Re: Definitions of Software and Database

From: dawn <>
Date: 3 Feb 2006 15:59:39 -0800
Message-ID: <>

Bob Hairgrove wrote:
> On 3 Feb 2006 13:56:12 -0800, "dawn" <> wrote:
> >If your data contains variables or if it can only be accessed through
> >functions that determine its representation based in its type or other
> >information, is it software?
> You seem to be trying to make a distinction between "data" and
> "software". I think this will ultimately lead you astray. Software is
> always data!

That is my thinking as well. But then I get to the term "software developer" which someone then pointed out would make a "data entry" person a software developer, perhaps? Is there a distinction between a software developer and a data entry clerk?

> >Must software contain functions? You can
> >write classes that have no functions specified overtly, and I would
> >call that software, but this software doesn't run outside of some
> >external function. Similarly, data is not accessed outside of a
> >function, although it can remain in tact on secondary storage devices
> >with no functions operating at the time (as can software).
> >
> >> Some programming languages aren't
> >> organized around functions. Assembly, say.
> >
> >although you could definitely call those instructions. Would a value
> >of 5 for the variable myNumber be data? Would a tiny Java class with
> >one class variable named myNumber with a value of 5 be software?
> "Data" can be anything, even outside of a computer.

Yes, but I'm interested in data as in "data processing" and related to computers, but point taken.

> However, once it
> is specified to be "information that can be accessed electronically",
> you are forced to make certain assupmtions about the data:
> (1) It occupies an area of storage of non-zero bytes in some form of
> electronic media (at least WRT computers);
> (2) The format in which this data is stored can be "understood" (i.e.,
> read and written) by some program in electronic form which runs under
> some operating system on at least one kind of hardware and/or
> networked system;
> (3) Programs are also data (always!)


> because they satisfy (1) and (2)
> above. The only difference is when this data becomes an executable
> program -- only because it is meaningful for the operating system on
> which it is deployed under a certain specific context.

Yes, it serves as input

> If it is not
> meaningful in the context of an executable program for whatever
> operating system on which it is deployed, then it is just data in some
> format which needs yet another program to interpret it.
> --
> Bob Hairgrove

Thanks. --dawn Received on Sat Feb 04 2006 - 00:59:39 CET

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