Since donkey and I can not agree on this subject, I wonder what you people think.
Does a browser produce information, or consume?
That is, if you use one browser, will you get different information than when you use another browser?
Or is it more like a tv? No matter what tv, you tune into the same channels/information.
Posted on 2004-05-20 20:09:15 by Scali
It's both.
Posted on 2004-05-20 21:33:36 by iblis


Posted on 2004-05-20 21:37:10 by bitRAKE
How can it be both?
Posted on 2004-05-21 03:11:24 by Scali
Afternoon, Scali.

<note: I took the liberty of adding the Both poll option>

After thinking about it a little I find I have to agree with iblis and Rickey.

When using the browser to look at typical webpages, then it's just being used to consume information. It just displays information onscreen like using a TV.

When you go to webpages inwhich you enter information that gets stored into a database, then you're using the browser to produce information.

When you go to a webpage which retrieves information from that database and displays it onscreen, then you're using the browser to consume information again.

This messageboard is an apt example of this.
When you come here and just view thread/ posts, you are consuming the information.
When you start a thread or post a reply then you're producing information.

I didn't relize this when you and Donkey were debating this subject earlier :tongue: .

Posted on 2004-05-21 05:48:35 by Scronty
I disagree on producing information with the browser, when you enter data in a form on a webpage (eg this forum).
The data was already there, as was the form (which is the same in any browser, right?). You use the browser as a medium again, to transport the information that was created elsewhere.

I mean, if I would have typed this message in any other browser than the one I'm currently using, you'd still be reading the exact same story.

The forum software decides both what information you can receive, and what information you can send (and in what form), not the browser.
So I still think the forum software is the producer.

I think it is different from eg using PhotoShop. It offers some filters, and you can modify your images with it. If you would take any other program, the filters might be different (or not available at all), and the result will not be exactly the same. So you cannot just replace PhotoShop with another program.
(If you were to use PhotoShop only to view images, then it would be a consumer, and then it would be replacable by any other program, assuming it supports the file format. Although with things like lossy compression, it gets rather complicated... Do all jpg decoders give you the EXACT same result? No. Then again, different browsers will render some pages slightly differently aswell. But I think the information is still the same, even if some pixels in an image are 1 pixel off, or if a browser renders a scrollbar with a different colour or so).

Also, I find it rather implicit that an information producer is also an information consumer. After all, most producers will allow you to see what you are producing, so you are consuming the information you just created.
So I think the 'both'-option is the same as the 'information producer' option then?
Posted on 2004-05-21 05:59:32 by Scali

Maybe you say that a broswer dont produce information... lets assume that is right and the one that produce the information is the database (including the functions that serve for save the dta in the database, suficient to be recognogized by the database and keep the internal cohesion of the representative data I mean if was text, then it will return text), the database hold the data that was sended trought internet and was recieved for the server and procesed (by a function on the server to the database) to be saved in the database right?, then this app (browser) is not a producer in your terms, because you can not modify the data in the database with the browser directly.

right? if that is right, then lets look at photoshop, photoshop offer filters and you can modify the images with it, when you modify data in your image, the app (photo..) call the function to save it read the data in memory and save to a disk that have a format (eg fat32), then the information is on the disck. This data was sended trought cables, help of a function, and stored in the disck and saved on a specific format, not only representable in the disck, but that represent internally the object, right?. Now when you whant, you can open you image (retrieve from disck) and modify it if you whant.

But what a!!!, that exactly what make a broswer, send data troguht x medium (cables in your PC or cables in internet), procesed by a function that in fact, maintain the "cohesion", and saved in a specific format lets say (mdb2.0 or fat32 or ntfs, or ext3), and when some body whant see the image, is retrieved from the store, is equal for retry because a disck have a fylesystem, and a database have a internall representation of data, in both cases the "cohesion" of the file is kiped, that is the data continue having the same properties when was saved (stored) (jpeg, string, date, object or data type or formatt.... etc...).

Before give the final point, maybe you are thinking that with the broswer can not modify the data in the database, if you understand what i am saying you will see that easely, photoshop cant modify the data in the disck.

With that we show that photoshop do exactly what a broswer do, that contradicts that photoshop is a producer/consumer, for only let it be a consumer, in al the way that a browser is and esactly equal.

oooo!!!!, a thing here is both are consumers or both are producer/consumer, because we see that in fact do the same operations and nobody of this to programms can really modify the data of a x store (drive or dtabase), both have access to data in memory, but not directly to the real store or final store, there are interfaces or procedures that both need follow for save in a store.

