HTML 4 For Dummies - Bonus Chapters

A-F


 

absolute
When used to modify pathnames or URLs, it means a full and complete file specification (as opposed to a relative one), including a host identifier, as well as a complete volume and path specification.

acceptable use
A doctrine originally formulated by the National Science Foundation restricting the Internet to research and academic, but not commercial, use. This is also sometimes called an Acceptable Use Policy, or AUP.

ActiveX control
A Microsoft programming technology, with its own associated specification and development environment, used to create interactive Internet and intranet-based Web applications, primarily for use with the Internet Explorer Web browser.

alpha test
The testing on software performed by the developers, usually during the development process; also, the first of several stages in the software testing process (see beta test).

anchor
In HTML, an anchor is a tagged text or graphic element that acts as a link to another location inside or outside a given document, or it may be a location in a document that acts as the destination for an incoming link. The latter definition is most commonly how we use it in this book.

animation
A computerized process of creating moving images by rapidly advancing from one still image to the next.

anonymous ftp
A type of Internet file access that relies on the File Transfer Protocol service, where any user can typically access a file collection by logging in as anonymous, and supplying his or her username as a password.

AppleScript
The scripting language for the Macintosh operating system, used to build CGI programs for Macintosh-based Web servers.

Archie
An Internet-based archival search facility, based on databases of file and directory names taken from anonymous ftp servers around the Internet.

ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Administration)
See DARPA.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
A binary encoding method for character data that translates symbols, letters, and numbers into digital form.

attribute
In HTML tags, an attribute is a named characteristic associated with a specific tag. Some attributes may be required, while others may be optional. Some attributes may also take values (if so, the syntax is ATTRIBUTE="value") or not, depending on the particular tag and attribute involved (Chapter 6 provides tag information, including attributes, in alphabetical order).

AUP (Acceptable Use Policy)
See acceptable use.

authoring software
In the context of HTML, authoring software refers to 7programs that understand HTML tags and their proper placement. Some such programs can even enforce HTML syntax rules; others can convert from word-processing or document-formatting programs to HTML.

AVI (Audio Visual Interleaved)
Microsoft's Video for Windows standard format; found on many CD-ROMs.

awk
A powerful scripting language included with most implementations of UNIX, awk supplements the file-processing capabilities of the UNIX shells, including pattern-matching of fields and C-like structured programming constructs.

back end
The server-side of client/server is called the back end because it is usually handled by programs running in obscurity on the server, out of sight (and mind) for most users.

Backus-Naur Format (BNF grammar)
A representational notation developed to completely and formally describe computer programming languages.

bandwidth
Technically, bandwidth is the range of electrical frequencies a device can handle; more often, it's used as a measure of a communications technology's carrying capacity.

Basic (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)
A programming language, Basic (also called BASIC) is easy to learn and use. The most popular implementations are Microsoft's QuickBasic and Visual Basic.

beta test
The phase of software testing where a program or system is turned over to a select group of users outside the development organization for use in more or less real-life situations.

body
The body is one of the main identifiable structures in any HTML document. It is usually trapped between the head information and the footer information.

bookmark
A reference from a saved list of URLs kept by the Netscape Web browser. Bookmarks allow quick loading of a Web site without retyping the URL. Bookmarks work the same as Microsoft Internet Explorer's favorites..

browser
A Web access program that can request HTML documents from Web servers and render such documents on a user's display device (see also client).

BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution)
A particularly important flavor of UNIX in the late 1970s and 1980s, when most important enhancements and add-ons to UNIX appeared first in this version (like TCP/IP).

BTW
Acronym for "By The Way"; commonly used in e-mail messages.

bugs
Small verminous creatures that sometimes show up in software in the form of major or minor errors, mistakes, and gotchas. Bugs got their name from insects found in antiquated tube-based computers of the late 1950s and early 1960s that were attracted to the glow of the filament in a tube.

C
A programming language developed at AT&T Bell Laboratories, C remains the implementation language for UNIX and the UNIX programmer's language of choice.

CSS1 (Cascading Style Sheets Level 1)
A style sheet standard that lets authors attach preferred style sheets to Web documents, while allowing readers to associate their own personal styles to those same documents.

case sensitive
Means that the way computer input is typed is significant; for instance HTML tags can be typed in any mixture of upper- and lowercase, but because HTML character entities are case sensitive, they must be typed exactly as reproduced in this book.

CD-ROM (Compact Disk-Read-Only Memory)
A computer-readable version of the audio CD, CD-ROMs can contain up to 650 MB of data, making them the distribution media of choice for many of today's large (some would say even bloated) programs and systems.

