- RAM (Random-Access Memory)
- The memory used in most computers to store ongoing
work, and that also provides space to store the operating system and any applications
that are actually running at any given moment. When you turn off or restart
your computer, any contents stored in RAM disappear forever.
- When applied to URLs, relative means that in
the absence of the
tag, the link is relative to the current page's
URL in which the link is defined. This makes for shorter, more compact URLs
and explains why most local URLs are relative, not absolute.
- Request for Comment (RFC)
- Numbered documents maintained by the IETF that
contain the standards, procedures, and specifications of protocols, plus descriptions
of Internet environments, addressing schemes, and capabilities.
- Any HTML document or other item or service available
via the Web. URL point to resources.
- return (short for carriage return)
- In text files, a return causes the words on a
line to end and makes the display pick up at the leftmost location on the
line below. As used in this book, it means don't hit the Enter or Return key
in the middle of a line of HTML markup or a URL specification.
- A special Web-traveling program that wanders
widely, following and recording URLs and related titles for future reference
in search engines.
- ROM (Read-Only Memory)
- A form of computer memory that allows values
to be stored only once; after the data is initially recorded, the computer
can only read the contents. ROMs are used to supply constant code elements
like bootstrap loaders, network addresses, and other more or less unvarying
programs or instructions. The contents of ROM remain even after the computer
is switched off.
- A special-purpose piece of Internet-working gear
that makes it possible to connect networks together, a router is capable of
reading the destination address of any network packet. It can forward the
packet to a local recipient if its address resides on any network that the
router can reach, or on to another router if the packet is destined for delivery
to a network that the current router cannot access.
- The glowing part on the front of your computer
monitor where you see the Web do its thing (and anything else your computer
might like to show you).
- scripting language
- A special kind of programming language that is
read and executed by a computer at the same time (which means that the computer
figures out what to do with it when it appears in a document or at the time
with Web use).
- search engine
- A special Web program that can search the contents
of a database of available Web pages and other resources to provide information
that relates to specific topics or keywords supplied by a user.
- search tools
- Any of a number of programs (see Chapter 16)
that can permit HTML documents to become searchable, using the <ISINDEX>
tag to inform the browser of the need for a search window, and behind-the-scenes
indexing and anchoring schemes to let users locate particular sections of
or items within a document.
- A powerful UNIX-based text-editing program that
makes it easy to locate and manipulate text elements within any of a number
- A computer on a network whose job is to listen
for particular service requests and to respond to those that it knows how
- service provider
- An organization that provides individuals or
other organizations with access to the Internet. Service providers usually
offer a variety of communications options for their customers, ranging from
analog telephone lines, to a variety of higher-bandwidth leased lines, to
ISDN and other digital communications services.
- When negotiating a network connection, the phase
at the beginning of the communications process is called the setup. At this
point, protocol details, communication rates, and error-handling approaches
are worked out, allowing the connection to proceed correctly and reliably
- SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)
- An ISO standard document definition, specification,
and creation mechanism that makes platform and display differences across
multiple computers irrelevant to the delivery and rendering of documents.
- Software, available by various means, that users
can run for free for a trial period. When that trial period expires, users
must register and purchase the software, or they must discontinue its use.
- singleton tag
- An HTML tag that does not require the use of
a closing tag.
- SLIP (Serial Line Interface Protocol)
- A relatively old-fashioned TCP/IP protocol used
to manage telecommunications between a client and a server that treats the
phone line as a "slow extension" to a network.
- SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
- An underlying protocol and service used for Internet-based
- A formal document that describes the capabilities,
functions, and interfaces for a specific piece of software, a markup language,
or a communications protocol.
- spider (a.k.a. Web spider, Webcrawler)
- A Web-traversing program that tirelessly investigates
Web pages and their links, while storing information about its travels for
inclusion in the databases typically used by search engines.
- stdin (UNIX standard input device)
- The default source for input in the UNIX environment,
stdin is the input source for CGI programs as well.
