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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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Cristóbal Palmer <[log in to unmask]>
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Cristóbal Palmer <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 08:56:02 -0400
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On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 8:01 PM, Nicole Maron <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I'd say that exporting/importing generally refers to a change in file format
> from/to an application, or the movement of data in or out of an application
> for the purposes of manipulation in some other way. I.E., you export your
> contact list from your webmail into a .csv file so you can import it into
> your mail application.
> Uploading/downloading implies that the thing remains a discrete object in
> its original form. E.g. you download an add-on to be used as intended, or yu
> upload an image to be viewed by others in it's original form

When we're talking about client-server applications (generally
web-based applications) you're totally right, but unfortunately it
doesn't make much sense to talk about download/upload in the case of
the combination of a notebook computer and peripheral device, eg. a
camera and a laptop. Which one is down and which is up when you're the
photo management software on the laptop? You've taken a bunch of
photos while on vacation and now you want to _________ them to your

Personally I've seen "import" in that context too many times to answer
"download" and have it feel right.

Again, I think in the context of client-server applications you're
right. A button that will cause an already-existing file to move from
a server to a client should be labeled "download" while a button that
causes a file to be generated dynamically and then given to the client
should be labeled "export".

Cristóbal M. Palmer
"Small acts of humanity amid the chaos of inhumanity provide hope. But
small acts are insufficient."
 -- Paul Rusesabagina