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standards - DBMSs

Database management systems (DBMSs) have their own proprietary formats for storing data. For example, a header record with a unique format that contains identification data is typically placed at the beginning of each file. Codes may also be embedded in each record.

Most DBMSs have an import and export capability that converts popular database formats into their proprietary format. If not, the program usually can import and export a plain EBCDIC or ASCII file, which is stripped of all proprietary codes and can be used as a common denominator between both systems. If conversion facilities cannot be found, a custom program can be written to convert one database format into another if documentation describing the old format is available.

The application program "talks" to the database in the SQL language typically. In theory, that means any application program requesting data in SQL would work with any DBMS that supports it. Like everything else however, there are dialects of SQL. Whatever special features exist within the DBMS, proprietary syntax is needed to activate them, thus automatically making one DBMS incompatible with another. See standards.


Standards make up the most important issue in the computer field. As an unregulated industry, we have wound up with thousands of data formats and languages, but few standards that are universally used. This subject is as heated as politics and religion to vendors and industry planners. In order to truly understand this industry, it is essential to understand the categories for which standards are created.

No matter how much the industry talks about compatibility, new formats and languages appear routinely. The standards makers are always trying to cast a standard in concrete, while the innovators are trying to create a new one. Even when standards are created, they are violated as soon as one vendor adds a proprietary extension.

The Future
After 60 some years of computing, we have managed to create thousands of languages, formats and interfaces. While many become bona fide standards endorsed by recognized standards organizations such as ANSI and the IEEE, some of the most widely used are de facto standards. Intel and Microsoft products are the most obvious examples.

Although the Internet has helped immensely by creating global standards, we have already gone through several versions of software for rendering Web pages. Email demands new standards because 90% of it is spam.

As we forge ahead, there is a point where we can no longer cling to the old designs for compatibility. At that time, the new has to break from the past. The previous infrastructure only holds us back, no different than constructing a new building on top of a weak foundation. It seems to be the way of things. See standards bodies.

Standards Categories
These are the major categories of electronic systems that require standards. Developing information systems in today's environment often seems like the Tower of Babel.

See standards - character codes.

See standards - communications & networking.

See standards - DBMSs.

See standards - file management systems.

See standards - graphics systems.

See standards - hardware interfaces.

See standards - Internet.

See standards - machine languages.

See standards - multimedia documents.

See standards - operating systems.

See standards - programming languages.

See standards - storage media.

See standards bodies.

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Before/After Your Search Term
standard memorystandards - file management systems
Standard Messaging Formatstandards - graphics systems
Standard Modestandards - hardware interfaces
standard outputstandards - Internet
standard screen HDTVstandards - machine languages
Standard SIMstandards - multimedia documents
Standard TCP/IP Portstandards - operating systems
standardsstandards - programming languages
standards - character codesstandards - storage media
standards - communications & networkingstandards bodies

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