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                                    Glossary of useful terms

ActiveX is a programming/scripting language developed by Microsoft to produce animations and interactivity when run in web browsers. ActiveX has been blamed at times for introducing viruses to users' machines when used as a vehicle by hackers.

Apache is a free open source program used by web servers to handle web requests and serve up web resources.

Bandwidth is the amount of information that may be transmitted at any given time along a data line and is usually measured in Megabits per second. An analogy would be a water pipe where a larger diameter pipe can carry more water per second than a narrow pipe.

Banner ad is an advertising banner displayed on sites to advertise a web site. If a user clicks on the banner it will take them to that site.

Banner impression when is a banner is displayed on someone else's web site.

Banner CTR stands for click through rate and means the ratio of persons who click through on the banner against the number of times the banner is displayed expressed as a percentage. This gives a measure of how effective the banner is.

Bounce is used to denote an e-mail that cannot reach its destination and is returned to sender.

Cache is an area on the hard disc of a computer where web pages and page elements (graphics etc) are stored when a page is downloaded from the Internet. If a page is revisited and the page, or elements of the page, are still held in cache then the computer will use the cache version to save time rather than download afresh. It also allows previously visited pages to be viewed offline.

CGI stands for Common Gateway Interface and is a standard way for data to be passed between web applications e.g. passing data from an online HTML form to a script on the server.

Channels are sometimes known as Webcasting or Push technology. The concept is that once you've subscribed to a channel, then instead of having to logon to a site to view the latest, the content is pushed onto your desktop in the background ready for immediate or later viewing. The hope of Channel providers is that they won't have to wait for you to visit them and that the process will be a bit like virtual television.

Chat is a bit like e-mail in real time. Users have conversations via the keyboard in "Chat rooms" with other users. Chat has been criticized for being addictive as well as concerns over unsuitable contact between children and adults. To join a chatroom you usually have to give your e-mail address and this can lead to spam.

Client is a term used to refer to any application that communicates with other applications and requests and receives data - for example a web browser. Most applications on the Internet are in a client-server relationship. The term is relative since an application may be a client to one application but a server to another - for example a proxy server.

Client-side script is a program or script that downloads and runs in a client application, such as a web browser. JavaScript is an example of client-side scripting.

Clipboard is a Windows program that holds text that has been cut or copied from other programs. Cutting or copying to Clipboard overwrites any previous content. Clipboard Viewer (if it's installed) can be opened by clicking on
Start> Programs> Accessories> System Tools> Clipboard Viewer.

Compressed files are those that have been put through a process to reduce their size. Image files such as GIF, PNG and JPEG are compressed before they are sent on the Internet to save download time.

Content Management System (CMS) A standard HTML website is static and fixed. Which means that to change any text and images, the page files that make up the site must be edited then uploaded to the web server. To do this you either have to be a web programmer or you have to hire one. With a content management system, the content within the pages that make up the site is not pre-written into the pages, but pulled from an online database when a user requests a page. You have the ability to alter the content within the database at any time via an easy to use administration interface with your web browser. The logon to your administration uses a secure password therefore no one else can alter your website.

Cookies are small files that can be created and written to by a programming/scripting language. The most common are JavaScript cookies that are read/written to a user's hard drive by a JavaScript program that runs in the web browser when a user visits a web site. These are an example of client-side cookies but server-side cookies may be created by languages such as PHP. Many people consider cookies an invasion of privacy since they can be used to collect information about a user - however they can only collect information that the user is willing to submit via an online form.

Directory is a file that contains an index of files or other directories (i.e. sub directories). Usually called a folder in Windows.

Favorites (sometimes called bookmarks) a folder in Internet Explorer used to store shortcuts of web sites you wish to return to. Once in place all you need do is click on the link and the browser takes you to the site.

Firewall is a type of proxy server with additional features. Firewalls are usually placed between the users of a LAN and the Internet (some ISPs also use firewalls). The firewall can be set to screen for incoming viruses and only allow access to certain resources on the Internet as a security measure. It can also cache previously visited sites to avoid excessive use of bandwidth.

Folder see directory

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is the protocol used to transmit files over the Internet.

FTPC (File Transfer Protocol Client) is a client application used to upload and download files from a remote server using FTP.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a compressed graphic file normally used for images (e.g. logos, cartoons, etc) that do not require too many colors (maximum 256). The file name takes the form of filename.gif.

History is a folder in Internet Explorer that stores shortcuts of web pages you've visited in the order in which they were visited.

Host is a computer connected to the Internet.

HTML Hypertext Markup Language is the basic language used to write web pages. HTML is a mark up language and not a full-blown programming language so is therefore essentially static in nature. HTML is parsed by your web browser when a web page downloads and consists of tags (commands to tell the browser how to render the text, where to load in graphics etc on the web page) as well as the actual text.

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is the protocol used to transmit web pages over the Internet.

Hyperlinks are text (normally a different color to the surrounding text and underlined) or images which when you click on them load in a different part of the web page you're on or load in a new web page. Clicking on the link sends an HTTP request for a resource held on a host server on the Internet.

