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December 1, 2005

Terminology That's Not

From Dictionary.com [Dictionary.com]:

file1   Audio pronunciation of "file" ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (fl)
  1. A container, such as a cabinet or folder, for keeping papers in order.
  2. A collection of papers or published materials kept or arranged in convenient order.
  3. Computer Science. A collection of related data or program records stored as a unit with a single name.
    1. A line of persons, animals, or things positioned one behind the other.
    2. A line of troops or military vehicles so positioned.
  4. Games. Any of the rows of squares that run forward and backward between players on a playing board in chess or checkers.
  5. Archaic. A list or roll.

So let me get this straight, a file in the physical sense is a container or collection of data (either hetero- or homogenous). And this concept is the analog we use to describe an image? I've always had this thing about the terminology that has been applied to computer concepts, I don't really like it. Especially the whole desktop concept and the terminological baggage that came with that crap! Don't even get me started on terms like Desktop and Folder!

Now of all people I understand the need for an analog to computer concepts that lay people can associate with and when Windows 3.1/95 was around most people could identify with the whole office concept. However, the current generation of computer users is a little more technically savvy than the previous workforce. Maybe it is time for new, more descriptive terminology. Terms that don't necessarily have a physical analog, but describe what the concept is. For example, the file concept is a defined as A collection of related data or program records stored as a unit with a single name.

I don't necesairly agree with this. In my mind the computer file is just a data container. It generally has a name, some attributes (creation time, etc.) and contains data, duh! Maybe data container isn't the best term, but I think it better represents what a file truly is. Of course this can be abstracted even more if you take directories/folders into consideration.

Posted by Guy at December 1, 2005 9:42 PM