HTML for Dummies Glossary

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DTD (Document Type Definition)
a formal SGML specification for a document, a DTD lays out the structural elements and markup definitions that can then be used to create instances of documents.

dumb terminal
a display device with attached keyboard that relies on the intelligence of another computer to drive its display and interpret its keyboard inputs. Such devices were the norm in the heyday of the mainframe and minicomputer and are still widely used for reservation systems, point of sale, and other specialized-use applications.

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an abbreviation for electronic mail, e-mail is the preferred method for exchanging information between users on the Internet (and other networked systems).

electronic commerce
the exchange of money for goods or services via an electronic medium; many companies expect electronic commerce to do away with mail order and telephone order shopping by the end of the century.

encoded information
a way of wrapping computer data in a special envelope to ship it across a network, encoded information refers to data-manipulation techniques that change data formats and layouts to make them less sensitive to the rigors of electronic transit. Encoded information must usually be decoded by its recipient before it can be used.

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error message
information delivered by a program to a user, usually to inform him or her that things haven't worked properly, if at all. Error messages are an ill-appreciated artform and contain some of the funniest and most opaque language we've ever seen (also, the most tragic for its unfortunate recipients).

the most commonly used local-area networking technology in use today, Ethernet was developed at about the same time (and by many of the same people and institutions) involved in building the Internet.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Usenet newsgroups, mailing list groups, and other affiliations of like-minded individuals on the Internet will usually designate a more senior member of their band to assemble and publish a list of frequently asked questions, in an often futile effort to keep from answering them quite as frequently.

file extension
in DOS, this refers to the 3-letter part of a filename after the period; for UNIX, Macintosh, and other file systems, this refers to the string after the right-most period in a file name. File extensions are used to label files as to type, origin, and possible use.

used as a verb ("he got flamed") it means to be the recipient of a particularly hostile or nasty e-mail message; as a noun ("that was a real flame") it refers to such a message.

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what happens when two or more individuals start exchanging hostile or nasty e-mail messages; this is viewed by some as an art form, and is best observed on USENET or other newsgroups (where the alt.flame... or alt.bitch newsgroups would be good places to browse for examples).

the concluding part of an HTML document, the footer should contain contact, version, date, and attribution information to help identify a document and its authors.

in HTML forms are built on special markup that lets browsers solicit data from users and then deliver that data to specially-designated input-handling programs on a Web server. Briefly, forms provide a mechanism to let users interact with servers on the Web.

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front end
in the client/server model, the front end part refers to the client side; it's where the user views and interacts with information from a server; for the Web, browsers provide the front end that communicates with Web servers on the back end.

FTP (sometimes ftp; File Transfer Protocol)
an Internet file transfer service based on the TCP/IP protocols, FTP provides a way to copy files to and from FTP servers elsewhere on a network.

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a type of computer program that knows how to connect to two or more different kinds of networks, and to translate information from one side's format to the other's, and vice versa. Common types of gateways include e-mail, database, and communications.

an abbreviation for Graphics Information File, gif is one of a set of commonly used graphics formats within Web documents, because of its compressed format and compact nature.

a program/protocol developed at the University of Minnesota, Gopher provides for unified, menu-driven presentation of a variety of Internet services, including WAIS, Telnet, and FTP.

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in HTML documents, graphics are files that belong to one of a restricted family of types (usually GIF or JPEG) that are referenced via URLs for in-line display on Web pages.

an abbreviation for "general regular expresssion parser" grep is a standard UNIX program that looks for patterns found in files and reports on their occurrences. grep handles a wide range of patterns, including so-called "regular expressions" which can use all kinds of substitutions and wild cards to provide powerful search-and-replace operations within files.

GUI (Graphical User Interface)
(pronounced "gooey") GUIs are what make graphical Web browsers possible; they create a visually-oriented interface that makes it easy for users to interact with computerized information of all kinds.

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for HTML a heading is a markup tag used to add document structure. The term will sometimes be used to refer to the initial portion of an HTML document between the <HEAD> ... </HEAD> tags, where titles and context definitions are commonly supplied.

helper applications
today, browsers can display multiple graphics files (and sometimes other kinds of data); sometimes, browsers must pass particular files -- for instance, motion picture or sound files -- over to other applications that know how to render the data they contain. Such programs are called helper applications, because they help the browser deliver Web information to users.

hierarchical structure
a way of organizing Web pages using links that make some pages subordinate to others (see tree structured for another description of this kind of organization)

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history list
each time a user accesses the Web, his or her browser will normally keep a list of all the URLs visited during that session; this is called a history list, and provides a handy way to jump back to any page that's already been visited while online. History lists normally disappear when the browser program is exited, though.

