Welcome to our glossary of terms.
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Like the rest of the site it is constantly changing. If you have any suggestions don't hesitate to e-mail us
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- ACTIVE X
- Useful software components for adding dynamic features to web sites.
Unlike Java not separate language but can be used in similar ways (e.g. stock ticker). Developed by Microsoft®
- Abbreviation of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. This is a form of DSL and a high speed connection to the Internet . (In the UK a download speed of 512 Kbps is not uncommon for home ADSL).
Once the preserve of business, these lines are becoming available to home users and can be provided through existing telecom wiring. The asymmetric comes in as upload and download speeds are not the same (usually upload is slightly slower).
- The position of image or text on the horizontal (usually) or vertical axis. Default is left
- A piece of text that is used as a precise target on a page for a link. Also called bookmark
- Small Java program. You can put on on your website and will run on any browser supporting Java
- A standard used on camera film. Refers to the "speed" of film (a faster film will take pictures in lower light). Increases in arithmetic fashion. Short for American Standards Association. Similar to DIN
- ASP (Microsoft's Active Server Pages)
- Another server sided scripting language not unlike PHP.
Allows you to have viewer customisable webpages, searchable online databases and a whole host of dynamic skills.
Pages with ASP usually have the file suffix .asp (e.g. index.asp)
- Extra defining elements used with HTML tags. For example using horizontal rule <hr> tag, size of rule can be defined the size attribute.
- At the simplest level this is the amount of data that can be sent down a computer connection in a set time.
It is usually expressed in bps (bits per second) and its larger values (Mbps & Kbps or their shortened form K & M respectively). An other measure is the rarely used baud.
In terms of the Internet bandwidth is used in 2 ways.
Firstly the speed of connection.
Obviously a 56K modem will down load data at around twice the speed of a 28.8K modem. This raises issue of site content. For example, higher speed connection like DSL lines, in theory would allow high quality streamed video from a site. However a viewer with even a 56K modem would struggle to download this data
The second important use is in terms of website traffic.
Web site hosts often limit the amount of traffic your site can have. For example you may have a 500 Megabytes per month available traffic. This means that only 500MB worth of data can be downloaded from your server in a month. If your average visitor visits enough pages equivalent to 0.5MB, then it would only take 1000 visitors a month to use up your bandwidth
- BINARY NUMBERS
- Binary numbers are at the heart of how computers operate. As they rely on electrical impulses to process, move etc. information, that information is converted into a series of on and off signals (1 or 0). This 2 number method is binary.
Lets use some maths examples
When we describe numbers we use a decimal system
Each column in a number can have a value between 0-9
Binary numbers work the same way but each column can only be 1 or 0 (on or off)
For example in the binary version of 5 is 101
The last column codes for either 1 or 0 (here 1)
Next column codes for either 2 or 0 (here binary =0 so value =0)
Next column codes for either 4 or 0 (here binary =1 so value =4)
Add these together and you get 5
In a computer each 1 or 0 in a binary string equals a bit, the smallest unit of information (so our 101 would by 3 bits in size)
In practical computing terms a binary string can be used to define data electronically. The files like HTML are based on a sequence of ASCII characters. There are 128 ASCII characters and these are defined by a sequence of binary numbers. The sharp ones amongst you will realise it takes a 7 sting sequence of binary numbers to give all 128 permutation but infact a 8th binary number is chucked in as a check.
e.g. Z =01011010
A computer uses 8 bits to define a ASCII character. This 8 bit (or 8 binary sequency) is called a byte, another common unit.
- The smallest unit of measure of electronic data. Represents 1 item (hence bit) of binary data (i.e. either a 1 or 0).
8 bits = 1 byte (another unit of measure)
see also bits per second (BPS)
- Area in HTML editing of a web page that you put all your text & images (and their supporting tags) that you want to see. Defined by <body> tags
- A piece of text that is used as a precise target on a page for a link. More commonly called anchor
Also the name given to web sites marked for easy recall (e.g. as favourites) by a browser
BPS (Bits Per Second)
- Unit of speed of transmission of electronic information (Bandwidth). Essentially defines how many bits of information can be sent or received in a single second.
