For an individual Shot, what's the difference between "Publishes" and "Files"

They both allow you to link viewable media to a shot. What’s the conceptual difference?
I can see the items under “Publishes” represented in the API, but not linked “Files”

Perhaps the main difference is that Publishes are versioned.
Files are usually “miscellaneous” files, assets from the client, etc.
Publishes are scenes, geometric caches, and so on, being worked on.
Does this distinction make sense?

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Does this distinction make sense?

It does indeed. Thank you!

The fact that “Files” (as best as I can tell) are not exposed to the API suggests ShotGrid doesn’t yet consider the feature to be a serious part of the workflow. Whereas “Publishes” are considered essential.