It seems that every industry has it's own internal language and jargon, and the internet business is the same. While we make every effort to explain things to our clients in clear, simple language, occasionally web-speak will creep in. We provide this incomplete glossary then as a service to you. And if ever we use a term you do not recognize, ask us; we'd be only too happy to explain.
- Literally a small application usually embedded into a web page. Often written in Java (a cross platform development language), applets are not that common today, as server side technologies have matured considerably.
- ASCII text
- American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is the basis of character sets used in almost all present day computers. ASCII text(pronounced ask-ee text), can be read by every computer system, including Windows, DOS, Unix, Macintosh or any other. ASCII, can be created in such applications as Notepad or SimpleText. Unlike Word documents, ASCII documents cannot be formatted, not can they render foreign characters (such as French accented vowels).
- Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site.
- Cascading Style Sheets
- Also known as CSS, it is a W3C Recommendation (Standard). Cascading Style sheets allow web developers the means to separate design considerations from structured, logical, semantic mark-up (see
HTML below). CSS attaches "formatting" to various page elements - for example a Heading in HTML <h1>Document Heading</h1> can be styled via CSS to display in different font faces, colors, sizes, etc.:
font-family:Georgia, Times New Roman, serif;
- Client-side scripting
- the process of web pages (yours or outsiders) linking to a specific document within a set or collection of documents, allowing users to bypass welcome pages, introductions, etc. (e.g. A direct link to page 5 of an 8 page series)
- i.e. of an HTML element. A deprecated element or attribute is one that has been outdated by newer constructs such as style sheets. Deprecated elements may become obsolete in future versions of HTML. However, due to legacy considerations, most of these elements will never be removed outright; however their continued usage moving forward is strongly discouraged. A current list of deprecated elements is provided in the Resources Section.
- The method by which a computer monitor/video card attempts to display a colour it is not capable of actually displaying. Depending on the quality of a user's system, their monitor screen may not be capable of displaying the millions of colours that newer or better quality machines are capable of. The monitor will attempt to approximate the requested colour, but often the loss of quality is severe. It is particularly notable when colours fade or gradually diminish.
- DOM (Document Object Model)
- The Document Object Model is a platform and language-neutral interface that will allow programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. The document can be further processed and the results of that processing can be incorporated back into the presented page. For technical details, see http://www.w3.org/DOM/
- Embedded objects
- Usually refers to Multi-media content or Applets which display within a web page, but are, in effect, stand alone applications or files which can also be "experienced" outside of the web page. For example, a QuickTime move may be embedded into a web page, or provided for down load to be viewed in the QuickTime Player. Flash content is also embedded within web pages.
- A Firewall is a system which limits network access between two or more networks. Normally, a Firewall is deployed between a trusted, protected private network and an untrusted public network. For example, the trusted network might be a corporate network (ie: Queens University), and the public network might be the Internet. A Firewall might grant or revoke access based on user Authentication, source and destination network addresses, network protocol, time of day, network service or any combination of these. These settings are normally controlled by the Network Administrator.
- A proprietary media format developed and marketed by macromedia (www.macromedia.com), Flash content is essential enriched animated media which is then embedded into web pages. While Flash has grown considerably in sophistication, it still presents accessibility issues for many users. Because it is proprietary, it requires a helper application to view the content, the macromedia shockwave player, which can be downloaded from the macromedia web site.
- Flesch Readability Index or Reading Ease score
- Analyzes and rates text on a 100-point scale; the higher the score, the easier it should be to understand. See also
- Flesch-Kincaid Grade Index or Grade Level score
- Analyzes and rates text according to U.S. grade-school levels. A score of 6.0 would mean that a sixth grader could understand the document.
- HTML - Hyper Text Markup Language
- the "code" used to mark-up text documents to make them into web pages
- Image Map
- A programatic method of applying "hot spots" or hyper-links to regions of a graphic file (image or photo). There are two types of image maps; client side and server side. Whenever possible, developers are encouraged to use client side image maps, where all link information is embedded within the HTML document. Server side image maps rely on server scripting to provide the link information (for example, the "zoom" feature on sites such as MapQuest)
- A client side scripting language, added to the web page. See Client Side scripting.
- Longdesc attribute
- When images on a web page convey a lot of information (more than what would be appropriate for an Alternative Text (ALT=" ")), developers can also add the LONGDESC attribute to the <img> declaration, which in turn references an external text file which describes the content of the image.
