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Standards make up the most important issue in the computer field. As an unregulated industry, we have wound up with thousands of data formats and languages, but few standards that are universally used. This subject is as heated as politics and religion to vendors and industry planners. In order to truly understand this industry, it is essential to understand the categories for which standards are created.

No matter how much the industry talks about compatibility, new formats and languages appear routinely. The standards makers are always trying to cast a standard in concrete, while the innovators are trying to create a new one. Even when standards are created, they are violated as soon as one vendor adds a proprietary extension.

The Future

After 60 some years of computing, we have managed to create thousands of languages, formats and interfaces. While many become bona fide standards endorsed by recognized standards organizations such as ANSI and the IEEE, some of the most widely used are de facto standards. Intel and Microsoft products are the most obvious examples.

Although the Internet has helped immensely by creating global standards, we have already gone through several versions of software for rendering Web pages. Email demands new standards because 90% of it is spam.

As we forge ahead, there is a point where we can no longer cling to the old designs for compatibility. At that time, the new has to break from the past. The previous infrastructure only holds us back, no different than constructing a new building on top of a weak foundation. It seems to be the way of things. See standards bodies.

Standards Categories
These are the major categories of electronic systems that require standards. Developing information systems in today's environment often seems like the Tower of Babel.

See standards - character codes.

See standards - communications & networking.

See standards - DBMSs.

See standards - file management systems.

See standards - graphics systems.

See standards - hardware interfaces.

See standards - Internet.

See standards - machine languages.

See standards - multimedia documents.

See standards - operating systems.

See standards - programming languages.

See standards - storage media.

See standards bodies.
References in periodicals archive ?
Standards represent a major shift, from focusing on inputs to identifying key results, Standards invite all those involved in the endeavor--current teachers, school administrators, teacher educators, and state education officials--to a conversation about the meaning of good teaching and its impact on student learning.
ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) has been a leader in developing standards on a consensual basis, and has jumped head-long into the whirlpool created by the currents of international trade and standards development.
Throughout these presentations, the anticipated MACT standards commanded the spotlight.
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Many of the Title VII standards never have been interpreted by the Supreme Court.
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The United Nations initiated a review of the International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations in October 1999 to form part of a wider international review and revision of mine action standards and guidelines.
Contracts that do not transfer significant insurance risk will not be allowed to be measured under their local GAAP standards," said Nagari.
The Joint Commission's change, evidenced in its new 2004 standards and survey procedures, is a rocket boost into the 21st century.
Barth has been a member of the AICPA's Accounting Standards Executive Committee, as well as the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council and FASB's Financial Instruments Task Force.
The proposed SASs are the outcome of a joint project of the ASB and the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board of the International Federation of Accountants.
It also develops pool safety standards through the standards group, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

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