> I'm pretty new to SQL Server (switching from Visual FoxPro).
> I'm developing a database that will store, amongst other things, names
> and addresses of people from all over the world (approx 100,000
> records). Up to now, I've always used a flat model of storing address
> data using fields:
> Address line 1
> Address line 2
> But this model doesn't cater very well for the intricacies of postal
> systems all over the world. There is also redundancy, particularly with
> fields Line2, County/State, Postcode/ZIP, which are not needed for many
> It also occurs to me that using multiple fields like this in a table
> with several fields gives no indication of the linked nature of the
> information. For example, if the town field is changed, then chances
> are that some of the other lines of the address become obsolete unless
> they are changed at the same time.
> So I have been thinking about storing the address in an XML structure
> in a single field. This will allow me, where necessary, to break down
> address data into smaller units where known (e.g. premise name, premise
> number, apartment number), or if a breakdown is not known to store
> chunks of data together. It also then allows me the flexibility to
> re-build the data in an appropriate order (e.g. for an address label)
> relevant for the particular country/language - for example number
> before/after street; postcode before town/separate line at the end.
> An example fragment might be:
> <premisename>Oak Cottage</premisename>
> <village>Little Hampton</village>
> <postcode>WD3 3UH</postcode>
> Bearing in mind some of this data will need to be searchable
> (especially postcode, country, and possibly town), are the possible
> benefits of this going to be outweighed by vast amounts of extra work,
> and a performance penalty, or does it sound like a good practical use
> of the XML data type?
> Any comments gratefully appreciated.
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