Commonly Used Internet Terms
You'll find it easier to participate more fully in the direction of your web goals if you are able to understand common Internet terminology. Basic Net literacy is useful in making decisions with your web developer, your service provider and people who will send you e-mail.
Ultimately there are hundreds if not thousands of terms invented for Internet technology. Following is a glossary of terms you should familiarize:
Relaed sections - Expert Links
- Acrobat file (aka - pdf or portable document format) - A widely used cross-platform file format from Adobe Systems which enables web sites to offer downloadable documents with impressive features otherwise typically found only in published (print) media.
- action - a programmed function that occurs as a result of a particular stimulus. For instance, a web designer may create a web page button that will change color when a mouse rolls over it. (See "rollover".) Or a sound or music may play when a page is downloaded (an "on-load" action)..
- animation - Any web page graphic element, which has movement such as blinking or text motion or crude video, is usually called an animation. Animations are a potential distraction and may slow down a web site. Thus they should be used with discretion.
- background tile (aka seamless background tile) - Any still or animated graphic item that exists behind all other objects in a web page or to the left margin. A background image typically repeats itself like bricks of tiles so that it creates the effect of being larger than it really is.
- bandwidth - This term usually refers to the amount of data coming through your modem or from your ISP in a given time. A fast modem can be called "high bandwidth" because it brings in data quickly. If you are surfing the web and every web site you visit comes in slow as molasses in January, then you are suffering from a "bandwidth bottleneck" either at your modem or at the fault of your service provider. Web pages will take longer to show on your screen. Other factors decreasing bandwidth can include traffic jams to the web site you are trying to visit or simply too much animation or graphics in the target site. A well-designed web site having no excess file size per page will come in faster on everyone's terminals and is generally called a low bandwidth site.
- banner - A logotype or title bar, usually appearing at the top of a home page, is sometimes called a banner. But more often the term refers to a horizontal bar shaped advertisement hosted on any web page.
- bounce page - A web page that automatically redirects the viewer to another page anywhere on the Internet.
- broadband - high speed Internet data flow. Broadband has many variations, notably digital subscriber line (DSL). Essentially most Internet data traffic is channeled over broadband from the moment content is sent from the hard drive of a service provider traveling through nodes across America to some other service provider. Those end users who have broadband connections are then able to download web pages at very high speed even if the web pages are cluttered with excess content and laden with streaming multimedia files. Well designed web pages are typically created to minimize excess graphic and multimedia content on a given page in order to download at reasonable speed for the slow common 56k user. The broadband user has the luxury of enjoying streaming multimedia and Macromedia Flash content that would require 56k users to wait before such content downloaded. It is noteworthy that broadband has been plagued by technical and service problems limiting its popularity. Yet broadband in years to come will gradually become a defacto standard for common internet users turning the Internet into essentially a video dream machine. Keep in mind that web designers and web design clients should view thair own pages at 56k in order to determine if the pages are downloading fast enough for most web surfers, who do not have or do not want broadband. If you are a novice first-time Net surfer or trust fund baby who starts out using broadband, you may fool yourself into thinking that many poorly designed web pages are normally fast when they are not. Broadband will not be wonderful until it is debugged and embraced by a majority of users.
- browser preferences - The settings in web browser software particular to each computer as preferred and adjusted by its owner/user. Browser preferences will make the final determination how text and other web site components look. Thus a web developer must have some skill in being able to make most web site objects appear uniform, no matter who sees them.
- browser program - The software that the end user uses to view Internet web pages. For most people that would be Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or America Online (AOL). Although Explorer is king of the hill by virtue of Microsoft's marketing success, Netscape Navigator was at one time the de facto browser as well as the first commonly used browser. The Netscape browser has provided much superior ability to display web pages properly as formatted. A page that looks excellent in Navigator might look like crap in Explorer. Conversely, Explorer has offered some features not found in Netscape. As a rule of thumb I prefer Navigator, but always use Explorer to test page layouts in order to assure that web pages will look best for the common end user (using Explorer). If it looks good in Explorer it will usually look equally good in Navigator, although the reverse is not always true. Those of you who have been on the Net a few years will recall that Microsoft had nothing happening with the Internet when Netscape was huge. Their Explorer product has eaten Netscape alive by virtue of Ma Bill's preeminent marketing ability. Eventually Explorer will also provide the ability to display web page formatting properly without making web developers have to go tweeky buggy to assure as much. Microsoft also has a legend for designing Windows, Explorer and other software in such a way that everything just might work perfectly....if you are using all-Microsoft software, something no self respecting web developer would ever do. A common mantra of Internet professionals is to avoid dependency, to seek out the diversity of many software contributions. Most pros do not boycott Microsoft. They simply realize it is prone to contain self-serving code, all of which relates to the reason so many software companies went screaming to Janet Reno (the big Miscrosoft antitrust case). The bottom line is that consumers use multiple browsers to view the Internet. Any good web developer will assure that pages work well for nearly all viewers. Keep in mind that some end users are viewing the web on old legacy browsers and antique computers and may not even have any capability to view graphics. That is why most major web sites provide text links to internal pages even if fancy graphic navigation design is predominant.