CERN (Centre Europeen Recherche Nucleaire)
The Center for High-Energy Physics in Geneva, Switzerland; the birthplace of the World Wide Web.

character entity
A way of reproducing strange and wonderful characters within HTML, character entities take the form &string; where the ampersand (&) and semicolon are mandatory metacharacters, and string names the character to be reproduced in the browser. Because character entities are case sensitive, the string between the ampersand and the semicolon must be reproduced exactly as written in Chapter 7 of this book.

character mode
When referring to Web browsers, character mode (also called textmode) means that such browsers can reproduce text data only. They cannot produce graphics directly, without the assistance of a helper application.

clickable map
A graphic in an HTML file that has had a pixel coordinate map file created for it, to allow regions of the graphic to point to specific URLs for graphically oriented Web navigation.

client/server
A model for computing that divides computing into two separate roles, usually connected by a network: The client works on the end-user's side of the connection and manages user interaction and display (input and output, and related processing), while the server works elsewhere on the network and manages data-intensive or shared-processing activities, like serving up the collections of documents and programs that a Web server typically manages.

client
The end-user side of the client/server arrangement, the term "client" typically refers to a consumer of network services of one kind or another. A Web browser is therefore a client program that talks to Web servers.

client-side image map
The same as a server-side image map, except that the hot spot definitions are stored within the HTML document on the client side, rather than in a map file stored on the server.

common controls
When designing HTML documents, most experts recommend using a set of consistent navigation controls throughout a document (or collection of documents) to provide a consistent frame of reference for document navigation.

Common Gateway Interface (CGI)
The specification that governs how Web browsers communicate with and request services from Web servers; also the format and syntax for passing information from browsers to servers via HTML forms or document-based queries. The current version of CGI is 1.1.

computing platform
A way of designating what kind of computer someone is using, this term encompasses both hardware (type of machine, processor, etc.) and software (the operating system and applications).

content
For HTML, content is its raison d'etre; although form is important, content is why users access Web documents and why they come back for more.

convention
An agreed-upon set of rules and approaches that allows systems to communicate with one another and work together.

Cougar
The official nickname for the HTML 4.0 specification.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration)
A U.S. Department of Defense agency that supplied cash and some of the expertise that led to development of the Internet, among other interesting things.

dedicated line
A telephone line dedicated to computerized communications; a dedicated line may be operated continuously (24 hours a day) by its owner. In this book, such lines usually provide a link to an Internet service provider.

default
In general computer-speak, a default is a selection that's made automatically in a program, instruction, or whatever when no selections are made explicitly. For HTML, the default is the value assigned to an attribute when none is supplied.

desktop (a.k.a. desktop machine)
The computer a user typically has on his or her desktop; a synonym for end-user computer or computer.

dial-up
A connection to the Internet (or some other remote computer or network) made by dialing up an access telephone number.

directory path
Device and directory names needed to locate a particular file in a given file system; for HTML, UNIX-style directory paths usually apply.

DNS (Domain Name Service)
See domain names.

document headings
The class of HTML tags that we refer to as . Document headings allow authors to insert headings of various sizes and weights (from 1 to 6) to add structure to a document's content. As structural elements, headings identify the beginning of a new concept or idea.

document structure
For HTML, this refers to the methods used to organize and navigate within HTML documents or related collections of documents.

document
The basic unit of HTML information, a document refers to the entire contents of any single HTML file. Since this doesn't always correspond to normal notions of a document, we refer to what could formally be called HTML documents more or less interchangeably with Web pages, which is how such documents are rendered by browsers for display.

document-based queries
One of two methods of passing information from a browser to a Web server, document-based queries are designed to pass short strings of information to the server, using the METHOD="GET" HTTP method of delivery. This method is typically used for search requests or other short lookup operations.

DoD (Department of Defense)
The folks who paid the bills for and operated the earliest versions of the Internet.

domain names
The names used on the Internet as part of a distributed database to translate computer names into physical addresses and vice versa.

DOS (Disk Operating System; see also operating system)
The underlying control program used to make most Intel-based PCs run. Microsoft's MS-DOS is the most widely-used implementation of DOS, and provides the scaffolding atop which its 3.x versions of MS-Windows software run.

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.

Dynamic HTML
The technologies used to make Web pages change on the fly based on user input without requesting a new document from the server.

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.

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

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.

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 art form and contain some of the funniest and most opaque language we've ever seen (also, the most tragic for their unfortunate recipients).

Ethernet
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.

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.

Favorites
References from a saved list of URLs kept by the Internet Explorer Web browser. Favorites allow quick loading of a Web site without retyping the URL. Favorites work the same as Netscape Navigator's bookmarks.

file extension
A three or more-character suffix after a period character at the end of DOS, Windows, and UNIX filenames. File extensions are generally required by computers to tell DOS or Windows what program should be used to open the file. On a Macintosh, file extensions are not needed and are generally used for DOS/Windows compatibility.
flame
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.

flamewar
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).

footer
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.

forms
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.

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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