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Glossary of Terms

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ADSL
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. New technology to carry high speed data over ordinary phone lines. It is up o 70 times as fast as a 28.8 modem, and can be used concurrently with voice over the same line. It is gradually being offered to homes commercially now. It is called "asymmetric" because download speeds to the subscriber are faster than upload speeds from the subscriber.

animated GIF
A GIF graphic file, which consists of two or more images shown in a timed sequence to give the effect of motion.

applet
An application that is downloaded from a web page and executed by browser software. Also, an HTML tag that defines an applet program.

ASP
Active Server Pages or Application Service Provider

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bandwidth
Literally, the frequency width of a transmission channel in Hertz, kiloHertz, megaHertz, etc. Often used as an expression of the amount of data that can be sent through a circuit. The greater the bandwidth, the greater the amount of data that can travel in a given time period.

Banner ad
Also referred to as a banner ad, a banner is a typically rectangular advertisement placed on a Web site either above, below or on the sides of the Web site's main content and is linked to the advertiser's own Web site. In the early days of the Internet, banners were ads with text and graphic images. Today, with technologies such as Flash, banners have gotten much more complex and can be ads with text, animated graphics and sound. Most commerce-related Web sites use banner ads.

bookmark
Just as a paper bookmark is used as a reminder of the page you are on in a book, electronic bookmarks are used to bring you back to a website or other site you may want to return to. The Netscape browser lets you bookmark any site and save the bookmarks in a file you can recall at any time. Microsoft Internet Explorer uses the term "favorite" instead of bookmark for the same concept.

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Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Cascading Style Sheets is a technique built into version 4.0 and later browsers that support styles for pages. For example, you can set up styles for fonts and page layouts that will apply automatically to pages developed under a particular style you develop. This technique is useful, but the present version browsers from Netscape and Microsoft are quite different in their implementation, and what works with one is not likely to work for the other. For compatibility, care has to be taken to use common elements.

CGI
Common Gateway Interface. A method used by WWW pages to communicate with programs run on the web server.

chat
A form of real-time electronic communications where participants type what they want to say, and it is repeated on the screens of all other participants in the same chat. Internet Relay Chat or IRC is an Internet protocol for chat, and there are many other chat systems.

Cold Fusion
Software to build easily build Rich Internet Applications that integrate with databases, XML, web services, Macromedia Flash, and more. ColdFusion empowers developers with a productive scripting environment and integrated search and charting capabilities.

content
Generally, the information provided on a web page, as opposed to its design and layout. Content can take the form of text, graphics, audio, video, or a searchable database.

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database
A collection of data records. On web databases, records may consist of web pages, or graphics, or audio files, or newspaper files, or books, or movies, or press releases, or almost anything from very general to very specific areas of interest. Records may or may not be further broken into fields. Database records are usually indexed and come with a search interface to find records of interest.

domain name
Domain name addresses, together with IP addresses, are the two forms of Internet addresses in common use. Domain name addresses all end with a correct top-level domain. The top-level domains may be any of these:
  • com
  • net
  • pro
  • gov
  • org
  • int
  • mil
  • biz
  • edu
  • info
  • museum
  • name
  • aero
  • coop
  • a two-letter country code, such as ca, uk, or us
 
A complete domain address adds one or more terms to the left of the top-level domain, separated by dots. The top-level domain at the right is the most general; each term to the left is more specific.

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dot-com
Nickname for the many commercial businesses that have registered names in the .com domain.

download
To transfer a file from another system to your own computer system via a modem over telephone or cable lines or a telnet connection.

Director
Create rich interactive content that can be deployed anywhere. Macromedia Director is a powerful authoring environment for creating compelling interactive experiences that deliver results.

Dynamic HTML (DHTML)
A more powerful model for HTML that allows absolute control of positioning of elements on a page and more powerful control of events. It is supported by MSIE 4.0 and partially by Netscape 4.0.

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e-mail
Electronic mail. One of the earliest standard Internet protocols which enables people with different computers and operating systems to communicate with each other. E-mail allows one-to-one or one-to-many mailings. Mail is received and held by a mail server within an organization or by an Internet service provider until the addressee logs on to collect the mail. The Internet e-mail standards include no provision for authenticating the sender, which makes it possible for spammers to use false From addresses and routing.

extranet
A network that supplements a closed intranet by providing access to customers, suppliers, subcontractors, and others outside the organization who have a need for selective information from the organization. It is not accessible to the Internet at large.

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FAQ
Acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. FAQ files are collections of common questions and answers for a particular subject area. For example, see the Navigating the Net FAQ for general Internet and World Wide Web questions and answers and the Publishing on the Web FAQ for questions and answers on creating web pages.