- browser window - the main large portion of an Internet browser interface where web pages are presented.
- bulk e-mail - an e-mail message sent to two or usually more recipients simultaneously. Typically the term "bulk e-mail" refers to advertising or announcements sent to large numbers of subscibing (willing) recipients or to unwilling targets. The latter practice, known as "spamming", is considered to be in the poorest taste and is used mainly by unscrupulous marketers who have no connection to humanity. On the other hand, sending periodic or moderate amounts of bulk e-mail to willing subscibers who join your e-mail list is ethical, intelligent and mutually beneficial to the sender and recipients.
- button - A pictograph or other graphic item that may have the appearance of an electronic button on a web page and acts as a hyperlink.
- clip art - any graphic or collection thereof typically published on CD-ROM, in printed books or online and intended for legal use and reproduction by the user within the boundaries of license or permissions. Clip art is a vast realm usually offered on low cost CD ROM collections featuring tens of thousands of images in raster, vector and other formats.
- cobweb site - (slang) a web site, usually small or rather empty, having content that is not updated for many months or even years. It just sits there. A cobweb site is not offensive except for the fact that it is boring and tends to dilute audience interest in coming back. Even the most rudimentary web sites should be updated at least once a year. Generally the best web sites are updated monthly or daily.
- cookie - A form of java applet code designed to invade your hard drive when you are browsing a web site in order to fetch data about your browsing habits usually within the particular web site where the cookie originates. Although relatively harmless, cookies sometimes amount ot another minor invasion of privacy and fortunately can be turned off totally from your browser (Netscape or Explorer). Typically you visit a site with hidden cookies and the cookie is planted into your drive without your knowledge (although you can set your browser software to alert you). Then the next time you visit the same web site the site automatically knows it's you and thus will display special advertisements of announcements according to your past interest history revealed by the cookie. A cookie is just like that computer at the supermarket chain, which sends you coupons for your favorite hemorrhoid cream, and then you ask "How did they know?" Just turn off cookies in your browser and never worry.
- copyleft - a file, artwork, song, writing or other item of creative source that is shared for public usage without the normal copyright restrictions. Copyleft items typically can be copied at will or republished although mention of appropriate credits may be requested. Copyleft is also a subcultural movement on the Internet put into motion by people like Richard Stahlman of Xanadu Project fame. A major impetus behind the copyleft movement is the concept that propietary software code makes for an expensive world. "Open source" code is viewed by copyleft people as a more egalitarian approach to intellectual and technical creativity since it means that virtually anyone can work with nonproprietary code thus leading to ongoing improvements. The Linux operating system, for example, is essentially shareware created under the copyleft concept as a challenge to Microsoft Windows (and partly out of resentment for the perception of Microsoft's monopolizing tactics).. Many musicians likewise create copyleft music in the hope that others will make their songs more popular. Copyleft as a concept is not inherently against copyright. It is merely an alternative meant to circumnavigate the strangulations of copyright for the benefit of common and less-wealthy users.
- counter (aka - hit counter) - A feature placed on a web page to count the number of times that page is visited. Counters are useful for in-house curiosity but not regarded as credible if used to sell ads. More commonly, if you were selling banner space on a successful high traffic web site - an advertiser would use other more technical means to get an audit of your traffic. Typically your ISP can provide monthly or daily audits to you by automated e-mail.
- cross-platform - The ability of a document, file or program to be executed or observed from more than one operating system. Typically platforms include "Mac" (Apple Macintosh), PC (IBM compatible), and UNIX (a common system used by many Internet service providers). Virtually all Internet web pages and documents and all e-mail is cross-platform, meaning you don't need a particular machine to view it. But web page creation is almost always done using platform specific software even though the output is cross platform capable.
- data - Although the term data simply means factual information it is more commonly used to mean specifically electronic information stored on electronically readable media that may include hard drives, CD ROM disks, memory chips, and removable media. (See also - "hardcopy".)
- decorative cap - a font letter that is highly ornate, ie. visually impactive and, in web design, almost always displayed as a graphic..
(See also - "initial cap".)
- digital image - A photograph or graphic created or rendered on a computer from an ultimate input source such as a digital camera or a flatbed scan of a photograph.