ISP Internet Service Provider.

ISPTAG A domain name requires an ISPTAG to register which company is hosting the domain. This can be easily changed when moving your domain name to a new hosting company.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a compressed graphic file normally used for images (e.g. photographs) that require many colors (i.e. millions). The file name takes the form of filename.jpg.

LAN (Local Area Network) is a collection of computers linked together by an enclosed network.

Metatags are HTML tags that are written into the head section of an HTML page and convey different kinds of information, but don't actually show on the page as text. For example the title, description and keywords for the page. Some search engines use metatags to index pages.

News Groups are electronic bulletin boards where messages can be posted (similar to an e-mail) and then read and replied to by anyone who subscribes to the News Group (subscription costs nothing). There are thousands covering all sorts of interests, many eccentric.

Notepad is a Windows program normally used as a text editor. Notepad (if it's installed) can be opened by clicking on
Start> Programs> Accessories> Notepad. Some scripts require being edited with a text editor.

Path is a description of the position of a file or folder in relation to other folders on a drive. e.g. if you had a file called chick.txt inside a folder called egg inside another folder called nest in the root directory of drive C, its path would be C:\nest\egg\chick.txt.

Perl Practical Extraction and Reporting Language is an open source server side programming language extensively used for web scripts and to process data passed via the Common Gateway Interface from HTML forms etc. Perl scripts are not embedded within HTML pages and do not download to the web browser but reside on the server. They execute by being triggered from commands within HTML pages or other scripts and may produce HTML output that does download to the web browser.

PHP PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is an open source server side programming language extensively used for web scripts and to process data passed via the Common Gateway Interface from HTML forms etc. PHP can be written as scripts that reside on the server and may produce HTML output that downloads to the web browser. Alternatively, PHP can be embedded within HTML pages that are then saved with a .php file extension. The PHP sections of the page are then parsed by the PHP engine on the server and the PHP code stripped out before the page is downloaded to the web browser. The name is a bit of a programming joke (if there is such a thing) since it's a recursive acronym i.e. the P in PHP stands for PHP.

PICS stands for Platform for Internet Content Selection. This lays down a standard for filtering content. Their website can be found at http://www.w3.org/PICS/. Your web browser can be set to exclude web sites with a particular PICS rating (or web sites that don't have a PICS rating). A web site owner can visit the PICS site and fill in a questionnaire that will produce the required code to paste into the web site pages to give the site a PICS rating.

Plug-in is a program added to a web browser in order to add multimedia capabilities. e.g. Flash plug-in, Java plug-in.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is a compressed graphic file normally used for images. The file name takes the form of filename.png.

POP stands for Post Office Protocol and is the standard protocol used to send and receive e-mail.

Protocol is an agreed way for two computers to communicate. e.g. http:// tells your web browser that the data downloading is Hypertext Transfer Protocol and should be rendered as a web page.

Proxy Servers are used by ISPs and other organizations to save bandwidth. Proxy servers can intercept requests and check to see if they hold a copy of the requested resource in cache. If the proxy server does has a copy it will send this back instead of passing the request on. This can sometimes lead to "stale" (out of date) versions of pages being served up instead of more recent versions.

Reciprocal Link is a link agreement between two web sites where each site places a link on its site to the other.

Search Engines are web sites set up to allow users to search for web sites dedicated to particular subjects. The term search engine normally refers to sites that use robot programs to index other web sites, as opposed to online directories that use human editors to index other web sites.

Search Engine Optimization describes methods used to make web pages attractive to search engines and benefit from high listings. Here you will find more information on search engine optimization.

Server describes any application that serves another - for example the computers that hold web pages are called servers since they serve up web resources to client applications such as web browsers.

Server-side script is a program or script that runs on a web server but does not download to a web browser (although it may download output from the script). There are a number of server-side scripting languages such as PHP and Perl that require an appropriate interpreter to be installed on the server.

Shortcuts are small files that hold information about where a file is located. Clicking on a shortcut causes the file by the same name to open up.

Spam is unsolicited e-mail. The term spamming is also sometimes used by search engines to mean web sites that try to gain a higher listing by submitting hundreds of almost identical pages or by inserting hundreds of keywords within a web document.

SSL Secure Sockets Layer protocol is a method of passing sensitive information, such as credit card details, over the Internet. All communication is encryted to prevent eavesdropping. An SSL URL is preceded by https:// instead of http:// although this may sometimes be hidden and still appear as http://.

Telnet is a protocol used to logon to a remote computer. The method provides a remote console allowing resident commands to be implemented.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is often called an Internet Address. It normally takes the form protocol:// host/ directory/ filename.

Webmail is a way of accessing your email online, as opposed to downloading it onto your computer into a programme such as Outlook Express. DidItMyself.net Webmail can be accessed straight from our homepage.

ZIP file is a file that has been compressed in order to take up less space on a hard drive or download faster over the Internet.