Larger speeds are expressed in Kilobits & Megabits per second (Kbps & Mbps)
1 Mbps = 1000 Kbps = 1,000,000 BPS
my modem operates at a theoretical 56,000 BPS (56Kbps or 56K)
my mobile phone in data calls operates at 9,600 BPS (9.6Kbps)
- The bit of software you use to see webpages and surf the net basically a program that translates and displays HTML documents as a web page. Common ones are Internet explorer and Netscape, opera, Netscape communicator
- Widely used unit of electronic information size.
Essentially 1 byte = 8 bits (another unit of measure)
8 bits of binary information give rise to 1 ASCII character in a basic text document like a HTML file (hence in a ASCII text file banana would be 7 bytes in size)
Larger measures more commonly used
1 megabyte (MB) =1000 Kilobyte (KB) =1,000,000 bytes
- CABLE MODEM
- One form of high speed Internet access and one type of DSL. Essentially you get a high speed link to your server via a fibre optic cable (this usually is provided by a cable company which will either provide cable TV and/or phone services down the same line)
Unlike ADSL you share this connection with others on the same cable link so speeds may fall as more use it to access the Internet.
- Charge Coupling Device. An electronic light sensitive device used in digital cameras and video cameras to capture images. Often most expensive single bit in cameras. Usually expressed in terms of pixel resolution (e.g. how many pixels are in a still image (e.g. 640 X 480, 3 mega (million) pixels)
- see TLD
CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
- A piece of software that enables your web server to collect data from a browser (usually from a form) and process it. The information is processed and can then be delivered to the viewer and/or the site owner (or others).
Good example would be in a visitor counter or a questionnaire form. Not all servers may support them, others limit them. You can also link to use CGI scripts on 3rd party sites. Commonly PERL is used as the Scripting language
see also Server Sided Scripting Languages
CSS (Cascading Style sheets)
- CSS were introduced by the W3C as part of the HTML 4.0 standard. Essential it means you can have more than one style sheet affecting each document. For example you might have an external style sheet for all of your site to give a consistent feel, but have a second style sheet for one set of pages and a specific page within that might have it's own document level style sheet subordinate to the 2 external ones.
- A standard used on camera film. Refers to the "speed" of film (a faster film will take pictures in lower light). Increases in logarithmic fashion. Short for Deutsche Industrie Norm. Similar to ASA
- The address of a computer linked to the Internet. A web site address or URL is made up of a username and domain name as is an e-mail address.
An example of a domain name is www.fluffbucket.com our home page.
The www tells your browser it is on the world wide web.
The .com is the type of domain (.com is one of a few top level domains like .gov, .net, .edu, .info, .biz).
Certain top level domains are restricted like .gov & .edu which can only be used by US government or educational establishment but most are available to all.
Some like .de are supposed to be country related (.de = Germany). See our site hosting and domain registration articles for more
DHTML or Dynamic HTML
- New advance on HTML. Ties HTML ,Java , style sheets and other elements together to make more "dynamic" and interactive webpages. There is no fixed standards so Microsoft®'s DHTML differs from Netscape®'s (creating browser support problems.
DNS (Domain Name Server)
- Specialised server that converts web URL's into IP addresses.
Gives rise to DNS errors when you enter a wrong web address.
- Abbreviation of Digital Subscriber Line. Essentially refers to a high speed internet connect with speeds often massively exceeding that of conventional 56K Modems.
This means users upload and download data from the 'net at a much greater rate and should be able to browse, download, play online games faster in principle and will allow for more and more media on the Internet such as real time high quality streamed video.
2 common types of DSL are ADSL and Cable modems
Although the link between a computer and it's dial up server can be amongst the most critical in terms of Internet speed, delays can still occur even with high speed digital lines as the connections on the Internet themselves can slow (e.g. due to weight of traffic trying to access a site etc.)
