Re: What is a FLAT FILE ?

From: Jerason Banes <>
Date: Tue, 02 Jul 2002 18:45:38 GMT
Message-ID: <mxmU8.899$>

I agree with Andy. I've always known "Flat files" to be a record by record structure with each record of a specified size and no indexing. By indexing the file, it would become known as an ISAM file. ISAM files (which were pretty much all there was to many Mainframe databases), could be grouped together to form a "Flat database" (i.e. Just a collection of tables. No structure imposed between them.). This didn't mean that you couldn't take a relational view on the database. It just meant that there was no support to prevent you from doing something non-relational. This common relational view evolved into SQL based databases that enforce a relational design among tables.

Flat files are still in use on a lot of mainframes as a means of exporting database data into a file that can be used in Excel spreadsheets and the like. Reminds me of a boss I used to have. He would fill out every record with nothing but semi-colons before placing the data in the record. His take on it was that if he found more semicolons than the delimeters in the flat file, he knew that his program had a bug. Ah, the good old days... :-)


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Received on Tue Jul 02 2002 - 20:45:38 CEST

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