Refresh vs. Update

Subject: Refresh vs. Update
From: Daniel Strychalski <dski -at- CAMEONET -dot- CAMEO -dot- COM -dot- TW>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 03:01:58 +0800

The thread on refresh vs. update seems to have faded away before we explored it
fully (I almost wrote "before we reached a conclusion," but that would be too
much to ask).

There are at least four situations where a function of this sort is necessary:

- A graphics program leaves marks on the screen when overlapping forms are
edited. This is common in vector graphics (a.k.a. drawing) programs.

- A graphics program defers, er, uh, changing the display when the operator
starts shifting the viewing area. This is a way to reduce waiting time.

- A program can be run via a modem connection, and static in the line can
result in garbage on the screen, so the screen must be completely re-sent.

- A terminal displaying information that is held at a remote site does not
automatically receive changes made at that site.

Does anybody think a single, easily understood word can be found to cover all
these situations? It's hard enough to think of a word to cover the first two,
and you can be sure the programmers will create just one function that both
unclutters the screen (there's a good one) and completes a scrolling operation.

For the first three situations, MS-DOS and Unix programmers seem to prefer
Redraw or Redraw Screen (Heavens! Two words!). Lynx has "Refresh the screen"
for its re-send function. (Some people say that's a misuse of "refresh"; while
words *can* do double duty, "refresh" here does seem less than ideal.)

It's hard to find an example of a command for getting an update from a remote
site. Something like Verify, Get Latest or Recheck might be good.

The paucity of suggestions for this one is surprising. We got Refresh, Update,
Redraw, Get Changes and Repaint (some with "screen" added), and that's it.
Perhaps we are too bound by convention, or we are convinced there is just one
correct term and we are afraid to use anything that might mark us as ignorant.

Here's a thought: the moment you find variation in usage among technical people
(as in the Unix programs mentioned above) you should feel free to invent. Give
all precedents due consideration, of course, but don't be constrained by them.

Sometimes, to get a little latitude, you have to show engineers that usage
varies in their own crowd. Sometimes you don't even have to do that; just ask,
and you might hear the magic words (this is a real quote, folks): "You're the
writer; you're the one with imagination, unlike us robotic types. You come up
with something."

So (and please don't take all of these seriously): Redisplay, Unclutter, Adjust
Screen, Clean Up, Tidy Up, Fix Up, Remove Junk, Neaten, Renew Display, Rebuild
Display, Regenerate Display, Confirm, Fix View, Re-scan, Check Info, Diddle
Screen, Restore Screen....

Ah, how refreshing! Dan Strychalski dski -at- cameonet -dot- cameo -dot- com -dot- tw


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