- short for electronic mail. With e-mail software you can write an e-mail to someone else if you know their e-mail (username@domain name). you can create a hyperlink to automatically create a e-mail using mailto
- short for Frequently Asked Questions
- Also known by standards name (IEEE 1394) this refers to a high speed connection from your computer to peripherals such as digital video camera. It's speed of transfer is very fast in region of 400Mbps
Another common connection is USB
- Frames allow you to display 2 or more web pages in one browser window
- File Transfer Protocol. The basic method of exchanging files between computers connected to Internet
- Graphic Interchange Format. An image filetype. Commonest used on Internet They are compressed image files using a maximum of 256 colours. They are cross platform (i.e.. One created on a Mac can be seen on a win 98 PC.). They can also be animated. See also .jpeg
- see TLD
- Another important HTML tag. Although its information doesn't appear on the page it can provide important functions such as giving the title of the page to appear in the browser bar and information to passing search engine agents who are scouring the net
- Each time someone accesses a webpage, they count as one hit. Often a term used in relation to web counters (so called hit counters which record the number of visitors to your site).
Also used on website logs to give info about visitor numbers, but often expressed as unique hits (e.g. if someone visits the same page 3 times in quick succession , it only counts as one unique hit)
- Hypertext Markup Language. The document language used to create webpages. Relies on a series of tags to define elements (e.g.<I> for italics).Currently in its 4th standard devised by the WC3
- Program used to edit a HTML document. Fall into 2 groups. Simple HTML editors allow you to code the language directly and are usually simple text editors that support ASCII format text files. WYSIWYG HTML editors are described elsewhere.
HTTP (HyperText Transfer protocol)
- This is a standardised protocol that allows computers and servers linked to the Internet all over the world transfer the data of webpages.
Usually seen at start of web addresses
e.g. - http://www.fluffbucket.com/
- Information is sent in small bundles of data called packets
- A piece of text or object on a web page that takes you to another part of the page, another page or a different web site. Can also be used to trigger links to other things e.g.e-mail
See also URL , anchor and Mailto
- IEEE 1394
- see under firewire
- HTML term to describe an image used on a website which has more than one hyperlink coming from it of it.
Here's an example. This is one simple image with 4 links
- The name given to the world wide connection of interconnected networks of computers in different companies, universities etc. The system that allows you to connect to this page from your computer (but don't confuse it with world wide web)
- An internal network of computers. Many intranets are linked to the Internet (and thereby make part of it) others aren't.
See also LAN
- When you enter a webaddress it is usually in the form of a sequence of words and letters e.g. www.fluffbucket.com/
Whilst it's easy for us humans to use web addresses, computers find it easier to use a numeric code (the Internet Protocol (IP) address e.g. 184.108.40.206) to work their way round the 'net
Your browser sends the webaddress you enter to a Domain Name Server (DNS) at your ISP. This converts the address into an IP number and requests the relevant files.
However it has to send these files to your computer, so everytime you log on your ISP gives your computer an IP number
Another way to think of it is like maps and gridlines. If someone says they're from Dublin in Ireland it makes sense to most of us and we have a general idea where in the world that is. But a sailor would also see the same place defined by being around Longitude 6o20 and Latitude 53o20
- Programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. It is platform independent (basically will run the same on any machine and basic operating system as long as viewer present -i.e. most modern browsers). The capabilities of Java are amazing (it can even create full blown apps like word processors)
Also a rather nice type of coffee & a country in the Pacific!!!
However it is a different language and unlike Java, you directly put code(or 'script') into HTML pages making it excellent for adding quick events.
It allows you to add dynamic elements to your webpage that you can't do with plain old HTML. Most modern browsers can read it (NS 2.0+ and MSIE 3.0+ depending on script commands)
.jpeg or .jpg
- Another web image format commonly used. Developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (hence the file name).They support tens of thousands of colours hence are used for photos published on the net. They are platform independent so .jpeg can be viewed on almost any computer with almost any operating system. See also .gif
- A shortened abbreviating used for 2 values. Can be used to denote information size as a shortened form of KB (kilobyte) and also information transfer speed as a shortened version of Kbps
This page (HTML & graphics files) are approximately 80-90K
A 56K modem
- Kbps (Kilobits per second)
- Used as a measure of speed of information transfer (Bandwidth).
Often abbreviated to K and used to denote theoretical speeds of modems e.g. 56K or 28.8Kbps.
1 Kbps = 1000 BPS (bits per second)
See also Kilobits. Don't confuse it with KB
- Commonly used measure of digital information and file size.