- digital subscriber line - (DSL) a high speed Internet connection usable on ordinary telephone lines in limited areas.
- domain name - Any easy-to-remember web address registered with Internic or other domain registration company. Household domain names include "ibm.com", "apple.com", or "Sony.net"
- domain name server - The specific host or Internet service provider (ISP) where a domain name web address is directed to each time a web surfer types in the domain name URL in their Web browser or sends an e-mail connected to the domain name. Each host server is identified by a unique IP address number, also known as a "domain name server (DNS) number" This number is typically provided to the appropriate domain name registrar when the domain name is registered and is changed if the user chooses to move the domain to a diferent ISP.
- download (verb or noun) - To obtain your e-mail, view people's web pages or receive software online is called downloading. Everything you download comes directly from a server, otherwise known as your Internet service provider (ISP) or dial-up connection. Something you just obtained of this nature can be called a download.
- drop cap - (See "initial cap".)
- e-commerce (electronic commerce) - The conducting of business online or the ability to conduct business via a web site. An 'e-commerce site' is typically a high tech programmed web site created by a code specialist usually beyond the realm of the ordinary web developer. E-commerce typically includes the display and sale of goods and services directly from a web page using forms which allow the web surfer to enter data and a credit card number which is then uploaded to a database that creates automatic responses. It is not uncommon to retain both a web developer (for overall design) and a separate e commerce firm to provide online business capability. But a web developer can also create some e commerce ability at less expense by implementing a simple form on a web page to send you order data as formatted e-mail. (See also - shopping cart.)
- e-mail - electronic mail sent or received through an Internet service provider (ISP).
- e-mail account - A service provided by your Internet service provider (ISP) allowing you to send and receive e-mail. Your e-mail is stored on a hard drive at your ISP until you go online to collect it. If you have a web account it usually includes e-mail service as part of the package.
- e-mail address - The string of letters and or numbers that allow anyone to send you e-mail is called your e-mail address. No two are identical. A typical e-mail address is something like <email@example.com> or <firstname.lastname@example.org>. If you have your own domain name such as <mybiz.com> then your e-mail address would be something like <email@example.com>. In fact with a domain name you can usually get e-mail under any prefix. An example would be <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>.
- e-mail attachment - Any data file such as a digital photo or graphic or a word processing file or database which you send to someone via e-mail by selecting an option in your e-mail program to attach and send the item. In most cases the item is sent in its original format.
- e-mail client - A program used to send, receive, and organize e-mail.
- e-mail list - A list of target e-mail recipients usually contained within your e-mail program enabling you to send bulk e-mail to many recipients at one time. You build up e-mail lists in particular categories usually after each "subscriber" has specifically asked to be on your list via a web page guest book or a notice that says "Join our list". Otherwise if you start sending out e-mail ads to unwilling recipients you may suffer the reputation of being an annoying spammer. (See also - spam). A legitimate usage of an e-mail list would be for a business to notify all subscribers that a private sale will be offered exclusively for preferred customers. Or a gallery may wish to notify all online subscribing clients of a particular show. It is considered appropriate decorum to allow subscribers a simple means to "unsubscribe" from your bulk e-mail transmissions.
- e-mail program (aka - e-mail utility) - Any software or shareware which you use on your computer terminal to send, receive and sort your e-mail.
- file conversion utility - A software program used to convert a particular data file from one platform such as PC to Mac or back.
- flame - To send any message intended to harass, villify, offend or rebuke someone through a discussion post on a newsgroup or through e-mail. Flaming is common on the Internet although conversely, most Net communications are politely worded due to normal "netiquette". Most flaming occurs on newsgroups where sensitive issues are discussed or where abusers misuse the newsgroup and get "flamed" for it by angry viewers.
- form - A web page feature that allows you to fill something in is called a form. Your web developer can design a form that will allow people viewing your web pages to provide proscribed data. They can see the blank spaces and fill them in right on their screens. Forms can easily deliver data as formatted e-mail. In a significantly more complex and costly scenario they can also deliver data into a database at the server. Online databases are not cheap or simple.
- frames - A design feature of a web site wherein the viewable page is visibly divided into sections and where a section may function much like a separate changeable web page so that other sections may concurrently remain stationery to provide a stable menu. Frames often pose minor drawbacks to the viewer especially if unsightly scroll bars are manifest. When done with skill, frame design may offer superior advantages.
- ftp - If you go online and download free software or your web developer uploads your web page revisions that is sometimes called ftp (verb) meaning file transfer protocol. An example of common usage would be "Did you ftp the files?" meaning 'Did you upload the latest web page revision?'