Maybe if you are ok to this point, you will see that I only say that photoshop can modify the data in the store, but wait a moment, that is false!! (like showed in all this reply), it can modify directly data in the memory, and the store are CreateFile, WriteFile and this are the interfaces that photoshop need use for save in the store, and by the other part the explorer to have a representation of a generic object in memory, this object have propierties, one of them are the forms, they are in memory, and they can be modificated, and sended with the compliments of the interface of internet to be saved in the store. That is, both are consumer/producers!!!!!, maybe you are thinking that in photoshop that "propierties" are not presented.... lets look, for x format of a image there are some operations that can be done, see a page, for certain types of pages there are operations that you can do or you can not do, for example in a page without forms you can not send data. In a file of only reading you can not save data. sure you can modify the flag for allow saving, the page can be modified for allow saving.

the point here is that x format give you the choice of do or not do certain operations.

I think that the name browser is not completely right ... maybe in the old times, when you can only access data, also the name explorer for a filesystem is not completely right, because it not only explorates, but give you the access for do certain operations for organize your data.

Maybe you are thinking that the explorer need help of others programms, that is right, they are used for simplify the writing of x data, supose that you whant draw a 3d object in photoshop, you can draw it, or you can get help of a 3dapp like 3dstudio or maya, and save a snapshoot and do the final operations with photoshop.

Conclusion, sure photoshop is a producer, but a browser is to a producer, with more or less access to modify data, but hey!!! look at what type of data we can have access in the internet... only text and some images :), there is not necesity for allow this application to have a more direct use of the data, also for security reasons, mean if a broswer is allowed completely to modify data elsewhere.... what will happend??? :)

also see that that point dont contradict that a browser is a producer, it only say that is a little producer, but in some cases, can produce information!!!

Have a nice day or night.
Posted on 2004-05-21 08:05:20 by rea
Oh, and I do not like adding options to my poll without consulting me first.
I wish the both and producer-options to be merged.
Posted on 2004-05-21 08:07:00 by Scali
Ofcourse a program doesn't modify the data on the disk directly. So it loads from disk, modifies in memory, stores back to disk. That's not the point. It still modifies it (or even generates it).
The point is that a browser cannot produce original work, unlike eg PhotoShop or AutoCAD or Word, or whatever. It requires external software (eg this forum) to store or retrieve information, and it cannot generate it or modify it.
Posted on 2004-05-21 08:09:56 by Scali

ok, yes I say that, the browser need help for store information, it uses other programm, this forum, the server, the database. There where developed for target some, serve for interfaces to a broswer for get data, now, php was in fact aimed at dynamic content, maybe it was first only retrieve data, now you can send data, like I say it continue having access to memory, it can modify what is in memory, certain objects like forms on that way it can use the store, and trust me or not, it create original content, with the use of interfacess, programms functions, like you whant.

Supose for a moment that photoshop dont have access to the interfacess of save data... it continue being a generator?, I think no, maybe you can say that maybe you can not save, like when you have a trial that only let you draw, but not save to the disck, the OS provide the interfaces for save the data, equal than MySQL with PHP provide the interface to let the browser save the data that was generated ny the broswer!!

Yes this letters, your answer, my answer is original content, generated by the browser, the save the interface is done with other tools, but what matter that they can save information or delete it, if there not exist a generator??.

A generator like you say, modify data access data, delete data, with the browser you can modify your post, retrieve a post, delete a post, you need see the whole picture of the broswer and the photoshop.

Maybe you are thinking that with photoshop you can modify any that you whant, ok, that is tru, but depend on the format and the operations that can be done in that format, for example try open a *.doc or *.txt can open it???, no, you can not open because there are certain operations that can be done with x format, there are other formats that dont let you do operations, is exactly equal with the browser, you can modify and create data with files that are *.PHP but they are other formats that will not allow you modify data, like html and others.

Have a nice day or night.
Posted on 2004-05-21 08:40:11 by rea
with the browser you can modify your post, retrieve a post, delete a post

I disagree. The browser basically "doesn't know anything" about these operations. It just does what the forum software tells it to.
This is very different from eg PhotoShop, where PhotoShop itself has the image in memory, provides the functions to edit it, and does all the loading/saving. It is not just a frontend for another application.
That is the point. The frontend is dispensable. i can use whichever browser I like to access this forum. Because the forum is not 'inside the browser'. But if I want to manipulate my pictures with PhotoShop, I need PhotoShop. There is a lot of information (layers and such, specific filters) that cannot be imported by other programs, and are specific to PhotoShop. Therefore, PhotoShop is not dispensable.

