Definition, specification and resources to support ISO/IEC 11404:1996 “Information technology — Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces — Language-independent datatypes”.
In the most current revision of the year 2007 this standard is named differently, namely: information technology — General-Purpose Datatypes (GPD).
Now it is mostly used to comprehend how to describe interfaces to existing libraries in a language which could be understood by a person working in any programming language without specifying. ISO/IEC 11404 provides a way of general description of logics and semantics of a library which could be easily «translated» into more specific language such as C or Fortran. That is beause it gives description of a big range of datatypes organized in a very particular way where clear logic connections could be seen.
ISO/IEC 11404 specifies non-primitive datatypes (those which are partly or fully defined with help of other datatypes) as well as primitive ones (ad initio).
The standard observes three classifications of datatypes:
- the conceptual (abstract) notion of datatype – characterizes the datatype by its nominal properties and values;
- the structural notion of datatype – characterizes the datatype as a structure organized in a certain way with certain functionalities and it could be observed as a concept;
- the implementation notion of a datatype – gives definition to the datatype through the rules of its representation and the environment around it.
Important: ISO/IEC 11404 does not define all the existing variety of the atomic datatypes – it gives information about the most common ones for the freguently used software interfaces and programming languages nowadays.
It also is not the source where you have to search for precise instructions “how-to-map-this-certain-thing”; but it gives the understanding of the general principle and logics of mapping.