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Comprehensive Web Glossary

By Heshy Friedman

I was planning for my next blog entry to describe the different software that I use in designing and developing  websites. Upon starting the article, I realized that I would be using a lot of terms and acronyms that many people would be unfamiliar with. I therefore decided to put together a list of common terms regarding website design and development.

When I started this article, I thought it would be quick and easy. As I started compiling the entries, I realized just how many terms there are, and how extensive this would be. After almost three weeks of work, here it is. The next time you don’t know what I am talking about, just refer to this handy glossary.

Absolute URL
– A reference to a website page or file within the site structure of a website requiring the entire path (i.e. preceded by http://www…)

Address – The location of a web page on the Internet where it can be accessed.

Admin Section – A password protected area of a website where one can view and process certain items on the website that are not for public viewing.

AjaxClient-side coding on a website using JavaScript and XML that can send data to and post from a database on a web server. Ajax works in the background, without interfering with the display and not requiring a page refresh.

Alt Tag – Hidden attribute on an image that describes it in an HTML page. Alt tags are useful to search engines and can also show a tooltip text when the image is hovered over.

Analytics – Tool from Google that analyzes site usage, statistics, and website traffic.

Animated GIF – Type of graphic file that allows multiple frames, which can be compiled into a simple animation.

Apache – Type of HTTP web server software developed for use on Linux servers.

ASP – Acronym of Active Server Pages, which is Microsoft’s original server-side script engine for dynamically generated websites.

ASP.net – Web application framework developed by Microsoft for developing dynamic websites and web applications. ASP.Net is the successor of ASP.

Authorize.net – Popular merchant gateway software that can be integrated into a website in order to process credit card payments online.

Back-end – The part of a website where a website administrator can control certain aspects of the website.

Beta – Design, page, or website that is under development, either not fully completed or fully tested.

Bitmap – Describing an image such as a picture with fixed proportions, where if resized larger it will get distorted. See also Vector.

Blast – See Email Blast.

Blog – Type of website where one posts and publishes any type of information such as articles and musings. The most popular blog website engine is WordPress.

Bookmark – A browser function that places a shortcut to a specific website or webpage for easy reference.

Bot –Web scanning script that is programmed to search websites for specific content. Search engines use bots to scan a website for content to display on their searches.

Browser – A computer program that can access a web page and display its contents. Web pages are viewed in browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and  Google Chrome.

C# – Programming language that can be encoded in ASP.net and applied to web applications and dynamic website pages.

C Sharp – See C# (above)

Cache – Website content that is automatically stored on your computer after visiting a web page for faster subsequent loading.

Captcha – Set of random letters or numbers in graphic form that are placed in a form. The users type in what they see into a field to ensure they are human and not a spam bot.

CGI – A standardized method that allows web browsers to execute server-side web scripting code within several web scripting languages.

Checkout – The final purchasing process in an Ecommerce website.

Chrome – A browser developed by Google for displaying web pages. Chrome has become one of the most popular browsers.

Cloud Computing – Development of platforms or installation of software across multiple servers online.

Cloud Hosting – Hosting of website or web application among several online servers rather than on a single server.

Classic ASP – Referring to old ASP coding, prior to its transformation into ASP.net.

Client-side – Describing code that can be executed directly within a browser and does not have to interact with a web server to be executed.

CMS – Short for Content Management System (see below)

Code – Text specific to a layout language such as HTML or CSS, as well as all programming languages, that will process and render data based on the code content.

Coding – To write code.

Collapsible Table – Describes text in a box on a page that can be opened or closed when its title is clicked.

Cookie – A setting that is stored on your computer in a file that a browser uses to remember your information the next time you go to that page.

Compiled Code – Programming code that has been processed and can no longer be edited without the source files.

Content Management System – Web-based application which allows a web user to login and make changes to certain parts of the website without requiring HTML skills.

Control Panel  – Web pages that control all the hosting settings of a web server account.

Cron Job – Task or web page that is set to be executed or processed at repeated time intervals.

CSS – Acronym of Cascading Style Sheets, which are coding elements an HTML page uses to add color, style, and positioning to text and graphical components within a page.

CSV – Comma delimited file that can be organized in a spreadsheet format that is used to import data into a database.

Data Center – Facility that has many hosted computers connected online that function as web servers.

Data-Driven  Website – A website that has content controlled by a database or XML files, instead of just on a static HTML page.

Database – File that has content organized in a grid format. Data-driven websites can read from a database on the server and write to a database to store information.

Dedicated Server – A computer that is specific to one company’s website or websites. A dedicated server will usually be used to host complex or high-trafficked websites, as opposed to a Shared Server which is one server hosting several different websites.

Dev Server – Temporary server used to develop a website before it is live.

DNS – Acronym of Domain Name System, which is the system used on the Internet to translate website names into IP addresses to properly serve the websites.

Domain Name – The name of a website that is used when typing a website address.

Domain Name Extension – the part of a website domain name that follows the period – for example .com or .net.

Dreamweaver – Computer Program that is made to easily layout and position HTML pages.

Dynamic Menu – A menu of links on a webpage, usually in the header or sidebar, that can fly out or drop down additional menus when a mouse cursor is hovered over it.

Email Blast – An email that is sent out en masse to numerous recipients.

Encryption – Placing sensitive information on web page such as passwords into a undecipherable format during transmission so that it can only be read by its intended party.

Exchange – Type of email protocol developed by Microsoft for synchronous email.

Exchange ServerServer that hosts Exchange email accounts.

Feed – A data format to provide web users with frequently updated content. The feeds are syndicated, or distributed via a web channel, and this allows subscribers to pick up the feed.

GIF – Type of image format, usually reserved for images that are more word-based with extra whitespace.