A Web page that consists of a series of links to other pages, usually annotated with information about what's available on that link. Hotlists act like switchboards to content information, and are usually organized around a particular topic or area of interest.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
the SGML-derived markup language used to create Web pages. Not quite a programming language, HTML nevertheless provides a rich lexicon and syntax for designing and creating useful hypertext documents for the Web.

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http or HTTP (hypertext teleprocessing protocol aka hypertext transfer protocol)
the Internet protocol used to manage communication between Web clients (browsers) and servers.

httpd (http daemon)
the name of the collection of programs that runs on a Web server to provide Web services. In UNIX-speak, a daemon is a program that runs all the time listening for service requests of a particular type; thus, an httpd is a program that runs all the time on a Web server, ready to field and handle Web service requests.

a shorthand term for hypertext link, which is defined below.

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any of a variety of computer media -- including text, graphics, video, sound, etc. -- available through hypertext links on the Web.

a method of organizing text, graphics, and other kinds of data for computer use that lets individual data elements point to one another; a nonlinear method of organizing information, especially text.

hypertext link
in HTML, a hypertext link is defined by special markup that creates a user-selectable document element that can be selected to change the user's focus from one document (or part of a document) to another.

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image map:
a synonym for clickable image, this refers to an overlaid collection of pixel coordinates for a graphic that can be used to locate a user's selection of a region on a graphic, in turn used to select a related hypertext link for further Web navigation.

acronym for "In My Humble Opinion" mostly used in e-mail messages.

a psuedo-Teutonic synonym for Information Superhighway (taken from Autobahn, the German highway system), commonly used because it's shorter and "cooler" than Information Superhighway.

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Information Superhighway
the near-mythical agglomeration of the Internet, communications companies, telephone systems, and other communications media that politicians seem to believe will be the "next big thing" in business, academia, and industry. Many people believe that this highway is already here, and that it's called "the Internet."

input-handling program
for Web services, a program that runs on a Web server designated by the ACTION attribute of an HTML <FORM> tag, whose job it is to field, interpret, and respond to user input from a browser, typically by custom-building an HTML document in response to some user request.

someone who travels using the Internet (like "Astronaut" or "Argonaut").

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a worldwide collection of networks that began with technology and equipment funded by the US Department of Defense in the 1970s that today links users in nearly every known country, speaking nearly every known language.

IP (Internet Protocol; see TCP/IP)
IP is the specific networking protocol of the same name used to tie computers together over the Internet; IP is also used as a synonym for the whole TCP/IP protocol suite.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
an emerging digital technology for telecommunications that offers higher bandwidth and better signal quality than old-fashioned analog telephone lines. Not yet available in many parts of the US or in the rest of the world.

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ISO (International Standards Organization)
the granddaddy of standards organizations worldwide, the ISO is a body made of standards bodies from countries all over the place. Most important communications and computing standards -- like the telecommunications and character code standards mentioned in this book -- are the subject of ISO standards.

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JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts' Group, an industry association that has defined a particularly compressible format for image storage designed for dealing with complex color still images (like photographs). Files stored in this format usually take the extension .JPEG (except DOS or Windows machines, which are limited to the three-character .JPG equivalent). Today, JPEG is emerging as the graphics format standard of choice for use on W3.

Kbps (Kilobits per second)
a measure of communications speeds, in units of 210 bits per second (210 = 1024 which is just about 1,000 and explains the quasi-metric "K" notation).

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)
a self-descriptive philosophy that supposed to remind us to "eschew obfuscation" except it's easier to understand!

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LAN (Local-Area Network)
typically, one of a variety of communications technologies used to link computers together in a single building, building or campus environment

layout element
in an HTML document a layout element is a paragraph, list, graphic, horizontal rule, heading, or some other document component whose placement on a page contributes to its overall look and feel.

linear text
shorthand for old-fashioned documents that work like this book does: by placing one page after the other, ad infinitum in a straight line. Even though such books have indexes, pointers, cross-references, and other attempts to add linkages, they must be applied manually (rather than by clicking your mouse).


E-Mail: HTML for Dummies at html4dum@lanw.com
URL: http://www.lanw.com/html4dum/h4d1e/glossar2.htm
Text - Copyright © 1995, Ed Tittel & Steve James.
For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo and Dummies Press are trademarks or registered trademarks of Wiley Publishing, Inc. Used with Permission.
Web Layout - Copyright © 1995, LANWrights
Revised -- May, 2002 [MCB]