- stdout (UNIX standard output device)
- The default recipient for output in the UNIX
environment, stdout is the output source for Web browsers and servers as well
(including CGI programs).
- In HTML documents, we refer to superstructure
as the layout and navigational elements used to create a consistent look and
feel for Web pages belonging to a document set.
- syntax checker
- A program that checks a particular HTML document's
markup against the rules that govern its use; a recommended part of the testing
regimen for all HTML documents.
- Literally, the formal rules for how to speak,
we use syntax in this book to describe the rules that govern how HTML markup
looks and behaves within HTML documents. The real syntax definition for HTML
comes from the SGML Document Type Definition (DTD).
- The formal name for an element of HTML markup,
usually enclosed in angle brackets (< >).
- TCP (Transmission Control Protocol; see TCP/IP)
- The transport layer protocol for the TCP/IP suite,
TCP is a reliable, connection-oriented protocol that usually guarantees delivery
across a network.
- TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
- The name for the suite of protocols and services
used to manage network communications and applications over the Internet.
- When a network communication session is ending,
the two computers agree to stop talking, and then systematically break the
connection, and recover the port addresses and other resources used for the
session. This process is called teardown.
- Literally, someone who's afraid of technology,
this term is more commonly applied to those who don't want to understand technology,
simply to use it!
- The Internet protocol and service that lets you
take a smart computer (your own, probably) and make it emulate a dumb terminal
over the network. Briefly, Telnet is a way of running programs and using capabilities
on other computers across the Internet.
- Literally, a model to imitate, we use the term
template in this book to describe the skeleton of a Web page, including the
HTML for its heading and footer, and a consistent layout and set of navigation
- terminal emulation
- The process of making a full-fledged, standalone
computer act like a terminal attached to another computer, terminal emulation
is the service that Telnet provides across the Internet.
- test plan
- The series of steps and elements to be followed
in conducting a formal test of software or other computerized systems; we
strongly recommend that you write -- and use -- a test plan as a part of your
Web publication process.
- text controls
- Any of a number of HTML tags, including both
physical and logical markup, text controls provide a method of managing the
way that text appears within an HTML document.
- A method of browser operation that displays characters
only. Text-mode browsers cannot display graphics without the assistance of
- Another measure of communications capability,
this term refers to the amount of data that can be "put through" a connection
in a given period of time. It differs from bandwidth in being a measure of
actual performance, rather than a theoretical maximum for the medium involved.
- A miniature rendering of a graphical image, used
as a link to the full-sized version.
- The text supplied between
. . .
defines the text that shows up on that page's
title bar when displayed, and is also used as data in many Web search engines.
- TMP directories
- Special working directories, normally associated
with Microsoft Windows operating systems, where temporary files are created
and manipulated while programs are executing.
- token ring
- The second most common type of local-area networking
technology in use, token ring is always and forever associated with IBM, since
they helped to develop and perfect this type of network. It takes its name
from passing around special permits to transmit called tokens, in a ring-shaped
pattern around the network, to give all attached devices a fair chance to
broadcast information whenever they must.
- transparent .GIF
- A specially rendered .GIF image that takes on
the background color selected in a browser capable of handling such .GIFs.
This makes the graphic blend into the existing color scheme and provides a
more professional-looking page.
- tree structure(d) (see also hierarchical structure)
- Computer scientists like to think of hierarchies
in graphical terms, which makes them look like upside-down trees (single root
at the top, multiple branches below). File systems and genealogies are examples
of tree-structured organizations that we all know, but they abound in the
computer world. This structure also works well for certain Web document sets,
especially larger, more complex ones.
- UNIX shell
- The name of the command-line program used to
manage user-computer interaction, the shell can also be used to write CGI
scripts and other kinds of useful programs for UNIX.
- The operating system of choice for the Internet
community at large, and the Web community, too, UNIX offers the broadest range
of tools, utilities, and programming libraries for Web server use.
- URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)
- Any of a class of objects that identify resources
available to the Web; both URLs and URNs are instances of URIs.
