attributes. Talking of "virtual virtual" and "persistent virtual" can be confusing. Oracle's implementation, to my knowledge, only has virtual virtual, while MS SQL's Computed Columns offers both persistent ("persisted" in their case) and virtual.

I think "Computed" is a slightly more descriptive term, and avoids the ambiguity of "persistent virtual" and "virtual virtual". The MariaDB error messages already use the term computed, for example "Constant expression in computed column function is not allowed".

Unless anyone has a good reason to prefer the term virtual, we're going to rather use the term "computed column" in the docs. The article will still mention virtual column as an alternative etc, but computed will be the preferred term.


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