We avoid using technical jargon wherever possible. However, on occasion we do need to refer to a technical term or concept rather than spelling every last detail out. For that reason (and to assist you with other sites that might be too lazy to provide this information) we have included below a glossary of the terms you may well come across in connection to the internet:
- Accessibility is aimed at removing barriers which prevent individuals suffering from any form of disability from using a website.
- A programming interface (API) that allows web browsers to download and execute Windows programs. (Also see: Plug-In)
- An open source web browser from W3C.
- An open source web server typically for Unix, Linux and Solaris platforms.
- API (Application Programming Interface)
- An interface for letting one program communicate with another program. Typically an interface for allowing web browsers or web servers communicate with other programs.
- ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
- A set of 128 alphanumeric and special control characters used for computer storing and printing of text. Often used as ASCII art - using characters from the set to form pictures. Simple examples include "smileys" such as :)
- A measure for the speed (in terms of data) that you can send through an Internet connection. The greater the bandwidth, the faster the connection.
- Otherwise known as a "favorite" this is a shortcut to store links to websites or pages you might wish to visit again at a later date.
- A browser it the program you use to view the internet. Examples include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari.
- C, C++ (C plus plus), and C# (C sharp)
- Advanced programming languages used for producing complex applications.
- A feature of web browsers and server which stores copies of web pages (or components such as images) on a computer's hard disk for faster retrieval.
- Case Sensitive
- A term used to describe whether it is of importance to use upper or lower case letters.
- Click-through Rate
- The number of clicks received for a hyperlink (often an advertisement) on a page, represented as a percentage of the number of times the page has been displayed.
- Used here as a "web client" this refers to a software program used to access web pages. Often the same thing as a Web Browser, but is a broader term that can include other programs.
- A method of reducing the size of web documents and graphics for faster delivery via the web.
- Typically legitimate information from a web server, stored on your computer by your web browser in a small file. Cookies provide information about your visit to the website for use by the server during a later visit.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
- The W3C standard for defining style (such as font, size, color etc.) for web documents.
- DHTML (Dynamic HTML)
- A term commonly to describe HTML content that can change dynamically.
- Dial-up Connection
- A connection to Internet via telephone and modem. This is in decline with the ever increasing availability of broadband but still exists…designers who forget this can seriously damage your web presence!
- Domain Name
- The name that identifies a website (e.g. simiusweb.com)
- DNS (Domain Name Service)
- A computer program run on a web server that translates domain names into IP addresses. (Also see: IP address)
- DTD (Document Type Definition)
- A set of rules or language for defining the allowed building blocks of a web document such as HTML or XML.
- DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
- An Internet connection over regular telephone lines, but using much faster technology then dial-up. Speeds may vary greatly from one connection to another and even over time.
- This involves the conversion of data from its original form one which can only be read by someone capable of reversing the encryption. The purpose of encryption is to prevent unauthorized reading of the data. Encryption is essential (not to mention a legal requirement) for both storage and transmission of personal data.
- A common type of local area network.
- A private network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity, and a telecommunication system to securely share information/operations with suppliers, vendors, partners, customers and other businesses. It inherits many of the properties of Internet site and an Intranet. (Also see: Intranet/Internet)
- A piece of software/hardware that acts as a security barrier restricting types of network communication, most typically between an individual computer (or local network) and the Internet.
- A relatively new browser yet already immensely popular.
- Vector-based multimedia format developed by Macromedia often used for simple animation or interactive web features.
- A user based feature of some websites with the aim of discussing any manner or subjects.
- These are often used to display content from different web pages. These are greatly depreciated in terms of todays technology and in the majority of cases where they are used the end result lacks a great deal of accessibility and typically suffers poor usability too.
- Web development software for Windows developed by Microsoft. The output from this software truly lacks any kind of professionalism and it is not used by any serious web professionals.
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
- A common method for sending files between two computers, most often between a PC and a server.
- GB (Gigabyte)
- A measurement of data size. 1GB = 1024 megabytes.
- GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
- Developed by CompuServe the GIF is of the most common image formats on the Internet. (Also see: JPEG and PNG)
- The number of times a web object (page, picture or other element) has been viewed or downloaded. Commonly mistaken for page impressions when organisations analyse their web statistics.
- Every website needs to "live" somewhere and this is the role of a host. Hosting specialists provide server space and support for people to house their websites on. Many also offer DNS hosting too. (Also see DNS)
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
- HTML is the language of the web despite all the websites you will find that deliver 100% of their content via Flash. HTML is a set of tags that are used to define the content of web documents. Web browsers combine these tags along with the CSS to define how to display the text. (Also see: CSS)
- HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol)
- The standard protocols for sending text files across the Internet. It requires an HTTP client program (e.g. a browser) at one end, and an HTTP server program at the other end.
