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> Worse, the "data dictionary" fad was heavily in force
> in those days and even the vaguely meaningful "LYNR" was being
> replaced by indecipherable crud like "A0942B"...
I'm surprised at this perception. My recollection is that when data
dictionaries were popular, everyone knew they had to call it
"LAST_YEARS_NET_REVENUE" rather than every programmer making up their own
cryptic abbreviation; what's more, every screen that it appeared on used the
same validation rules. I've always felt that the data dictionary was one of
the good ideas of the 1980s that we've lost. An XML Schema is a partial
substitute, but a very poor one.
Perhaps it's another European idea that never really caught on in the
States. Certainly, it was the advent of the RDBMS that caused its demise.