For example this page and related graphics are approximately 75-95KB in size
1 KB = 1000 bytes
Not to be confused with Kbps or Kilobits (1 byte=8 bits)
- LAN (local Area Network)
- Term used to describe a small network linking a limited number of computers.
Often seen in small office settings. Also some computer gamers link their computers together at one location to play multiplayer games over the LAN (often called LAN parties)
see also Intranet and WAN
- short for hyperlink
- Often used as a shorten version of either MB (measure of file size) or Mbps (connection speed or bandwidth) or Megapixel (digital camera resolution)
My floppy disc hold 1.44 M
My high speed Internet connection is 1 M
My digital camera has a 3.2 M resolution
- A hyperlink in a document that when triggered opens up the viewer's e-mail package with a a new pre-addressed e-mail whose recipient is defined by mailto link e.g.
- Measurement of electronic data size frequently used for computers and the internet (e.g a standard double sided high density floppy disk holds 1.44 MB)
1 MB = 1,000 KB = 1,000,000 bytes
Don't confuse with Mbps
Mbps (Megabits per second)
- Used as a measure of speed of information transfer (Bandwidth). Frequently used to describe High speed Internet connections like ADSL
1 Mbps = 1000 Kbps =1,000,000 BPS (bits per second)
Not to be confused with MB
- Stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. It is commonly used as a standardised method for encoding email attachment so that they can be sent and received without difficulties between different email software and machines (e.g. a PC user can email a MAC user a quicktime file). Used with websites to define multimedia items with the <object> tag or in Forms to determine how in formation is sent with the the enctype attribute
- Non disrespectful webspeak for describing a novice. Also small village in Southern Scotland near the Market town of Annan (honest)
- Information as a rule of thumb is not sent over the Internet in a continuous stream.
It is broken down into a series of chunks called "packets" and reassembled once it reaches it's destination. This allows servers to check with one and other that each packet has been received.
see also HTTP
- As scripting language often used on the web to develop CGI items like guest books, site searches and hitcounter. It was not developed with the web in mind
see also PHP
- A server sided scripting language that was specifically developed with the web in mind. It evolved from PERL scripts in its early days.
It now is a stand alone language that allows for a range of functions such as allowing surfers to customise the appearance of your website in their browser, create their own photo albums on your sever, manage searchable databases and a whole lot more to boot.
Its also open source which means it is continually evolving with a range of companies and individuals having an input.
Pages with PHP usually have the file suffix .php or .phtml(e.g. index.php)
see also ASP & CGI
- Program that is attached to a browser (e.g. Macromedia 's flash or real player) and allows you to use certain multimedia files when browsing. Some you need to download
- RGB code
- Short for Red, green & blue codes. These define colours by hexadecimal code. They are expressed as a 6 digits (or letters) preceded by #. The first 2 digits (00 to FF) express the intensity of red, the next 2 green and so on...
e.g. #0000FF = blue
Universally understood by browsers but can be difficult to work out
- A computer on any network used to store information that can be retrieved by other computers accessing it. For example on the Internet webservers store web pages and files for you to access.
See also Virtual servers
Server Sided Scripting languages
With Server sided scripts they only run on the webserver. A good simple example is a hit counter script. This runs on the server and scores everytime the counted page is requested. It works out how many hits have happened and an provides. When you load the page in your browser you don't download the script nor have any direct interaction with it. There is usually a small image tag which links to the script allowing it to display the total number of hits
- Most data transferred from websites uses the HTTP protocol, which involves breaking the info down into a small chunks called packets
If you want to send video or audio by this method, effectively you've got to download the whole file which may be massive first before using.
