Glossary - P


a basic unit (or package) of data used to describe individual elements of online communications; in other words, data moves across networks like the Internet in packets.
the generic term for the HTML documents that Web users view on their browsers.
the basic elements of text within an HTML document, <P> is the markup tag used to indicate a paragraph break in text (the closing </P> tag is currently optional in HTML).
path, pathname (see directory path)
PC (personal computer)
today, PC is used as a generic term to refer to just about any kind of desktop computer; its original definition was as a product name for IBM's 8086-based personal computer, the IBM/PC.
a powerful, compact programming language that draws from the capabilities of languages like C, Pascal, sed, awk, and BASIC, Perl is emerging as the language of choice for CGI programs, partly owing to its portability and the many platforms on which it is currently supported, and partly owing to its ability to exploit system services in UNIX quickly and easily.
physical markup
any of a series of HTML markup tags that specifically control character styles (bold (<B>:) and italic (<I>)) or typeface (<TT>, for typewriter font).
pick list
generally, a list of elements displayed for user selection of one or more choices; in HTML, the result of the <SELECT> and <OPTION> tags to construct such a list for use in a form.
as used in this book, pipe generally refers to the bandwidth of the connection in use between a workstation and the Internet (or the server on the other end of the connection, actually).
plain text
usually refers to vanilla ASCII text, as created or viewed in a simple text-editing program.
synonym for computer.
port address
TCP/IP-based applications use the concept of port address to know which program to talk to on the receiving end of a connection. There may be many programs running on a computer at once -- including multiple copies of the same program -- a port address provides a mechanism to uniquely identify exactly which process the data should be delivered to.
POTS (Plain Old Telephone System)
the normal analog telephone system, just like the one you probably have at home.
PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol)
a modern, low-overhead serial communications protocol, typically used to interconnect two computers via modem. Most Web browsers require either a PPP or SLIP connection in order to work.
a formal, rigidly-defined set of rules and formats that computers use to communicate with one another.
provider (see service provider)


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Revised -- May, 2002 [MCB]