- GIF (graphical interchange format/aka - CompuServe GIF) - Usually pronounced with a hard 'G', but not always, GIFs are one of the two most common file formats used for the final saving of graphics being placed onto a web page. GIFs have a limited color range and are usually faster in downloading than the other major file format known as JPEGs. Portions of GIFs can be made invisible to allow graphic backgrounds or colors to show through on a web page. (See also - JPEG).
- grid - a matrix of horizontal and vertical alignment lines, like graph paper, used in web design programs to hold assorted page contents, including images and text, in place. Grids are generally visible only during page creation and become invisible in a browser window.
- guest list - a form on a web page allowing the viewer to send back their name and e-mail address to the owner of a web page or to subscribe to an e-mail list.
- hardcopy - generally information that is either printed from electronic data or written or printed information including text and pictures, that has not yet been converted to electronic data. A web designer may receive web site input from a client in the form of e-mailed pictures (electronic data) or as photos to scan (hardcopy). from the client. Text sent by email is electronic data. Text provided as brochures or typed pages is hardcopy. (See also - "data".)
- home page - The intended entry point, main page or front page of your web site, sometimes called a "menu page". Most web sites have a "Home" link on every page in order to get back to the home page. There is also a home page or "default page" for your web browser program. That would be whatever page the browser goes to automatically upon opening or by clicking the brower "Home" button, which is not the same as the "home' links in .a web site. Net savvy people also use the term "home page" to refer to a web site in general. Sometimes people will as - "Where's your home page?"
- host - The Internet service provider (ISP) who provides your e-mail and/or web account. Also there is the option of using a sub-host, someone who has an ISP account and allows you to place your web pages online using his web address even though the actual web pages may have no visible relationship to other web pages at the basic web address.
- html - The stuff that web sites are made of is mostly called html code that stands for hypertext markup language. In most cases you will never see the code and never have to deal with it. But html has also become a common lay term sometimes used in reference to web content as a cultural commodity.
- hyperlink - A particular word, phrase or visual object in a web page which causes a page change, link to another web site or other computerized action whenever it is clicked on by a web surfer using a mouse.
- image map - Any picture or menu composed of one picture or graphic with distinct zones whereby mouse cursor position in a particular zone will allow selection of a particular designated internal or external web link or e-mail link. For instance a picture may contain three pictographs, each being a separate link to something.
- image swap - a graphic programmed to change with any of several actions by the end user. For instance in a travel web site there may be a picture of an airplane. But when the user rolls the cursor over "Rail Destinations" in the menu, even without clicking, the picture of the plane suddenly changes to a picture of a train. Image swaps can be located visibly apart from a menu mouse-over item that triggers them.
- information highway - (slang) - The Internet (aka - "Info Superhighway")
- initial cap - (aka - "drop cap") - In typography, a decorative capital letter of the alphabet that is bigger and more elaborate than adjacent text and typically positioned below the baseline.. In web design, a drop cap and some or all of its adjacent text would normally be created as a graphic to assure proper display regardless of the fonts available in the user's web browser program.
(See also - "decorative cap".)
- Internet - (aka "the Net") the publicly used complex and globally dispersed electronic infrastructure enabling many kinds of computer users to interconnect through telephone lines, modems, broadband, cable, fiber optics, laser beams, radio and many other means in order to share data. The Internet is operated almost wholly by private commercial entities but adheres to standards set by specific governing bodies licensed by American and foreign governments. Today's Internet is a largely public medium of communication comprising in part the WorldWide Web (WWW) and free exchange of email. Previously the Internet was a nonpublic academic and military network designed to geographically disperse military data as a means to thwart data loss in the event of a nuclear attack from the former Soviet Union. Ironically the Internet has become an instrument of warfare used by terrorists to transmit coded secrets and do covert research. However, the Net is used predominantly for civil and peaceful purposes by ordinary people.
- Internet cafe - A cafe offering public access online computers for web surfing and e-mail transmission and sometimes also serving as an Internet service provider (ISP) or service bureau or offering other services. (See also - service bureau or service provider.)
- Internet service provider (See - service provider.):
- Internic (aka - Network Solutions) - The main company which administers and allows the use of domain names. If you want the domain name "mybiz.com" then your first step is to have your web developer or your ISP check Internic to see if it's available. Internic has a web address where anyone can check <www.internic.com>. But in most cases it's best to leave the actual registration up to your web developer and/or ISP. Internic is not the only domain registration company but it was the first and remains the most predominant. It had a government monopoly for several years.
- intranet - a web site and/or file server that is privately accessible IntraNets are typically used by businesses who wish to have complete online file access when away from the office.
- ISP - (see - service provider.)
