Protocol,Standards,Specification:What's the difference?

What's the difference between protocol, standards and specification?

Since i'll be using it in my report, it would be helpful if you could also provide the source. Thanks.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    A protocol is a series of prescribed steps to be taken, usually in order to allow for the coordinated action of multiple parties. In the world of computers, protocols are used to allow different computers and/or software applications to work and communicate with one another. Because computer protocols are usually formalized, many people consider protocols to be standards. However, such is not actually the case. Standards are simply agreed-upon models for comparison, such as the meter and the gram. In the world of computers, standards are often used to define syntactic or other rule sets, and occasionally protocols, that are used as a basis for comparison. Some good examples include ANSI SQL, used to compare derivations of the SQL database query language, and ANSI C, used to compare derivations of the C programming language.

    The standard that describes how digital data are to be recorded on compact disk media went through several different iterations before the format was finalized. The first step was the creation of the original data format standard, called the "yellow book", by Philips and Sony in 1983. This specification was based on the original "red book" format that was the basis for CD digital audio disks.

    The "yellow book" specification was unfortunately general enough that it was feared that many different companies would implement proprietary data storage formats using this spec, resulting in many different incompatible data CDs. To try to prevent this, representatives of major manufacturers met at the High Sierra Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe, NV, in 1985, to come together on a common standard for data CDs. This format was nicknamed High Sierra Format. It was later modified slightly and adopted as ISO standard 9660.

    Today, the terms "yellow book", High Sierra and ISO 9660 are used somewhat interchangeably to refer to standard data CDs, although the most common name is simply: "CD-ROM". This isn't technically precise, but the important thing is that virtually all data CDs that are in use today are standardized and will work in all standard CD-ROM drives, which was the main objective of all of this, of course. We call this format simply "data CD" for simplicity.

    A specification is typically a company specific document which sets parameters for an item. An example of a specification would be geometric, electrical and other parameters for a specific device a specific manufacturer makes. However, a company (or other entity such as a government) may develop a specification for somethng such as a device or part which will be purchased. Thus, a specification may be developed for many companies as a requirement by one company (or a few companies) which is applicable to a device or part procuced by any company accepting a contract.

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