A CDE Definition
A terminal or desktop computer that displays graphics. Before GUI interfaces became standard, the term was used to refer to a specialized graphics machine in contrast with a text-based screen. See text based.
Also called "character based," it refers to handling text and not graphics. Simple charts and illustrations may be drawn, but they are limited to a set of special characters that are strung together to make up lines and shades (see OEM font). DOS and Unix are inherently text-based operating systems, in contrast to Windows and the Mac, which are graphics based.
Text-based computer screens display a fixed set of rows and columns, typically between 25 and 50 rows of 80 or more characters that are also fixed in size. In contrast, graphics-based screens provide a matrix of pixels that are entirely addressable, allowing for any font size or graphic object to be created.
Text based also refers to documents that contain only text, such as program source code, batch files and HTML and XML pages. Text-based documents are readable in any text editor and most word processors. In contrast, machine language files, multimedia files and all database files (except text-based XML databases) contain binary codes that a text application cannot decipher. See ASCII file and XML.
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