Chapter 3 - Chapter 3 Data Information and Files 2...

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Chapter 3 Data, Information, and Files 2 definitions for information and data: Data: The words, numbers, graphics that are entered into the computer to describe people, events, things. Information: the words, numbers, graphics that are the basis for making decisions. Often information is the result derived by processing data: Data: The words, numbers, graphics entered by a user into a program. Information: The words, numbers, graphics displayed or printed by a program. file: a named collection of program instructions or data that exists on a storage medium such as a disk. An example would be the words that comprise a course syllabus, or the words in a letter to your advisor. An executable file contains the instructions that tell a computer how to perform a specific task. Examples are a word processing program, operating system. To use an executable file, you run it. In DOS, an executable file ends with the 3-letter extension .EXE. To run it, you type the file name after the command-line prompt. In Windows, executable files have special-shape icons. You can run one, by double-clicking on the icon. The information in an executable file consists of a list of binary instructions for the computer (machine language instructions - sequences of 0's and 1's). Humans cannot read an executable file. A data file contains words, numbers, graphics that you can view, edit, save, print, or send electronically to another computer. You can create a data file using a word-processor, spreadsheet software, graphics software, or database program. You can save a data file on disk, retrieve it later, view it, modify it, and save it again. You usually need to view or update a data file using the same software package that was used to create it initially. For example, a Microsoft word data file can be opened and processed with Microsoft word. Another word-processing program can probably open it too, but it would have to convert the file before it could process it. You probably cannot view it using a spreadsheet or database program. Source files: A third category. is a source file. A source file contains instructions written in a programming language (not machine language) that must be translated by the computer into machine language before they can be executed. They are readable by humans and can normally be viewed by a word
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processor. If you write BASIC or COBOL programs, you will save them as source files. The file AUTOEXEC.BAT is an example of a source file - it contains instructions that help to customize your computer. It is automatically translated and executed whenever your computer is booted. Point to all this: You process data files, executable files, and source files differently; therefore, you (or the computer) must know ? the category of each file on your disk.
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