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From the Wikipedia entry on Swing (Java):

Conceptually, this view of the layout management is quite similar to that which informs the rendering of HTML content in browsers, and addresses the same set of concerns that motivated the former.

There are a few points I can't understand:

  1. What does "informs" mean here?
  2. I don't understand "address the same set of concerns that motivated the former."
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closed as general reference by MετάEd, Matt E. Эллен, Cameron, kiamlaluno, tchrist Sep 4 '12 at 1:51

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Have you looked inform up in a dictionary? I don't understand why you don't understand the sentence. – Matt E. Эллен Aug 29 '12 at 8:22
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Look at definition 2 from the American Heritage Dictionary of inform, reproduced here. Swing's view of layout management is similar to the view with which HTML rendering by browsers is imbued.

I think "former" is being used in the chronological sense here, in that browser HTML rendering pre-dates Swing. That is, the layout management view of Swing and the layout management view of browser HTML rendering were both motivated by the same set of concerns.

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Sorry, I still can't understand this, but I think your answer has some reasons, Thank you! – jasonjifly Aug 24 '12 at 6:42

The relevant sense of verb inform is “To give form or character to; to inspire (with a given quality); to affect, influence (with a pervading principle, idea etc.)”.

Your question about what “former” refers to is difficult to answer because the sentence in the wikipedia article is unclear. It might refer to browsers, or to the Java GUI toolkit mentioned in the sentence before the one you quote; but it seems most probable to me that it refers to relative layouts, mentioned in the first sentence of the paragraph, and apparently the main subject of the whole paragraph:

... Swing favors relative layouts (which specify the positional relationships between components) as opposed to absolute layouts (which specify the exact location and size of components).

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Thanks for your patience, I'll try hard to understand it. – jasonjifly Aug 24 '12 at 6:44

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