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
- The primary naming scheme used to identify Web
resources, URLs define the protocols to use, the domain name of the Web server
where a resource resides, the port address to use for communication, and a
directory path to access named Web files or resources.
- URL-encoded text
- A method for passing information requests and
URL specification to Web servers from browsers, URL encoding replaces spaces
with plus signs (+) and substitutes special hex codes for a range of otherwise
unreproducable characters. This method is used to pass document queries from
browsers to servers (for the details, please consult Chapter 12).
- URN (Uniform Resource Name)
- A permanent, unchanging name for a Web resource,
URNs are seldom used in today's Web environment. They do, however, present
a method guaranteed to obtain access to a resource, as soon as the URN can
be fully resolved (it sometimes consists of human or organizational contact
information, rather than resource location data).
- An Internet protocol and service that provides
access to a vast array of named newsgroups, where users congregate to exchange
information and materials related to specific topics or concerns.
- CCITT standard for a 9.6 Kbps two-wire full duplex
modem operating on a regular dial-up or 2-wire leased lines.
- Newer higher-speed CCITT standard for full-duplex
transmission on two-wire leased and dial-up lines at rates from 4.8 to 14.4
- The newest high-speed CCITT standard for full-duplex
transmission on two-wire leased and dial-up lines at rates from 4.8 to 28.8
- CCITT error correction standard that can be used
with V.32, V.32bis, and V.34.
- CCITT data compression standard, capable of compressing
files on-the-fly at an average rate of 3.5:1. It can yield speeds of up to
38.4 Kbps on a 9.6 Kbps modem, and up to 115.2 Kbps on a 28.8 modem. If your
modem can do this, try to find an Internet service provider that also supports
V.42bis. This feature pays for itself very quickly.
- The VAX is a Digital Equipment Corporation computer
in wide use; VMS (Virtual Memory System) names the proprietary operating system
that many of these machines run, but many VAXes run UNIX instead.
- A search tool for navigating the global collection
of Gopher servers, collectively referred to as Gopherspace.
- WAIS (Wide-Area Information Service)
- A collection of programs that implement a specific
protocol for information retrieval, able to index large-scale collections
of data round the Internet. WAIS provides content-oriented query services
to WAIS clients and is one of the more powerful Internet search tools available.
- Web pages
- Synonym for HTML documents, we use Web pages
in this book to refer to sets of related, interlinked HTML documents, usually
produced by a single author or organization.
- Web server
- A computer, usually on the Internet, that plays
host to httpd and related Web-service software.
- Web site
- An addressed location, usually on the Internet,
that provides access to the set of Web pages that correspond to the URL for
a given site; thus a Web site consists of a Web server and a named collection
of Web documents, both accessible through a single URL.
- Shorthand for the World-Wide Web (or W3), we
also use Web in this book to refer to a related, interlinked set of HTML documents.
- white space
- The "breathing room" on a page, this refers to
parts of a display or document unoccupied by text or other visual elements.
A certain amount of white space is essential to make documents attractive
- Windows (a.k.a. MS-Windows)
- Microsoft's astonishingly popular (and sometimes
frustrating) GUI environment for PCs, Windows is the GUI of choice for most
desktop computer users.
- The Windows version of a once-popular Web browser
developed at MCC, now long since supplanted by Netscape Navigator and Microsoft's
- World Wide Web (a.k.a. WWW or W3) the
complete collection of all Web servers available on the Internet, which comes
as close to containing the "sum of human knowledge" as anything we've ever
- WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)
- A term used to describe text editors or other
layout tools (like HTML authoring tools) that attempt to show their users
on screen what final, finished documents will look like.
- X Windows
- The GUI of choice for UNIX systems, X Windows
offers a graphical window, icon, and mouse metaphor similar to (but much more
robust and powerful than) Microsoft Windows.
| Bonus Chapters | FTP
Resources | Site Overview | Book
Contents | Book URLs | Book
Examples | Wayfinding Toolkit | Contact
E-mail: HTML For Dummies
Webmaster: Natanya Pitts, LANWrights
Revised -- January 16, 1998