Re: What is a FLAT FILE ?

From: Andy Dent <>
Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 22:13:31 +0800
Message-ID: <>

In article <RtYT8.48$>, "David Cressey" <> wrote:

> > What is a FLAT FILE ?
> >
> > A FLAT FILE is just one table organized easily into fields and rows.
> I would have defined it differently: A flat file is a sequence of
> records,
> all of a single record type.


I date back to "flat files" (20 years in IT starting with ISAM and direct files on 8 bit CP/M machines, Vaxes etc.)

As I recall the distinction, we thought of indexing structures as adding another dimension to the data.

Hence a "flat" file was one which had no access dimension - you had to traverse through a sequence of records or possibly jump directly to a record address.

There was no tree structure built into the file.

This doesn't preclude a flat file having different record types - the distinction is about access structures built on top of the raw data.

In a related idiom, I think I've heard streaming a tree structure out to disk called "flattening".

and now we're gonna get into Aussie vs US idioms

BTW a lot of us are thoroughly embarrassed by the latest Crocodile Hunter movie hitting your shores (I just had to say that SOMEWHERE! :-)

Andy Dent BSc  MACS  AACM
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Received on Mon Jul 01 2002 - 16:13:31 CEST

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