Is it really that hard to understand the difference between a browser and a content-producing application?
Adobe Acrobat Reader is more obvious perhaps?
It can read PDFs, and there are other programs that can read PDFs. But you need to create those PDFs elsewhere. Once they are created, the reader is just a way to get it on your screen (and it doesn't really matter which reader you take, the text and images will be the same). So it all depends on what application you create the PDFs with, not what application you view them with. It merely consumes.
Posted on 2004-05-21 09:16:06 by Scali
Afternoon, Scali.

But with Adobe Acrobat Reader you can only view the file. You cannot create content (text) and save it to pdf.

With a browser you can create content by typing in text and saving it to the database.

I see where you're coming from.
A browser can only function as a producer via external software 9(the database server on the website). It doesn't allow a user to produce content in itself.

What other applications have attributes simialr to this?
Perhaps MS Access could be counted as a consumer only? It has to work via external ODBC drivers. It's these external drivers which do the actual loading/ saving/ retieving of data - not MS Access.

Posted on 2004-05-21 09:58:13 by Scronty
Yes, the adobereader only reads ;)

It just does what the forum software tells it to

I am with that in some part and not in other, let me explain:

The browser do what the page say to do, the content, not the software, sure the data sended was first processed in the server, for retrieve from the database and format it.

But when the browser finally have the data it interpretate it, Maybe dont know that it can delete or edit, but can send messages, ie invoke a function remotely, the case with photoshop and others is that they invoke the functions in the actual PC, in fact, any application dont know what is he doing, normally the user is the one that know, and use it, then internally is called x function for do what the user whant.

Now when the user see edit, it use that button, provided by the browser (interpreted), then the browser invoke the function remotely and get a result, yes other page with other functions that can be called remotely and others that can be called locally, like the outstring or printstring that is used when I am writing this text and save the new text with "submith reply" called remotely.

In that way, any application do what other application do to say, if you brake in part the code of photoshop (and separate in functional parts), you will see that there is a function for open the file and check the type, with the result the next functions called for display and others will use the data preprossesed, in the case that was for example a jpg, this format dont have layers, but if you whant, you can access layers, then you see that the data was processed at read and then photoshop (or other functional part) interpretate the image and give you access to layers, also now you can save in the native format of photoshop. Probably you are questioning for what I say that?, is because a browser is a fragmented generator, with functional parts, some on the user-side and others in the server-side, yes the browser dont know what x button of a form will do certain operation, it only know that it can call a remote function (in fact it dont know, because send a stream), but can send the suficient information that let execute the function wanted.

Now taking that, maybe you are questioning that the ones that generate the content are PHP, Apache and MySQL, no, they are only a part, they only process what the browser sen.

Now like I question before, if photoshop or x content-producer lost is hability to save and retrieve data from a store is still a content-producer?, I think no.

For example, if you have options for save,and then will be called a process that will save the data for x format (that keep the cohesion of the data), for what they will serve if they dont recieve a stream for process, for nothing. That is the part of save the data.

Now in the part of modify data (because I think that you will understand that create a new file, require the action of the other part of the application, like open space in memory or disck, see what extension the data will have, for know what type of operations the app can do over the new data), for what will serve have a lot of blur, zoom, tile, insert strings in a part of the screen with the action of the mouse and menus, if this data can not be saved.

Like you see, there are at less for me, 2 requisites for an application be a content-generator:

1) can modify x object in memory by the application

2) can save or retrieve x object

maybe a third that I will put in 2

3) the retrieved x object can be reinterpreted by the application.

I will first "attack" photoshop with the 3 anterior points:

For 1. When a image object is displayed in the screen it can be modificated by the application with the use of commands (keypressed more fast, mouse, and commands in the menues). For 2, when the operations are ready (think the user terminate), it can save the data the the user with the command modified before (see that some of the functions that are called internally some refer itself to the application and others to the OS ). For 3 you can reopen x object if the object can be handled by the application.

For the browser:
For 1. The x object is only present in forms, in fact, for the moment the only data that you can modify in internet is text (dont mix with images), like the one that I am writing now, the browser use a textbox, like photoshop uses a devicecontext for paint. For 2 can save this text in a remote store, see that the save and retrieve x object is modularized and let to the server-part, but the browser know how can send the info or call indirectly the save or retry (also meani the broswer dont know what will do x button, is because is dinamyc content ;) ). For 3, when you hit the edit button in the explorer, it can reinterpret the data that you save before, and yes, modify it, and yes save it with the format that keep the coersion in the server side, for be displayed in the browser when needed.

For resume, I think 3 points are important for an application can be called content-generator, if the application relegate one of this 3 points to others instances, but can be called from the application itself, it continue being a content-generator, is only modularized, or break the problem in parts.