- ICRA (Internet Content Rating Association)
- Formerly the Internet Content Rating Association this is now part of the Family Online Safety Institute. ICRA is a simple labelling system that allows web-masters to identify the type of content on their site so that parental controls/internet filters operate upon.
- Internet Explorer
- A most commonly used browser, developed by Microsoft.
- A private Internet, running inside a LAN (Local Area Network) inaccessible to the outside world.
- IP address (Internet Protocol Address)
- A unique number identifying every computer on the Internet (e.g. 220.127.116.11)
- ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
- A telecommunication standard that uses digital transmission to support data communications over regular telephone lines.
- ISP (Internet Service Provider)
- A company providing access to the Internet.
- A scripting language that allows client side (based in your browser) functionality to be built into websites. Often used in conjunction with a server-side equivalent - the client-side is faster but the server-side is often more stable.
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)
- Is the organization that promotes the JPG and JPEG graphic formats for storing compressed images. (Also see: GIF and PNG)
- K, kB, or Kilobyte
- A measure of data size. Common measurement used for web files when optimising your website.
- LAN (Local Area Network)
- A network between computers in a local area (e.g. inside a building), usually connected via physical cables. See also WAN.
- Liquid design
- A design that is described as "liquid" is one that re-flows according to the amount of screen space the user has. This can be influenced by screen size, resolution, whether the user has the window (typically the browser) maximised and if they are using any sidebars. A liquid design maximised the use of any users screen…this is in stark contract to those sites you will see that state something along the lines of "best viewed at 800 x 600" which is a very outdated practice.
- MB or Megabyte
- 1024 kilobytes - a larger size measurement for the size of data.
- Data that describes other data - useful for describing the content of websites to improve search engine results.
- A hardware device used most computers that are not on a network connect to the Internet.
- The first popular web browser. Mosaic was released in 1993 and was developed and supported until 1997.
- The browser from the Netscape. Once the most popular browser for many years it has fallen behind the popularity of Internet Explorer.
- A computer connected to the Internet, most often used to describe a web server.
- The browser from the company Opera.
- OS (Operating System)
- Software that manages the basic operations of a computer.
- PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection)
- A labelling system designed to help with parental control and internet filters. See ICRA.
- PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor)
- Technology allowing insertion of server executable scripts inside web pages. Typically for Unix, Linux and Solaris platforms.
- An application built into another application. In terms of the web this is typically a program added to the web browser to handle additional data types such as e-mail, sound, or movie files to enhance the user experience.
- PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
- A format for encoding pictures for use on the web. This is the W3C recommendation for replacing GIF. (Also see: GIF and JPG)
- Proxy Server
- Typically used by organisations running local and wide area networks to enable their users to connect out to the Internet. Used to improve performance as well as provide controls for the organisation (e.g. restricting content or specific sites).
- A multimedia file format created by Apple.
- RDF (Resource Description Framework)
- A framework for constructing languages to describe web resources.
- A client-side or server-side action that moves the browser from one location to another. Often misused by unscrupulous site owners this is actually a very useful tool, for example in helping users that have out of date bookmarks to find the resource they are looking for.
- Scripting Language
- In terms of websites this is a simple programming language that can be executed by either a web browser or a web server.
- Software that you can try free of charge, and pay a fee to continue to use legally.
- A format developed by Macromedia for embedding multimedia content in websites.
- Search Engine
- A computer program used to search and (index) the millions of pages on the web. Popular examples are Google and Yahoo!.
- Sending audio and video files over the Internet in such a way that the user can view the file while it is being transferred rather than having to fully download it first.
- The basic component of a web page used to define content or structure.
- URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)
- Term used to identify resources on the internet. URL is one type of an URI.
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
- A web address such as simiusweb.com
- User Agent
- Used primarily to define browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox).
- A term from web statistics referring to the act of a single session of activity on your website - i.e. the actions of one person during a single visit.
- Another term used in web statistics to define the person visiting a site.
- WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get. pronounced 'wizzy-wig')
- This refers to the basic concept behind interface design where what the icon represents is what it does, e.g. the picture of a printer in a toolbar typically represents the 'print' command.
- W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
- The W3C is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW or W3).
- WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative)
- The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an effort to improve the accessibility of the World Wide Web (WWW or Web) for people using a wide range of user agent devices, not just standard web browsers.
- WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)
- The WCAGs were developed by the WAI for web publishers in order to make content accessible.
- This is a mark-up language that has evolved from HTML but complies to XML syntax.
- XML (Extensible Markup Language)
- A mark-up language designed to describe the content that it holds. A simplified version of SGML especially designed for web documents, developed by the W3C.
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- The ZIP or .zip file is a common tool for collating and compressing files for faster downloads over the web.
Don't see a term that you'd like to? Let us know and we will add it if it is appropriate.