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
Data: The words, numbers, graphics entered by a user into a
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
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
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