- JPEG (Joint Photographers Experts Group) - One of the two leading file formats used to save each individual graphic file before placing it onto a web page. JPEGs are renown for their high color and are thus used to display most images of critical quality. However, JPEGs also tax bandwidth, meaning they are a larger file size which in turn may slow down web page downloads if used too liberally. (See also GIF.)
- ligature - ---
- link - A hyperactive text or graphic object in a web site which sends the viewer to another page in the site or outside to a page on someone else's web site is called a web link. Web links sometimes appear on web pages as buttons, visual menu objects or highlighted text. If you have a web site it is important for you to get search engines and other web sites to provide links to your site be a system of promotion, registration and polite suggestion. It is however, considered bad manners to outright ask a friend to provide a link from his site to yours unless he owes you something. Links are likewise to be given out very selectively.
- External link - a link to an external web address
- internal link - a link to a page, object or e-mail window within the home web site.
- link page - A web page offering a collection of hot (active hypertext) links to other web addresses outside of the current web site. The purpose of a link page is to refer the web surfer to the web sites most related and useful to the site at hand. The disadvantage of a links page is that it sends viewers outside of the site. But this is usually outweighed by the advantage that many web surfers will return specifically to use your links page. Web links should be chosen with extreme consideration to quality. Most web sites offer a link page.
- link rot - The ongoing periodic deterioration of links caused by the disappearance of linked web sites or their change of web address. For instance if you were to create a hyperlink to MillenniumParty2000.com, the web site at that web address would likely be off-line once the party was over. Thus your link has "rotted" and needs to be removed or updated.
- maintenance - Ongoing or periodic refinements or upgrading of a web site is most commonly referred to as maintenance or monthly maintenance depending on your web developer agreement.
- meta tags - Invisible strings of code your web developer can place inside your home page which can facilitate more chance that your site will get noticed by robots (aka meta crawlers) when registered on some search engines. Meta tags come in two basic types, meta description tags and meta keyword tags. Their actual degree of usefulness is widely debated and probably secondary to refined means of promoting your site to a specific target audience.
- modem (modulator-demodulator) - The common device which attaches to your computer and to a service provider computer to make computer data transmittable over ordinary phone lines so you can surf the net and get e-mail. Most computers come with a modem either built in or external. Their quality is judged based on speed, ease of software installation, and indicator lights for external models. Some brands offer good reputations for reliability and free online tech support that you will hopefully never need.
- monitor resolution setting - The individual setting on each Internet user's own computer monitor, defining how much horizontal and vertical content is shown per full screen of the monitor. Resolution setting is usually expressed in pixels but can also be expressed in inches or centimeters There are many such settings but three are most common:
640 x 480 pixels (lowest) - (8.8 in. wide x 6.67 in long)
800 x 600 pixels (typical) (11.1 in. wide x 8.3 in long)
1024 x 768 pixels (highest) (14.2 in wide x 10.7 in long)
These measures do not refer to the actual screen size. They refer to the collective size of the "desktop" or single document that will be viewable on the monitor screen at those settings. Resolution settings are a critical and potentially complex obstacle especially for inexperienced web developers. Web developers typically design pages that look best at the middle (800 x 600) setting but will also fit any monitor screen using the lowest setting of 640 x 480 pixels. Incidentally, monitor sizes are not a critical factor since a huge monitor set at any of the above settings will display the same screen as a tiny monitor. The larger monitors merely spread out the same screen display and offer the luxury of using higher resolution settings with better visibility. Unlike published hardcopy. most web pages are created using elements that shift position in what can be referred to as a "relative display state" (I made that term up). This means that a web page usually looks diferrent depending on two major factors:
- The monitor resolution setting of the end user
- The browser (Netscape/Explorer/AOL) window size as set by the end user
Additionally, the font sizing in web pages has relative complexities. Typically text is set at a size that will provide comfortable reading at the middle (800 x 600) monitor resolution. Graphic text (text that has been made into a graphic), such as title banners and so forth, are likewise usually designed to work well with the 640 x 400 and 800 x 600 settings. Web pages designed for the 1024 x 768 pixel monitor settings are typically a disaster since the common (800 x 600) user ends up having to scroll sideways to see the whole page.
- multimedia - Digital or web page content which typically includes mainly audio or video but also animation, database interfacing or other user interactive features. A CD ROM game is an example of an offline multimedia item.
- navigation bar (aka - nav-bar) - A horizontal or vertical menu arrangements of multiple words, pictographs or buttons, each being a click-on link to some internal or external web page, part of a page or other web site feature. Nav-bars typically occupy the left edge or near top or bottom of a page.
- net neutrality - the notion that regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission should not allow Internet service providers to charge more for high bandwidth content.