Also you know that photoshop dont do all the work, the is implied the OS, not only for save and retrieve, but for other things, paint, etc, equal that with the browser need of the OS, the itself app and a way of save, is only breaked in parts, see that save in other place is a diferent problem, but at the end, is the same objetive, save data.

Have a nice day or night.
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:07:24 by rea
With a browser you can create content by typing in text and saving it to the database.

Question is: how much of a role does the browser play in creating the content? It only offers a text field, in which you type plain text (or just copy-paste from notepad or so). And it only offers that field because the forum software told it to.
The text itself is ofcourse generated by the user, not by the browser.
I guess it's more obvious when you want to do eg bold text?
The browser cannot help you at all, you have to cram the codes in manually, and it just sends it to the forum as-is. The forum then generates the actual html from it, so the browser can display it. An information producer would allow you to just add the bold-attribute to the text in an easy way, without you having to create it manually.

Perhaps MS Access could be counted as a consumer only? It has to work via external ODBC drivers. It's these external drivers which do the actual loading/ saving/ retieving of data - not MS Access.

Yes, part of MS Access is being a database frontend... But then there's the part where you can write scripts and things, and interact with the database on a non-trivial level. That part is not consumer-only, I suppose. Access can actually do 'new stuff' with the information from the database. It is not just limited to displaying it as-is. Just as it is not just limited to sending user-input as-is to the database, but processing it first.
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:09:27 by Scali
People are just consumers of food. The fact that we produce anything is just a by product of the food consumption - without consuming food people would be nothing.
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:12:42 by bitRAKE
Now like I question before, if photoshop or x content-producer lost is hability to save and retrieve data from a store is still a content-producer?, I think no.

You can still produce content, even if you cannot save it.
And even if you cannot load images from disk, PhotoShop has plenty of filters and painting tools to generate images itself. So you are still able to produce content.

On the other hand, as demonstrated recently, if the forum database is down, no browser can access the forum. You cannot view, post, or edit messages in any way.
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:13:44 by Scali
An information producer would allow you to just add the bold-attribute to the text in an easy way, without you having to create it manually.

That can be done with the browser, equal than some editors use richedit dll in a modified way, there are some plug related, that can look almost like word, and let you do that, see yahoo composer for example, sure in this forum we dont have that, only you have a formater if you use the button "post reply"

Also sorry for the a lot of key-pressed in a extrange way, is because I am a fever patient and cant coordinate well :S

Have a nice day or night.
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:22:10 by rea
mm, for answer that, being you a user of photoshop in a whole way, eg for work payed, for what you will use the application if you cant save your generated content?

Also if a virus overwrite the Os functions OpenFile and CreateFile or there is a fault in soime of this functions, you will not be able of open or save any data, sure for that happend will pass much time, but can happend, with the database, was this error presented, maybe because the forum fill that Hiro crash ?? :)

Have a nice day or night.

Hey I use the edit....

Ok, I will explain you because what I say
If a content-producer lost his hability for save data it continues being a content-generator?. I say No.

For that I need make a parallel example:

You know that are people (I included, and maybe almost all included) that like dream.

There are people that with his dreams can do some, and they see is work in action, for example, I have a idea on how to use more eficentrly the light and they do the work and generate some, they are generators of change!.

But is true that there are people that dream, and have a lot of really wonderfull and impactandt dreams, but they dont do nothing for that, they dont workl, they in fact dont generate nothing!!!, they are only dreamers!!!!

If you understand that, then you will understand, that a content-generator that loses his capacity of save the generated work is not a generator any more.

Have a nice day or night for second time ;)
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:25:18 by rea
That can be done with the browser, equal than some editors use richedit dll in a modified way, there are some plug related

But there you go... plugins. Basically third party software. Applications in their own right. Java applets or ActiveX controls.
And with ActiveX controls, the joke is on you, because those are a specific feature of IE, and then you no longer have the information consumer idea, because this information is not generic. It is aimed at a particular application. And then you can possibly get the information-producer situation, where the browser is no longer dispensable, just like with other applications.
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:27:37 by Scali
Arguing whether something exists or not because you can not see it is useless.
You cannot see data either. So if you save it to disk and open the disk, how can you tell if it is actually on there? You can't see it.

But like dreams, they do exist.

Also, if you write a post to this forum, and your browser crashes just before you click the submit-button... Does that mean you never produced that post, because it was never stored on the forum? Then you have nothing to get angry about, after all, you never wrote the post in the first place? :)
Posted on 2004-05-21 10:45:26 by Scali