- 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,
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- The scripting language for the Macintosh operating
system, used to build CGI programs for Macintosh-based Web servers.
- 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
- A binary encoding method for character data that
translates symbols, letters, and numbers into digital form.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- A Web access program that can request HTML documents
from Web servers and render such documents on a user's display device (see
- 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).
- Acronym for "By The Way"; commonly used in e-mail
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- An agreed-upon set of rules and approaches that
allows systems to communicate with one another and work together.
- The official nickname for the HTML 4.0 specification.
- DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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Revised -- January 16, 1998