- netiquette - (slang) Internet etiquette. Netiquette is a term generally pertaining to communications through email or on discussion groups or in chat rooms. It simply refers to adherence to sensible standards of politeness. Netiquette may also involve commonly agreed standards of online communication that may sometimes be rather ambiguous. For instance, if you criticize someone using a lot of words that are all-capitalized, it is common for many Net users to regard this as a "screaming" or "angry" lecture, even though you may have simply meant to highlight a point or two. (It is generally just as erroneous to take offense merely because someone innocently used all caps with nary a cuss word.). One clear violation of common netiquette is spamming. Putting people you hardly know on an announcement list they did not subscribe to is considered "bad netiquette".
- news group - ---
- online community - While the entire global Internet is one online community the term is more specifically applied to particular interest groups, trades, cultural genres and local neighborhoods. For instance the "online arts community" refers to web sites and surfers in the arts. The Internet is experiencing its most recent growth in actual physical neighborhoods going online from community groups to shopping. In reality there are hundreds of thousands of online communities on the web. In most cases it will be critical for you to identify the best and highest number possible of web sites within particular online communities which may relate to your concern as these are your avenues for promotion of your own web site and audience cultivation.
- online presence - Having a web site and exchanging e-mail are the basic tenets of online presence. In Internet culture, having a widely popular or high quality web site is sometimes referred to as having a major online presence.
- opt in bulk e-mail - a polite civilized form of bulk e-mail sent only to those who authentically exercize their option to be on the e-mailer's list, usually by filling out a form on the sender's web site. Opt-in e-mail is highly recommended for web sites that wish to announce events or changes to those who have indicated a desire to receive such announcements.
- opt out bulk e-mail - a rude variety of spam, the usual kind, that disingenuously assumes everyone wants to receive the advertising messages of the particular sender until the user indicates or somehow manages to persuade the sender otherwise.. Opt-out bulk e-mail is pure harassment. (See also "opt in bulk e-mail.")
- ornate cap - (See - "decorative cap".)
- page - A page on a web site is much the same as a page in a book or magazine with one huge exception. A typical web page can and often does exceed a normal length (top to bottom) such as eleven inches. In fact there is no specific length that defines what is a page. A page can be an inch or it can be ten feet long. It is not uncommon to see pages that are about two feet long when viewed at typical monitor settings. To make matters more confusing, you can't even put a truly accurate measure on a page length since that will vary according to the monitor settings of each browser receiving your so-called "page". If you print a single page from a web site it can print out to many pages. Likewise the width of a web page has no hard standard although it is common professional wisdom for web developers to assure that pages will view at the typical lowest (640 x 480 monitor resolution) and to make them optimal for the ideal (800 x 600) resolution.
- pdf - (portable document file). See:"Acrobat file".
- peer to peer - (aka - "p2p") - a commonly used protocol for downloading software, MP3 music or other files with other ordinary users on the Internet. P2P is often used to obtain freeware, shareware, and bootleg software. P2P exchange is often made practical through web sites that act as clearinghouses listing people who have or want something. One of the most famous of these was Napster. Some P2P exchanges require a "client" program, often at a niminal fee, to do downloads.
- platform - The operating system of compter, such as "Windows" (Microsoft Windows) or "Mac" (Apple Macintosh) or Unix or Linux. Platform is not a major consideration for most web surfers. But it is a serious consideration for web designers and servers. A web designer who wants to create online databases that use "active server pages" would generally prefer Windows. But graphics professionals typically have clung to the Mac for superior color control, multimedia and ease of usage. Many servers use yet a third platform known as Unix.
See also - "platform-independent".
- platform-independent - The quality of not rquiring one operating system or another. The "World Wide Web" became a popular Internet medium in the mid 1990s largely out of the fact that it has never required end users to have either one operating system or another. Any web surfer using either of the leading operating sytems, Windows or Macintosh, will generally have equal quality access to any web page in the Universe. Although web design programs are different for each platform, the end results are essentially the same. Thus web pages are almost always "platform independent".
- plug-in - a software component that extends the capabilities of a specific program. In the case of Internet usage plug-ins are commonly used in web browsers such as Netscape and Explorer. These plug-ins enable Internet users to add special sound or multimedia capabilities to their browsers. Most web browser plug-ins are available free of charge by downloading them. In web site development it is essential to consider your target audience when adding any web site features that may require plug-ins.
- preloads - "onload" action elements installed in a web page to make specific graphics or other items in the page load early in sequence. For instance, rollover graphics and image swaps are comprised of two or more graphics. Without preloads you might move your mouse over a rollover graphic and observe a delay as it changes appearance, the result of a common mistake by amateur web developers. With preloads, any rollover will shift its appearance instantly and likewise, image swaps will change as needed. (See also "rollovers" and "image swaps".
