A Glossary of Terms for the World Wide Web Newcomer

If you're new to the World Wide Web, the jargon can be confusing, bewildering, and downright intimidating. The following list is by no means comprehensive, but does offer a reasonable introduction to terms and phrases you may hear bantered about in WWW discussions.

(also referred to as Aiff-c) A compressed version of Aiff.
A format common on Silicon Graphics UNIX workstations and Apple Macintosh computer systems. It allows a variety of recording rates and bits. This format is supported by most browsers.
A small application written in the Java programming language that requires a browser or other special applications to run properly.
(American Standard Code for Information Interchange) The world-wide standard for code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lowercase Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, and so on.
An audio format that provides a 2:1 compression ratio and is similar in quality and file size to the Aiff and Wav formats. Au is a format originally employed on NEXT and Sun workstations. It is a very popular format and is supported by most browsers.
A high-speed line that forms a major route for information within a network.
A measure of how much information can be sent through any given connection. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second.
Commonly used as a measure for how many bits a modem can send or receive per second.
(fromBINaryHEXadecimal) A method of converting non- text files (nonASCII) into ASCII.
An attribute of the IMG tag that specifies the width of the border that surrounds a particular image. In the command <IMG SRC="tom.gif" BORDER=0> no border will be visible around the image named "tom.gif".
(bits per second) A measure of speed for how much data (measured in bits) can be transferred per second. A 14.4 modem can move 14,400 bits per second.
An application program used to view Internet content. Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are two popular browsers.
Usually eight bits that represent a single character.
Cascading Style Sheets
An HTML extension that allows sophisticated formatting of HTML documents.
The directory name, on a Web server, in which CGI scripts are stored. Some servers have one cgi-bin directory. Other servers provide a cgi-bin directory for each customer.
CGI Script
A small program, traditionally written in a scripting language like Perl, that is used to communicate between the server and browsers. This definition is usually extended to include small programs written in C, C++, or other compiled languages.
(Common Gateway Interface) A Protocol that describes how a Web server maintains a "dialog" with other pieces of software on the same machine.
Clickable Image Map
A map with a set of "hot spots." Clicking these hot spots will load another URL or execute a command.
Client-Side Image Map
Image maps where the map coordinates and URLs are downloaded to the client. This is a much more efficient and desirable arrangement than the older server-side image maps. The only drawback is not all browsers support client-side image maps.
An application program that gets information from a server. There are many types of clients; Web browsers are good examples of clients.
Persistent Client State HTTP Cookies are mechanisms that can be set and monitored by the server on the client side to track information about the client.
Domain Name
A unique name used to identify an Internet site. Common examples include www.netscape.com, ftp.microsoft.com, vrml.sgi.com, www.svsu.edu.
Drop Shadow
An effect commonly used to make it appear as though an image is casting a shadow onto an HTML page.
Messages that are sent from one person to another electronically. These messages can include text, graphics, and audio information.
A common standard of connecting LANS.
(Fiber Distributed Data Interface) A high-speed standard for transmitting data, approximately 10 times faster than ethernet.
Fire Wall
A hardware and software barrier constructed between a LAN and the Internet to provide security.
Helvetica, Arial, and Comic Sans MS are all examples of font faces. Or the FACE attribute that lets you specify a particular font used as <FONT FACE="Arial"> for example.
A special type of window defined by the FRAME tag.
(File Transfer Protocol) A method of moving files between two Internet sites.
(Graphics Interchange Format) A common image format. This file format can only represent 256 colors and is therefore best for representing line art or images with limited color range (unlike photographs or photo-realistic renderings). A GIF file may contain multiple images and therefore can be used for creating animations.
Hi-Res image
A relative term, but usually reserved for images that are at least larger than 720x486.
A computer that provides services to other computers on the network.
The elements of HTML that are used to define page elements. HR, H1, and IMG are all examples of HTML tags.
(HyperText Markup Language) The language used to create Web pages. This language is made up of a set of TAGS used to define page elements and ATTRIBUTES, which are applied to the tags.
(HyperText Transport Protocol) The method used for moving hypertext files across the Internet. HTTP expects a server for distributing content and a browser for viewing it.
A text or image reference that, when clicked by the user, loads an URL.
Text or graphics that contain links to other words, documents, applications, or multimedia content.
Image Maps
A series of coordinates that define "hot areas" for the user to click.
Interlaced GIF
A GIF image file where the scan lines are stored in an alternating order, so that as the image is read it appears to fade in or get sharper. Do not use this option for saving GIF images that you will use for GIF animations.
The storage of image scan lines in an order other than the traditional top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top order.
Internet Explorer
A popular Web browser created by Microsoft.
The vast interconnected global network that provides the means for world-wide electronic communication.
An internal network setup by an organization that uses the tools and protocols commonly found on the Internet for private use. Commonly used for corporate communication and other MIS functions.
IP Number
A number used to identify machines on the Internet. These are four-part numbers separated by periods. Even though many times "Domain Names" are used to connect to machines on the Internet, machines still do have, and must maintain their own, unique IP numbers.
(Integrated Services Digital Network) A method used to move digital data over phone lines at high speeds. Typically ISDN speeds are approximately 56,000 bits per second.
(Internet service provider) A company or institution that provides Internet access and services.
Java Developer's Kit (JDK)
A set of tools developed by Sun to help popularize the Java programming language.
A programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. Java includes a "byte-serve" interpreter on the client side that makes Java code portable across all platforms that run a Java-capable browser. Java applications (applets), can be written to perform almost any task from within the browser. Two limitations of applets are: their size must remain small or download time becomes extreme, and byte-code interpretation makes applets slow for computationally complex tasks.
A scripting language that runs in a browser and extends the browsers capability for specific interactions.
An image format that provides user-definable compression. Best used on photo-realistic content. For line art see GIF.
(Local Area Network) A computer network limited to a relatively small area (a room or an office building, for example).
The repeating of a series of frames. For GIF animations this is an attribute that can be explicitly built in during their construction.
An audio format that contains the "notes" of a song rather than digitized sound.
(Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) The standard for attaching non-text files to e-mail. Attachments can include graphics, audio files, application programs, and so on. Besides e-mail, the MIME standard is used by Web servers to identify the files they are sending to clients.
A format much like MIDI; it is a series of notes and instruments. In addition, Mod files include the samples of the instruments that are being used. Because of this, Mod files are much larger than MIDI files.
The original Web browser, this piece of software Put a UI on the Internet.
A compression scheme used to compress audio and video content. MPEG requires significant Processing Power to both encode and decode the content.
Multicolumn Tag
A Netscape extension that lets you create documents of multiple columns without using tables or frames.
Nested Frame
A frame placed inside an existing frame. Nesting frames makes creating sophisticated frame base documents easy.
Internet etiquette.
Netscape Navigator
The most popular Web browser. It was Netscape's willingness to embrace external technologies such as plug-ins that allowed many software companies to put diverse content on the Internet. Netscape's acceptance of Sun's Java Programming language increased the flexibility and power of the browser model.
Discussion groups on USENET.
(Networked Information Center) An office that handles information for a network. InterNIC is where domain names are registered and maintained.
An application program designed to add functionality to a browser (or in a broader sense, any other application). A common example would be an application that lets you view images of a new format.
A new image format that provides a superset of the GIF format's features, including full color and true transparency.
(Point of Presence) A location where an Internet connection can be established via dial-up phone fines.
(Point-to-Point Protocol) This is a protocol that lets you use a phone line and a modem to establish a TCP/IP connection to the Internet. You can use this protocol to be assigned a temporary or permanent IP address.
Progressive JPEG
A JPEG format where the image information is gradually downloaded. That is, a full-size, low-quality image initially appears, followed by successive passes that improve the image's quality. A progressive JPEG file takes no longer to download than a traditional JPEG file, and the end user can get a good idea of what the final image will look like with only 25 percent of the image downloaded.
An Apple multimedia format that can store images and audio.
Random Image Displayer
A CGI script that displays a series of images in a random order.
Either a plug-in or a format used to create and play streaming audio content.
Server-Side Image Map
An image map where the coordinate information and "URL" information is present on the server. This is an older technology and, for the most part, has been replaced by client-side image maps.
Usually a computer and a software package that provides a service to other computers connected to the network. For Internet users, this can be any one of thousands of servers that provide Web content.
Software distributed for a free trial period, usually lasting 30 days. If you find the software useful and want to continue using it beyond this trial period, you are required to pay the author the shareware fee. Shareware is not free unless expressly noted by the author.
A series of Macromedia plug-ins and associated formats that provide for the viewing and distribution of multimedia content.
(Serial Line Internet Protocol) This is a protocol that lets you use a phone line and a modem to establish a TCP/IP connection to the Internet. For the most part, this protocol is being replaced by PPP.
A Netscape extension that lets you add horizontal and vertical within HTML documents.
Streaming Audio
Audio downloaded at a rate greater than or equal to the rate that it is being played. Theoretically, streaming audio can play indefinitely.
(system operator) An individual responsible for the operation of a computer system or network.
A connection with a speed of l,544,000 bits per second. This speed is still less than what is required to broadcast full-screen, full-color, full- motion video (30 frames per second) in an uncompressed format.
A connection with a speed of 44,736,000 bits per second. This speed is more than enough for full-motion video.
(Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) This refers to the group of protocols used for transfer of data across the Internet; essential for all Internet connections.
Temporary Image
An image used as a placeholder when complex documents are being constructed and exact image dimensions are not known.
Tiled Image
A background image that repeats over and over. Sometimes, these images are carefully created so the seams between the repeated images are not visible.
Transparent Image
Images that contain transparency information. Currently, this is restrictive to GIF images where only one color can serve as the transparency color.
A multi-user operating system with TCP/IP built in, important because it is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.
(Uniform Resource Locator) Used to give addresses to resources located across the World Wide Web. For example: http://www.microsoft.com/help.
Virtual Reality
Popularly defined as a world created and accessed by using technology.
(World Wide Web Consortium) The body that sets standards for the HyperText Markup Language (HTML).
(wide area network) A network that covers an area larger than a single building. Its usage is rather arbitrary the difference between a LAN and a WAN is not always easily defined.
A new file format that provides storage of photo-realistic images. Most similar to JPEG.
The World Wide Web.

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