Reading through this answer got me thinking: Why hasn't a better format than the shapefile been widely adopted?
Shapefiles have (as I'm sure most of us have noticed) many annoying quirks, shortcomings and restrictions. I won't go through the trouble of finding every complaint that has ever been made about the format, but common complaints I see are:
- Multiple files are needed for each layer
- File name limitations
- Field-length limitations
- Tables are no longer editable in MS Excel
With these (and other) complaints in mind, what has prevented a "better" format from being widely adopted? Sure there are alternatives such as personal and file geodatabases, but these aren't as portable/shareable as shapefiles.