- proof - A printed version of something for approval inspection such as a prototype web page. Web developers have many ways of displaying mockups in progress. They can be e-mailed, displayed on a notebook computer, displayed at a nonpublished web address, or simply printed as proofs.
- public domain - The status of a particular graphic, writing or software wherein the item is legally and morally within the right for anyone to use by virtue of source declaration, limited license or a particular degree of conversion whereby the item was made legally different from the original. Public domain software is typically called "freeware". (See also - clip art).
- redirect - 1 - (verb) to display another web address for the same web page after going there; 2 - (noun) - the server instruction to accomplish such a redirect. In a typical example, the user types in a web address such as "http://www.TheDogLoversPalace.com".. The page at that web address loads but instead the URL line now says "http://www.DoggieHeaven.com" even though either address will get you to the same web site and both addresses are registered to the same party.. Many businesses uses multiple web domain names to maximize promotional flexibility. Just having two or more web addresses pointing to the same page is not inherently a redirect unless the page always displays only one web address regardless of however many point to that page.
- registrant -
- registrar -
- registration service provider (RSP) -
- rollover - (See "image swap".)
- scripting language -
- search engine - a web site containing a database that is ported to the online user by means of a form is called a search engine. Search engine web sites are complex affairs usually constructed by large businesses and corporations. The most widely used search engines are the ones used free of charge by millions of Net surfers daily. These include Yahoo, Alta Vista, HotBot, Magellin, Excite and many others. Engine sites make their money by having little paid ads on every new search page, not to be confused with the annoying junk mail that is totally unrelated.
- search engine registration - the process of gong to search engine web sites and registering data about a particular site in order to get it listed and promoted by the search engine. The process is usually free of charge. Some highly specialized search engines require a one-time fee or membership in order to register your site.
- server - The hard drive and computer of your Internet Service Provider (ISP) which is connected to the Internet at all times. In general you connect to your ISP to get your e-mail "from the server" or to surf the web via the server. You need little knowledge of the equipment, only how to run your browser and e-mail program. The word server sometimes also refers to your ISP. (example - "Who is your server?")
- service bureau - A film usually specializing in graphic file rendering, format conversions and limited publishing. Service bureaus do things like scan pictures from slides or prints. They also do short run printing or create posters for presentations or business promotions. A common example of a well-known service bureau is Kinko's.
- service provider (aka - ISP) - The company who provides your toll-free dial-up connection to the Internet, routes your e-mail and hosts your web pages is called an Internet service provider or ISP. You should select your ISP carefully based on a referral from your web developer or knowledgeable acquaintance. Several specific service factors and qualifications should be considered. ISPs which offer free connections are usually not worth the price since they may bombard you with junk e-mail or force ad overlays onto your web content. Typically a service provider charges from $20 to $50 per month depending on the service features you need. Domain hosting is typically $50/month to you ISP.
- shopping cart - a high end web site feature involving a form driven database which allows web surfers to view, select and add cumulative selections of goods or services during a browsing visit and then automatically adds up the purchases and collects payment and shipping preferences, usually involving a credit card. This is a form of e-commerce. Shopping cart creation is a specialty beyond the realm of ordinary web developers. But any good web developer should be able to out-source at least one decent provider of shopping cart services. Typically the shopping cart provider is can work with the web designer and does not need to replace him since shopping cart developers are more programmers as opposed to the design skills of a web designer. Some shopping cart providers set up a cart so that they or a separate specialized business agency processes the orders for the client. Shopping carts are useful where large numbers of low dollar items are being sold online but may have little or no value to an art dealer, for example, where each art item is a whole purchase in the hundreds of dollars. The low cost alternative to the potential high price of shopping carts is to have your web developer create forms on a web site to bring you orders as formatted e-mail.
- sound formats - Web sites sometimes offer sound samples with music. Sound formats are offer varietal specs and compatibility. Format examples include MP3, MPEG, AIFF and AU.
- spam - A loose term that usually refers to the annoying bulk-e-mailed advertisements most people get from businesses they never heard of. The senders are usually unscrupulous marketers who conceal their real e-mail addresses and ignore your complaints asking to have your e-mail address removed from their lists. In fact most spammers can't even be reached by e-mail until you convince their service providers to abate the spammer(s) which the ISP is usually not legally required to do. Spam can also mean any e-mail communication having the effect or intent of harassing you repeatedly or incessantly. A more obscure usage of the term "spam" refers to an annoying web site that won't allow you to make a clean departure. When you try to move on the site opens a new browser window advertising their product.