- Meta Data
- Information used to classify and identify specifics regarding any given web document. Each META element specifies a property/value pair. The name attribute identifies the property and the content attribute specifies the property's value. For example, the following Meta Data Element identifies the author of the document:
<meta name="author" content="John Foliot" />
- Open Source
- Often referred to as a movement, open source software (or other content) is publicly shared intellectual property. One of the best known, open source software applications today is the Linux operating system. All of the source code is "open" and available for any and all developers to add to and improve, on the condition that it remains open and free - the software cannot be sold (although "packaging" of the software, with manuals, CD's, etc. is permitted). Other popular open source applications include the Firefox web browser, the Apache web server, and the mySQL database format.
- PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
- A hand-held device such as a Palm Pilot, next-generation Cell Phone or RIM Blackberry. Many of these devices now provide the ability to access web content remotely, over wireless networks. Depending on the device, these tools can either display native HTML web content, or re-purpose web content into the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) mark up language, stripping the "web pages" of all imagery, but transmitting the text portion.
- Plug-ins are helper applications which can be downloaded and installed, extending functionality to web browsers. For example, to access Flash content, browsers require the shockwave plug-in; PDF files can be opened within the web browser if the Acrobat reader plug-in is installed.
- Pop-up Windows
- Proprietary formats
- In web development, this refers to formats which are developed, (usually) patented and marketed by for-profit entities. For example, the PDF file format is proprietary as it is developed and sold by Adobe. Some popular formats (such as PDF) may now also be produced by tools or companies other than the patent holder, but this usually requires a license from the patent holder.
- Rich Text Format (RTF)
- The Rich Text Format (RTF) Specification is a method of encoding formatted text and graphics for easy transfer between applications. Currently, users depend on special translation software to move word-processing documents between different MS-DOSŪ, Windows, OS/2, Macintosh, and Power Macintosh applications. The RTF Specification provides a format for text and graphics interchange that can be used with different output devices, operating environments, and operating systems. RTF uses the ANSI, PC-8, Macintosh, or IBM PC character set to control the representation and formatting of a document, both on the screen and in print. With the RTF Specification, documents created under different operating systems and with different software applications can be transferred between those operating systems and applications. RTF files created in Word 6.0 (and later) for the Macintosh and Power Macintosh have a file type of "RTF."
- RSS is an XML-based format (using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) - a language for representing information about resources in the World Wide Web) that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with other information, or metadata, that helps viewers decide whether they want to follow the link. RSS allows a person's computer to fetch and understand the information, so that all of the lists that person is interested in can be tracked and personalized for them. It is a format that's intended for use by computers on behalf of people, rather than being directly presented to them (like HTML).
- Serif and Sans-serif Fonts
- Font faces generally are classified into one of five categories Serif, Sans-serif, mono-spaced, fantasy and "dings" or glyphs. The most common fonts in widespread usage are either serif or sans-serif; both are considered "proportional fonts" as different letters will have different widths (i is narrower than w). The best known serif font is Times, or Times new Roman; the best known sans-serif is Arial or Helvetica. Serif fonts are generally considered better for printing, as the tiny serifs link the letters together (in the mind's eye) so that you see words, and not strings of letters. Studies have shown however, that sans-serif fonts actually produce less eye strain on computer monitors.
- Server-side scripting
- Scripting embedded within a web page which is processed by the web server (as opposed to the end user's browser). Common server side scripting languages include ASP, PHP, ColdFusion, CGI/Perl, JSP, etc. Server side scripting is the preferred method of implementing functionality into web pages, as developers have more control over their web server, and can more accurately control outcomes and results.
- Standard Generalized Markup Language. SGML is both a language and an ISO standard for describing information embedded within a document. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is based on the SGML standard.
- Synchronized Media Integration Language, a markup language designed to present multiple media files together. For instance, instead of using a video with an integrated soundtrack, a separate video and sound file can be used and synchronized via SMIL. This allows users to choose different combinations, eg, to get a different language sound track, and permits text transcripts to be optionally presented; both options have accessibility benefits.
- Stand-alone application
- As its name suggests, a stand alone application is one which does not require the web browser to access the digital files being provided. Microsoft Word (for example) is a stand alone application.
- Streaming Media
- Often, rich media (movies, audio, animation, etc.) can entail large file sizes due to their content. Streaming media refers to the method whereby once a certain percentage of the file has been transferred to the end user, it may be "launched", even though the complete file has not yet downloaded. In some instances (Internet Radio for example), there never may be an "end", none-the-less as long as digital content continues to be provided (the stream), the media player (embedded or stand-alone) will continue to display or present the material.
- Short for Extensible Markup Language, a specification developed by the W3C. XML is a pared-down version of SGML, designed especially for Web documents. It allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.