<operating system, storage> A single file containing flat ASCII
representing or encoding some structure, e.g. of a database
, tree, or network.
Flat files can be processed with general purpose tools (e.g. awk
) and text editors but are often less efficient than some kind of binary file
if they must be parsed repeatedly by a program.
Flat files are more portable between different operating systems and application programs than binary files, and are more easily transmitted in electronic mail
See also flatten