- static site - A web site that is boring, useless, unglamorous or never changes to reveal anything new. Such pages are sometimes called "cobweb pages".
- splash page - an attractive simple graphic home page usually having no navigation options until you click the main graphic or the word "Enter" leading to the main navigation page or to frames.
- storage - In common usage this term refers to the overall file size of your web and e-mail content stored on a server. All service providers place a limit on the size expressed in kilobytes of megabytes, typically 5MB or 10MB unless you pay for more. This is not a major concern unless you overpack your web site with oversize and/or excessively high-resolution images in large quantity.
- storyboard - a sketch our outline showing the basic navigation structure or arrangement of web pages in a web site, much like a storyboard used in the planning of a film creation.
- tables - A design feature of web pages (also found in most publishing software) which creates orderly rows, columns and cells for text and graphic web content. Tables may be made visible but are usually made invisible to the viewer. While table contents may look good in most browsers, some browser versions may display table contents poorly. Thus an invisible grid is often a better alternative.
- template - An cloned source file that is sometimes used to speed up the creation of web pages or other computer work. A web developer for example, will often be able to show you some templates of web sites. Templates are sometimes created in advance by web designers or obtained as part of a web creation program. Each time a new site is created the template may be copied after which the copy is customized.
- terminal - any online computer capable of connecting to the Internet.
- top level domain - A web address having its own dedicated domain name or vanity name such as "MyWebDomain.com" located at the web address <http://www.MyWebDomain.com>, before any slashes denoting subfolders. If you had a web address such as "http://www.MyOwnDomain.com/~office", that would NOT be a top level domain. It would be a page under the heirarchy of the top level domain.
- thumbnail - A very small graphic or picture possibly used as either navigation item or as a linked preview to a larger picture.
- top level domain -
- typography - The font options, resources, skills and textual works that are associated with publishing, including ":online publishing", ie the creation of web pages.
- UBE (unsolicited bulk e-mail) - Any e-mail message sent to multiple target e-mail addresses simultaneously wherein, loosely speaking the targets are people who have little or no direct prior relationship to the topic of the communications. UBE is usually but not always spam. An example of innocent UBE might include a mass party invitation from someone to all his or her acquaintances.
- upload - To transfer files or e-mail online to a server, usually located at an Internet service provider.
- URL (uniform resource locator) - The technical term for any web address. Each URL takes you to a different web site or page of that site.
- URL line - the space at the top of most Web browsers where you type in a web address (URL) in order to download a web page.
- user name - a unique word. name, or combination of letters and numbers that identify a user. Each customer of an Internet service provider has a user name unique in the customer list of that company. Likewise there are online groups and clubs such as those at Yahoo requiring you to pick a user name. A user name is typically required for each software program in your computer as well.
- watermark - an image that has been faded to a faint, almost transparent quality for publishing online or on printed matter. Often logotypes are places as watermarks. In web page design a watermark may be placed as a background image in web pages to remind the viewer of the web site identity or company name.
- web address - The string of letters and or numbers that take the visitor to your home page. A typical web address is something like <www.webserver.com/mybiz>.
- web browser - The particular software used by a web surfer to view the WorldWide Web and the overall Internet. Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Explorer are the predominant browser programs used by virtually all web surfers. Netscape was created long before Microsoft caught up. Microsoft virtually stole a captive customer base by creating features in Windows and the Mac OS which forced users to use Explorer by default until you figure out how to disable it. The two programs are probably equal in quality but I use Netscape by virtue of the fact that Netscape did not steal my loyalty.
- web developer - A person or firm who implements web site creation, design and maintenance using pre-existing software applications and in some cases programming.
- web guide - A printed or online magazine or directory which offers abundant links to interesting web sites or sites of a particular body of interest. Printed web guides and magazines like Yahoo can be found in most supermarkets. They are an ideal way to learn what's on the web or to promote your own web site, often free of charge through a press release or e-mail to the magazine.
- web surfer - someone who uses an online computer and web browser software to peruse the WorldWide Web.
- WorldWide Web (WWW) - Informally known as "the Web", the vast majority of the recent and current portion of the Internet consisting mainly of web sites offering hyperlinks to the common public. Previous incarnations of the Internet prior to it becoming a public medium involved more archaic software and costly mainframes exchanging defense and academic data with little or no public participation. Public usage by anyone allows creation of democratic hyperlinks between any two points on the globe, thereby amounting to a web, much like a spider web. By using links and search engines to find a web site pertaining to a particular body of information a web surfer can ultimately find anything online info from anywhere on the globe if its web address is properly linked or made known. The WorldWide Web also refers to the global exchange of e-mail.
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