Flash
A bandwidth friendly and browser independent vector-graphic animation technology. As long as different browsers are equipped with the necessary plug-ins, Flash animations will look the same. With Flash, users can draw their own animations or import other vector-based images.

FTP File Transfer Protocol
The Internet protocol that permits you to transfer files between your system and another system. You can use its command language from a shell account or various programs with SLIP or PPP accounts that simplify the process.

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GIF
Graphical Interchange Format. A bitmap graphical format originally developed for CompuServe that is widely used in WWW pages. It is particularly good for text art, cartoon art, poster art, and line drawings- -all types with solid colors and distinct lines or borders between different colors. GIF files use a .gif extension.

GUI
Graphical User Interface. Pronounced "gooey". An operating system interace between the user and the computer based on graphics. GUIs typically use a mouse or other tracking device and icons. First developed by XEROX as an easier to learn interface than text-based ones, it was adopted by Apple for the Macintosh, Microsoft for Windows, and even for unix systems as XWindows.

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home page
A home page is a web page. In most familiar terms, it is a personal page for an individual. It can also be the basic main page for a more complex web site for individuals, organizations, or web communities. On complex web sites, it is the page which a server will show when no HTML filename is listed, usually with the name index.html, home.html, or default.html or the same names with the shorter extension .htm.

HTML
HyperText Markup Language. The coding system used to create WWW pages. A page written in HTML is a text file that includes tags in angle brackets that control the fonts and type sizes, insertion of graphics, layout of tables and frames, paragraphing, calls to short runnable programs, and hypertext links to other pages. Files written in HTML generally use an .html or .htm extension.

http
HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is the main protocol used on the World Wide Web that enables linking to other web sites. Addressing to other web pages begins with "http://" and is followed by the domain name or IP address.

hyperlink
A link in a web page that brings you to another location or resource when activated. Hyperlinks usually appear as underlined text and printed in a contrasting color, but they may also appear as graphics, such as buttons to click. Hyperlinks may link to another place in the same page, to a different page, to play an audio or video file, to download a file, to set up a message to an e-mail address, to search a database, to read Usenet newsgroups, and to link to other Internet resources.

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Illustrator
A vector graphics program by Adobe.

Intranet
A network of networks that interconnects within a single widespread organization and uses the Internet Protocol (IP). The sites within an Intranet are generally closed to the Internet and are accessible to organization members only.

IP address
IP addresses, together with domain addresses are the two forms of Internet addresses in common use. IP addresses consist of four numbers between 0 and 255, separated by dots.

ISDN
Integrated Services Digital Network. A technology that carries data over phone lines at up to 128Kbps for dialup users, but extends to fast broadband communications, too. It applies to the first three layers of the OSI and TCP/IP models.

ISP
Internet Service Provider.

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Java
A programming language developed by Sun Microsystems based on C++. It is used with web pages to create applets that will run on different platforms.

JavaScript
A script language (with little in common with Java) developed by Netscape for writing short programs embedded in a web page. It is supported by Netscape from version 2.0 on and Microsoft and AOL browsers from version 4.0 on. MSIE 3.0 partially supports some features of JavaScript.

JPEG
Joint Photographic Experts Group, a graphical format that is widely used in WWW pages. It is particularly well suited to photographs and 3D or VRML images where there is a continuous range of colors or shades. It is a lossy format that can be reduced in file size by reducing the detail in the image. JPEG files use a .jpg or less commonly, .jpeg or .jpe extension.

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link
An active connection to another web page, location in a web page, file, or other Internet resource. Selecting the link takes you to the new location or resource.

meta
A prefix meaning "information about".

meta tag
In HTML or XML, a tag used in the header of a page to provide information about the page. There may be multiple meta tags in a header, each with different information. In current usage, each tag includes the name of the information and the content that supports that name. Commonly used meta tag names are author,description, keywords, date, and copyright.

modem
Short for modulator/demodulator. A modem is used between a computer and a phone or cable line to convert the computer's digital signal to an analog signal for the line and vice versa.

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page
(noun) A document displayed on the web. A page may consist of a single screen or multiple screens reached by scrolling down or to the right.

palette
The set of colors used in a picture or on a computer screen. Older computers typically used only 16 colors. Modern ones use at least 256 colors, which can be coded by 8 bits of information. With advanced color cards and monitors 65.5 thousand colors (16-bit) or 16 million colors (24-bit) are used. Different web browsers and computer platforms do not necessarily use identical palettes. There is a set of 216 colors that are considered browser and platform safe, which web page designers should use, if they want screens to look essentially the same on each computer that views them.

