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B*-tree An indexing structure used by the ORACLE Server to create and store indexes. The structure is named after the indexing algorithm used.

back up (verb) The creation of a copy (or copies) of existing data, to enable recovery of that data subsequently required.

backbone network A usually high-capacity network that links smaller and/or slower networks.

background element The white part of a pattern. You apply color to the background element using the Background Color palette.

background menu A menu of frequently used commands that can be accessed from any part of a menu module.

background process A non-interactive process that runs in an operating system environment and performs some service or action. Certain Oracle products use background processes for different tasks, such as performing and coordinating tasks on behalf of concurrent users of the database, processing and delivering electronic messages, and managing printing services.

background virtual machines Up to five virtual machines are required to run a multi-user ORACLE system. They require no mini disks of their own, but come up attached to the base disk. The following background machines are used under VM: ARCH, DBWR, LGWR, PMON and SMON, NMST, RECO, CKPT, and SNPx.

backup (noun) The result of backup activity.

Banyan Vines (1) A networking operating system produced by Banyan, Inc. (2) The communications protocol native to a Banyan LAN.

base table block A block that is based on a particular table in the database.

base table item An item that corresponds to a column in the base table of the block that owns the item.

Base Table Usage A detailed table usage used by CASE*Generator to specify the base table details of a block on a generated form or a group on a generated report.

baseline value The value used as the starting point for plotting fields on the continuous axis of a chart.

batch Users specify a query to run in batch if they do not want to stop work to wait for the results. The computer decides when to run the query. Users can go back and look at the results of the query later.

Batch The executable that executes a display in batch mode, without using a windowing system.

baud A unit of signalling speed equal to the number of discrete conditions or signal events per second. In asynchronous transmission, the unit of modulation rate corresponding to one unit interval per second.

baud rate The transmission rate that is in effect synonymous with signal events, usually bits per second.

bind phase A phase of SQL statement processing during which all bind variables in the parsed SQL statement are given a value to use during statement execution.

bind reference A reference to a parameter used to replace a single literal value (e.g., a character string, number, or date) appearing anywhere in a PL/SQL construct or a SQL SELECT statement. For a bind reference, you must precede the parameter name with a colon (:).

bind variable A variable in a SQL statement that must be replaced with a valid value, or the address of a value, in order for the statement to successfully execute.

BISYNC Binary Synchronous Communications (BSC). A general purpose SNA protocol for use with a variety of IBM products (including the 3270 family), that communicates over a synchronous line operated in half-duplex mode (only one side at a time can transmit). Data characters are gathered in a package that is marked by two (bi)synchronization bits. BISYNC is one of two commonly used methods of encoding data for transmission between computer systems. The other more modern protocol is SDLC.

bit The smallest unit of data. A bit only has two possible values, 0 or 1. Bits can be combined into groups of eight called bytes; each byte represents a single character of data. See also byte.

bit location table A table that contains an index showing the documents that contain occurrences of words that may be used for text retrieval purposes.

bit string A string of binary bits each of which represents a separate document in the text table. Each bit string is used to indicate the documents that contain occurrences of an indexed word.

bitmap Definition of a physical bit image in terms of a coordinate plane. A bitmap has a height, width, and vertical and horizontal resolution.

block (1) The basic unit of physical or logical storage. The size of an ORACLE block may differ from the block size native to the operating system. Typical ORACLE block size is 2048 bytes. The terms page and block are often used synonymously. (2) In PL/SQL, a group of SQL and PL/SQL commands related to each other through procedural logic. (3) In SQL*Forms, a group of functionally related interface items in a form. A block may or may not correspond to a table or view. When a block does correspond to a table, items in the block map directly to columns in the base table. See also control block.

block menu A list of block names or descriptions displayed when the operator presses the [Block Menu] key.

block synchronization A technique used, when designing SQL*Forms applications, to display consistent data to the user by linking queries across the blocks of the screen. This feature can be implemented in many ways, but the main consideration given is to how the form is most often used.

block-mode terminal A display device (like the IBM 3270 terminal) that transmits and receives data a field or more at a time instead of a character at a time. See also synchronous terminal and contrast with asynchronous terminal.

body A report region that contains the bulk of the report (text, graphics, data, and computations).

boilerplate Text and/or graphics that appear in a report every time it is run. In some products this is called "constant" text or graphics.

