Rick et al,
My Prentice-Hall Dictionary of Computing says (1998, p.627):
Clearly defined and agreed-upon conventions for programming
intefaces. Standards may be (bullets mine)
- proprietary (used only within the environment provided by a single
- public (widely used across a variety of vendor equipment), or
- formal (developed by a standards organization such as ANSI or ISO)."
This is not the greatest definition, but it's the best I can find
just now in the literature, and it'll do.
Obviously Ada is both formal and public, and Visual Basic is
proprietary (at least if we take 'single computer vendor' to mean
'the Wintel family').
Rick, let's avoid confusion. I'll agree to use the terms "formal standard"
or "public standard" if you'll agree -- at least in Ada circles -- to
preface your references to Microsoft standards with "proprietary". That
qualification will resolve the overloading of the term "standard",
and will make clear that Microsoft fans understand fully that
Microsoft's use of the term is very different from (say) Ada's.