language question - need some advice

ozzieonline

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Dec 20, 2012
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Hi guys,

English is not my native language and I could use some advice of someone who's native language is English.

When I want to save something to a file, then how do I call this "something" I want to save? For example, this "something" could be configuration settings, but also a HTML page or a news article. Actually it could be anything.

I have this function:

PHP:
public function save($data, $file) {

}
As you can see I call this "something" I mentioned before "data", but I was having a discussion with someone else (also not a native English speaker) who said "data" means raw data, like parameters, settings and numbers. The kind of information one would store in a database. So if I would try to save for example a news article, the word "data" would be incorrect. According to this person "contents" would be a better option. However, to me it sounds strange to save "contents". I understand that one could retrieve the contents of a file, but saving contents to a file sounds awkward to me.

I was hoping someone who's native language is English could give me some advice. Is "data" correct, or should it be "contents"? Or is there maybe an alternative? Any help is highly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

ozzieonline

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Dec 20, 2012
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My question in short:

What is the general term for information (like text or settings) that you store in a file. How do you call this information. Data, contents?
 

cPanelMichael

Administrator
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Apr 11, 2011
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Hello :)

File "contents" is more widely accepted in my opinion, but I don't believe there is an official correct or incorrect way of stating this. Personally, I use "contents" when referring to text/code within a file.

Thank you.
 

ozzieonline

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Dec 20, 2012
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Thanks for your reply Michael. And do you agree or disagree that there is a difference between the use of data versus contents? In your opinion, what does "data" mean?
 

cPanelMichael

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Apr 11, 2011
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Thanks for your reply Michael. And do you agree or disagree that there is a difference between the use of data versus contents? In your opinion, what does "data" mean?
Yes, I am more inclined to agree with the assessment from the other person you referenced in your original post who stated the term "data" is more commonly used for information stored in a database.

Thank you.
 

ozzieonline

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Dec 20, 2012
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Oke, thanks.

In the meanwhile I did some searching on a few search engines.

I compared this search-string:

"save the contents to a file"

to this one:

"save data to a file"

This last one results in more hits. So it seems to be more common after all... ??
 

cPanelMichael

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 11, 2011
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As mentioned, I don't believe there is an official correct or incorrect way of stating this. It's more of a personal preference.

Thank you.