PDF
Adobe's Page Description Format. It is often used as a format which allows much more complete, controlled layout of a page and its graphics and text than conventional HTML does. It requires a browser plug-in to see a web page in PDF format. Files will usually have a .pdf extension. To create a page in PDF format, you need Adobe Acrobat (not the free Acrobat Reader) or other premium Adobe software.

pixel
One dot on a computer screen. Todays least expensive monitors typically are 640 pixels wide and 480 pixels high. Larger and more expensive monitors range up to 1600 x 1200 pixels and special purpose monitors may go much higher than that.

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Photoshop
A leading paint program from Adobe Systems, Inc. For many years, Photoshop (which includes Image Ready) has been the model against which other paint programs are compared. Fireworks is a similar program to Photoshop.

plug-in
A piece of software that plugs into a main program to give it added capability, for example, you can add a Quick Time plug-in to your browser to play Quick Time movies on the web.

port
  1. A connection to a computer to enable other devices, such as printers, modems, monitors, keyboards, mice, etc. to interface with the computer.
  2. A logical connection to a network. Different port numbers are used for different purposes, for example, HTTP usually uses port 80.

portal
A gateway or entrance to the web. In common usage it has come to describe a starting point page with a hierarchical, topical directory, a search window, and added features like news headlines and stock quotes.

Quick Time
Multimedia software from Apple Computer that integrates full-motion video and sound into application programs.

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search engine
A utility that will search the Internet, an Intranet, a site, or a database for terms that you select. Search engines on the web consist of four elements:
  1. A program that roams the area to be searched, collecting data records (typically, web pages) and links to more data. These are variously known as spiders, worms, crawlers, or other colorful names. Commercial databases, on the other hand, may collect data records in other ways, such as systematically entering the full text of newspapers or journals.
  2. A database or collection of records recovered by the spiders or other type of collector
  3. An index of the database collected to enable fast access to terms that you search for and their supporting records. Indexes may be enhanced by controlled vocabularies.
  4. A search interface--the form in which you enter your search terms and the software behind it that queries the index, retrieves matches, and ranks for relevance and organizes the data for follow-on searches.
Each of the major search engines differs in its approach to these four elements.

server
A computer in a network that provides access to other computers in the network to programs, web pages, data, or other files and services, such as printer access or communications access. A server may also authenticate requests for files and services before providing them.

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SMIL
Short for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, a new markup language being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that would enable Web developers to divide multimedia content into separate files and streams (audio, video, text, and images), send them to a user's computer individually, and then have them displayed together as if they were a single multimedia stream. The ability to separate out the static text and images should make the multimedia content much smaller so that it doesn't take as long to travel over the Internet.

SGML
Acronym for Standard Graphics Markup Language. It was adopted in 1986 as an international standard (ISO 8879) for the creation, management, storage, and delivery of information products. HTML and its possible successor, XML, are both subsets of SGML.

site
A host on the Internet which allows remote access by such protocols as http, ftp, telnet, or gopher. A site may consist of a single page or many pages under a common site name. Whether two addresses with a common site name are one site or more than one may vary depending on your point of view. For example, to some, all pages at the Internet Service Provider delphiforums.com might be considered one site. But an individual who has set up personal web pages at people.delphiforums.com will refer to his or her pages as "my web site."

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SMTP
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The protocol used to send mail between servers and to send mail from your client to a mail server. Your address to send mail using software like Eudora, Pegasus, or the mail clients in Netscape and MSIE will often begin with smtp. For Delphi, the address to send mail through is smtp.delphiforums.com.

spider
A software robot that serves a search engine by exploring the net, collecting web page addresses and page contents, and following links from them to other addresses to collect still more web information. Also known as a worm or crawler.

Sound Forge
A digital audio editor that includes a powerful set of audio processes, tools, and effects for recording and manipulating audio.

Splash page (or splash screen)
An initial Web site page used to capture the user's attention for a short time as a promotion or lead-in to the site home page or to tell the user what kind of browser and other software they need to view the site.

Sticky Sites
A site’s ability to keep visitors on the site once they have navigated there or encourage the visitor to return frequently (i.e., the visitors “stick” to the site).