Boolean operators Used in search statements to combine search terms. Usual operators are AND, OR, and NOT.

bootstrap segment In the ORACLE V6 database, a small segment used during database creation to help create certain initial database structures, such as the data dictionary.

bounding box In a text string, a rectangle described by four points such that every pixel in the string is contained in that rectangle and each side of the rectangle is either perpendicular to or parallel to the baseline of the text string. See also inner bounding box and outer bounding box.

break (1) An event, such as a change in the value of an expression, that may occur while SQL*Plus processes a query or report. You can direct SQL*Plus to perform various operations, such as printing subtotals, whenever specified breaks occur. (2) An Oracle Data Browser option from the Fields menu, which allows you to suppress duplicate field values in the Results Window, and sort the data in your query by values for the specified break field(s). You can also direct Oracle Data Browser to perform various summary operations, such as calculating an average, whenever specified breaks occur. See also break field.

break column (1) A column, assigned to a break group, whose value repeats several times while columns related to that column change. (2) In SQL*Plus, a column in a report that causes a break when its value changes and for which the user has defined break operations.

break field A column in an Oracle Data Browser query in which you specify a break when its value changes. See also break.

break group A group containing one or more break columns.

break hierarchy The order in which SQL*Plus checks for the occurrence of breaks and triggers the corresponding break operations.

break order Indicates the order in which to display a break column's data. Valid options are Ascending and Descending.

break report (1) A report that divides rows of a table into "sets," based on a common value in the break column. (2) In SQL*ReportWriter, a report that consists of more than one group, where the groups are placed side by side. This is also known as an outline report.

break total A total of values in a number column in the ResultsWindow, taken over a group of rows that have the same value in a break field. See also break and break field.

breaking (on a predetermined character) Use of a character (or characters) to delimit text at word, sentence, paragraph, page or document level. See also lexical rules.

bridge A hardware device that moves data packets from one network to another. Bridges function at the data link layer of the OSI Reference Model and thus do not provide protocol translations when forwarding data across networks. They are usually used to combine LANs over wide areas, although they can be used to connect physically dissimilar LANs. See also gateway, repeater, router.

broader term A term that represents a more general definition of another term. A thesaurus operator that allows the tracking of broader terms. Using broader term and narrower term operators, a thesaurus can establish a definition hierarchy. See also narrower term.

browse on index Ability to search the index of a text database for specific words or look through the entire index.

Browser The window in which you can view and scroll through a report's output online.


buffer (1) A temporary storage area for data during the transfer of that data between the computer and a peripheral, or between parts of a computer. A buffer prevents loss of information due to differences in the speed or timing of the transfer and speeds up certain functions. (2) (database) Temporary storage place in the SGA for database blocks currently being accessed and changed by database users. Each block undergoing change must be stored in a buffer. By caching blocks in memory, performance is enhanced (because reading blocks from memory is faster than reading them from disk). (3) (redo log) Temporary storage place where redo log records are created and held before being written to the redo log file. (4) In SQL*Net, an area of memory used by the network driver to pass data between two points on the network. (5) In SQL*Plus, an area where the user's SQL statements or PL/SQL blocks are temporarily stored. The SQL buffer is the default buffer although multiple buffers can be used.

built-in A predefined PL/SQL procedure, function, or trigger that is provided by SQL*Forms. Each built-in executes a SQL*Forms event, such as clearing a text item or executing a query. Contrast with user-named.

Built-in Editor The text editor that SQL*Forms provides at runtime. Contrast with system editor.

built-ins A collection of extensions to the PL/SQL language that are designed to be used with Oracle Graphics. Built-ins include datatypes, procedures, functions, exceptions, and constants.

bus topology (1) A LAN topology in which devices are connected to a single cable. Contrast with ring and star. (2) One or more conductors used as a path over which information is sent from one of many sources to one of many destinations.

business An enterprise, in either the private or public sector, concerned with providing products and/or services to satisfy customer requirements; for example, a car manufacturer or an organization providing health care.

business aim A statement of business intent that may be measured subjectively; for example, to improve quality or to develop a sustainable level of growth. See also business objective.

business constraint Any external, management or other factor that restricts a business or system development in terms of resource availability, dependencies, time scales, or some other factor.

business function What a business does or needs to do, irrespective of how it does it. See also elementary business function.

business location A uniquely identifiable geographic location from which one or more business units may be wholly or partly operating.

business model A collection of models representing a definition of a business. Components include models of objectives, functions, and information. See also entity relationship diagram and function hierarchy.

business objective A statement of business intent that may be quantifiable. Aims and objectives are similar concepts but the achievement of an objective is measurable in some specific manner; for example, to increase profit by 1% during the next financial year.

business priority A statement of an important business need or requirement within an ordered list.

business system life cycle The structured approach used in CASE*Method for the task of developing a business system. The seven major stages are strategy, analysis, design, build, documentation, transition and production. (Also called the development life cycle.)

business unit Part of an organization which is treated for any purpose as a separate unit within the parent organization; for example, a department.

button (1) A rectangular or square graphical interface element that, when selected initiates some action. ( 2) An Oracle Graphics object that has a PL/SQL button procedure associated with it. When the object receives a mouse event (e. g., a mouse click), the procedure is run.

byte A group of eight sequential bits that represents a letter, number, or symbol (i.e., character). Treated as a unit of data by a computer.

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