Streaming media allows you to watch a file as it downloads. You usually need a plug in to see these files. You may also need a special server to provide this service. Examples of system include real video and real audio (from Real Networks) and quicktime (from Apple)
- Style sheets can be used to define define the style of text elements in a HTML document (e.g. Make all headers appear red and in a different font). Can be useful elements in site design
- Tags are used in HTML as commands. They instruct browsers on how to make things appear. The are surrounded by <> and usually are closed by the same tag but with </ preceding it
e.g.<h1>This is the tags for a h1 header</h1>
- Short for Top level domain. This refers to the "top level" of an Internet address such as .com or .net. They should reflect some info about the site (e.g. .edu are intended for educational institutions & .ac.uk should refer to an academic site in the United Kingdom)
Often split into groups. Generic TLDs (gTLD) or true TLD are the main developed ones with no country of origin included (e.g. www.yoursite.org.uk isn't one www.yoursite.org is). Examples include .com, .net, .org. Many are protected for use by US organisations (e.g. .gov or .edu)
Country code Top Level domains (ccTLD) designate the origin of the site (e.g.www.yahoo.de is the German Yahoo site).
Some are in the format of just the country but most country domains take the form of 2nd level country domains with a supporting statement as to the organisation the site is linked to (e.g. .ac.uk)
- Uniform Resource Locator. This is a method of standardising the addresses of files on the Internet for easy access. An example would be http://www.sol.co.uk/sol/freewebspace/
- which is the address for Scotland on line's tutorial on frontpage express.
- The http defines what protocol the data is transferred in. When browsing it is often omitted.
- The www.sol.co.uk defines what location (or domain) the site is at on the web (your browser does the trick bit of processing that into the actual connection to the server computer). This is in 2 parts the .sol and the top level domain (TLD) in .co.uk
- The /sol/freewebspace/creating/ tells your browser to look in those folders on that computer for the webpage (frontpageexpress.htm)
- Short for Universal serial bus.
Very common connection port on modern computers. Can be hooked up to a wide range of devices from USB printers to USB mice to external USB CD/DVD etc. drives. The USB can power some smaller devices removing the need for another power supply. Allow devices comparatively "hot swappable" (or plug in and play = p'n'p) meaning devices can be connected and disconnected whilst the PC is running (dependant on operating system)
Comes in 2 flavours USB (or USB 1 or 1.1) which communicates at 11Mbps and USB 2 which operates a lot faster at 400Mbps.
Another connection commonly seen is FireWire
- Virtual Servers/hosting
- Most websites aren't held on individual servers. Usually one server hosts several websites often with their own full domain name
This is called virtual hosting on a virtual server.
When people enter your web address it is converted into a numeric IP address. This doesn't tell your browser to go get your webpage from your site however.
Take our site. You enter our webaddress. The first few numbers of the IP address actually points you toward oneandone.com our host which has several servers hosting tons of sites.The rest of the IP address tells your browser what part of our host's server system to look and retrieve our site from.
WAN (or wireless access network)
- Similar to LAN but instead of using cables tro connect devices, they are linked by radio signals. One used standard is WiFi. You can link your wireless access to a conventional LAN if wished
- Short for World Wide Web Consortium who drew up the HTML and other web based standards. Their website is at http://www.wc3.org/
- See URL. The address you enter in your browser (e.g. www.fluffbucket.com)
- An individual HTML document on a web site
- A collection of webpages and associated files. Usually interlinked
- The person who maintains a web site (usually but not always it's author)
- A distinct class of WAN devices using the 802.11b standard. Runs at at 11Mbps.
World Wide Web or www.
- A system of documents that serve 2 purposes. Firstly they contain information in themselves, secondly they contain hyperlinks to other documents. It is how you linked to this site (not to be confused with Internet)
World Wide Web Consortium
- see WC3
- "What You See Is What You Get". Used to describe software such as HTML editors or word processors where the document appears as it will look when you are editing it
WYSIWYG HTML editors
- When you use them you see the page almost as it will appear in a browser (WYSIWYG). These do the work of coding HTML for you.
- XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
- Not to be confused with DHTML.
XML is another text markup language not unlike HTML. Infact they both share their roots in the Standard Generalised Markup Language (SGML)
As the web has grown more and more different devices have linked to it from TV's to Mobile phones. Even HTML browsers differ in the way they can display the same bit of 4.0 standard HTML.
How can you cope with all these different standards?
Do you need to create duplicate web pages for Netscape, Internet explorer, Web TV etc. views?
XML solves these problems. Instead of creating different pages you create one XML page. This links to the XML style sheets for your site and these will alter the appearance of your page to fit whatever is looking at it, whether it be a WAP mobile, web TV or PC using Netscape
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