The absolute best way to get people to return to your web site time and again is to include the best content possible, and to update that content often and regularly. There literally is no better lure than new articles, graphics, photos or downloads.
Why is this true? Generally people surf the net to get information. The internet is used as a research tool, a library, a phone book, and any number of other similar things.

streaming audio, streaming video
Technologies which permit listening and watching continuously as the signal is transferred to your system from a remote web site. It requires a high degree of compression to transfer audio or video (or both) at 28.8 Kbps or 14.4 Kbps speeds and still retain quality music and non-jerky video. If stereo sound is desired, there is a trade-off in the sound quality. These technologies are continually improving and the sound and video sampling and compression techniques are getting better. Faster connection speeds are needed to improve quality substantially, and the speed must be maintained over the entire path between the transmitting and receiving systems. The systems generally use a few seconds buffering, but signal slowdowns or interruptions longer than that break the flow.

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tag
In reference to web pages, a tag is an HTML command used in laying out a web page and providing links to resources.

TCP/IP
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The protocols that are the basis for transmitting and routing data packets on the Internet. The Internet Protocol is the one thing that all current Internet sites have in common.

upload
To transfer a file from your computer system to another system via a modem over telephone or cable lines or a telnet connection. Less precisely, it may also refer to a direct transfer from your local terminal to a server over a local area network or an FTP transfer from your system to a remote system.

URL
Uniform Resource Locator. URLs specify the location of a resource in the Internet. You can type or paste a URL into the Location window in your browser and then connect to it. The URL shows the type of item and its basic address and path. The major types are http, gopher, ftp, telnet, newsgroups, news articles, and files, which may be programs, text, graphics, audio, video, etc.

Usenet Newsgroups
Usenet Newsgroups are discussion groups about a topic that is reflected in their titles, such as comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.adventure or sci.astro.hubble. Many of the newsgroups have worldwide distribution, and their followers post messages, properly called "articles", for all to read and respond to. The "Usenet" part of the title refers to their distribution via the unix to unix network. Strictly speaking, newsgroups are a Usenet, not an Internet protocol, but they are widely picked up by Internet providers.

There are eight major primary series of newsgroups: comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc, and talk. Newsgroups in the eight primary series are only created after a formal approval process, which includes formal discussion and voting. In addition, there are less formal alternative newsgroups with the alt series the primary one, and many others with a regional or local focus such as the nyc series or the uk series or topics with limited distribution and purpose like k12 or fedreg. To participate in newsgroups, you should learn the purpose and the norms of the newsgroup before posting any articles of your own. A good rule of thumb is to read for two weeks before posting, and then follow the norms. Many newsgroups post a FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions file about once a month, which you should look at before posting for the first time.

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vector graphics
In mathematics and physics, a vector is a line which has a defined starting point, a designated direction and a specified distance. Vector graphics are line-based graphics. In vector graphics, vectors determine how straight and curved lines (Beziers or splines) are shaped between specific points. The lines and the colors of areas enclosed by the lines make up the picture. Microsoft SYLK is an example of a pure vector format. More commonly used are bitmap files and hybrids of vector and bitmap known as metafiles.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A private network within a public network, usually on the Internet. Privacy for the virtual network is achieved through encryption and provides a less expensive option than using dedicated lines.

VRML
Virtual Reality Modelling Language. A graphical system that creates views of 3-dimensional images that change as the viewer's angle and position changes and light sources change. It can be used to create an environment or world that appears realistic as you "move" through it. It is widely used for games and for educational applications. The technology is very young and growing fast. It requires a fast computer and fast video support with lots of memory to be effective.

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WAN
Wide Area Network.

Web ring
A Web ring (or Webring) is a way of interlinking related Web sites so that you can visit each site one after the other, eventually (if you keep going) returning to the first Web site. Typically, users can also elect to go backwards through the ring of sites, skip a certain number at a time, visit sites randomly, or see a list of all the sites on the ring. A ring is managed from one site which includes a common gateway interface (CGI) application that can select random sites and bypass sites that have dropped out or aren't reachable.

Web Hosting
The World Wide Web (WWW), a web of worldwide servers connected to the Internet, provides an easily used and understood method of accessing electronic content. Accessing information requires data communication between a Web-browser client and a Web-server application. Web hosting, then, is a means of hosting the Web-server application on a computer system through which electronic content on the Internet is readily available to any Web-browser client.

World Wide Web (WWW)
The World Wide Web is an Internet protocol that makes use of the HTML, hypertext, and hypermedia to create pages with links to other pages. WWW pages can include graphics, audio, and video as well as text.

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WYSIWYG
Acronym for "What You See Is What You Get". The term applies to word processors and web page development software where you manipulate text and images directly without writing codes (such as HTML or dot codes) for each attribute. An example of this type of software is Dreamweaver by Macromedia.

XML
Acronym for eXtensible Markup Language. A richer subset of SGML than HTML. It is a next step in the evolution of web data formats beyond HTML.

zip
A method of file compression originally used with MSDOS and a file extension for files which are zip compressed.

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