Google Analytics – See Analytics

Hardware – The physical components of a computer.

Favicon – Tiny icon assigned to a webpage that identifies it by displaying it on a browser tab and on the browsers “favorites” menu.

Field – An element in a form which can be typed into or filled.

Filter – Software that blocks out certain websites.

Firewall – Hardware or software filtering unit that blocks certain incoming and outgoing connections to a computer or network.

Flash – Software used primarily for web animation. Flash is used less on web pages today as Jquery components dominate.

Footer – The bottom part of a website page.

Form – Web page that has fields where one can type into or select, and then the inputted information is processed into an email or into an online Database.

Frames – Set of HTML pages that work together where different pages or sections can be viewed as part of a single page.

Front-end – The viewable pages of a website that are seen in a browser.

FTP – The method of uploading a file such as an HTML file to a web server.

Google+ – A new social media platform from Google which is a social layer overarching many aspects of the web rather than a single website.

Header – The top part of a website page.

Host – A computer such as a web server that contains websites or email accounts.
– The process of having a website on a web server which allows it to be viewed as a web page.

Hover – To place a mouse cursor over an item which will subsequently trigger and action or event.

HTML – The coding language used to lay out the content of a website.

HTML Page – A web page that is encoded with HTML

HTTP – Acronym of HyperText Transfer Protocol, which is a web protocol for distributing web pages and communicating pages from a web server to a web browser.

HyperlinkLink on a web page.

Icon – Small image.

IE – Short for Internet Explorer

Iframe – A web page that that is embedded as a window or hidden frame within another page.

IMAP – Protocol for email retrieval off of a mail server. Unlike POP email, IMAP stays connected to the server for instant email retrieval, and allows message flagging status to be stored on the server.

Import – The process of copying in files or data into a website or database.

Include – Generic file on a website that is used within other pages in the website.

IP Address – Numerical label divided by 3 periods assigned to all computers and devices in a network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.

JavaProgramming language that can be used for web applications. Java on the web is usually limited to very complex and detailed web applications.

JavaScriptScripting language that can execute actions on a web page without requiring the server to process the code.

JPG – The most common file standard for images used on the web, with an efficient compression system.

Jquery – Library of code that can provide animations, effects, and coding operations to a web page.

Keywords – Important words that will be relevant to search engines. Keywords should be used within text on a page, in the title tag, and in a Meta Tag description. There is also a “Keywords Meta Tag” which has the keywords separated by a comma, but this is generally no longer relevant to the search engines.

Landing Page – Single page website that is usually meant for a specific campaign leading a person to a form or as an entry to a different website.

Language – The specific defined methodologies that codes are written in to execute and display items. There are several different programming languages for web applications.

Layered PSDPhotoshop file that has its graphic as individual components that can be freely moved around.

Library – Pre-defined set of codes or graphical components.

Link – Text or image that will take the user to a different page or function when clicked upon.

LinkedIn – Social Media website and platform to connect businesses and professionals.

LinuxUnix-based operating system and web hosting platform that was created as free and open source software for development and distribution.

Live Text – Text on a website that can be selected and is readable to the search engines, as opposed to graphical text which is compiled into an image.

Mail Server – A web server that hosts email accounts.

Magento – A popular open-source shopping cart website platform with many configurable items and custom controls.

Malware – Malicious software residing in a computer that can slow it down, as well as compromise security and sensitive files.

Menu – A list of page links on a website, usually in the top header or in a sidebar.

Merchant Account – An account with a company that provides credit card and other financial processing services.

Merchant Gateway – Software that integrates with a website to enable it to process credit cards online.

Meta TagSnippet of hidden code in a web page that is interpreted by various applications and bots, especially search engine bots.

Microsoft SQL Server – A relational database management system developed by Microsoft. Many data-driven websites are run by MSSQL databases.

Migration – Transferring website and its configuration from one server to a different one.

Mock-up – A design preview of a website in its initial design phase.

Mobile Site – Website specifically designed for small screens such as phones. Mobile sites generally work in tandem with regular sites, and will load only if a small screen size is detected.

Modal Pop-up – A pop-up window that is inherently still attached within the original page it was clicked from, with the background of the original page being grayed out to focus on the pop-up.

MySQL – The most popular relational database management system that is open source. The websites of many data-driven websites are run by MySQL databases.

MSSQL – See Microsoft SQL Server.

NameserverWeb server that hosts a network service that routes a domain name to its intended location on a web server.

Nav Menu – The navigation links of a website where the other pages can be accessed. This is usually in the top header or in a sidebar.

Network – Group of connected computers.

Open Source – Describes codes that are available and not compiled, and can be modified by someone else who didn’t create them.

Optimized – Describing web pages that are well-organized with keywords and visible to the search engines. Optimized can also refer to graphics that are properly sized and compressed  to optimally load on web pages.

Outlook – Computer program made by Microsoft that downloads, stores, and organizes emails.

Path – The URL syntax to get to a web page via its web address.

PDF – A type of file that is used to display data in a universal format. When used for the web, it is often used for printing pages.

phpMyAdmin – Open source web-based application written in PHP that controls the administration of MySQL databases.

Photoshop – Computer program for designing graphics, including graphics that will be used on a web page.

PHP – An open source, server-side web programming and scripting. PHP is very popular for dynamic web pages for its capability to embed code directly in an HTML page.

Pixel – A single dot in the display of a monitor. On the web, images and graphics are measured in the number of pixels they contain.

Pixelated – When a photo or graphic is stretched or skewed larger than its dimensions, resulting in rough edges and box forms in  the image.

Plugin – An application or web technology that is added on as an addition to an existing program.

PNG – An optimized graphic image format that allows for transparency.

POP – Stands for Post Office Protocol, which is an email deliver and retrieval standard.

POP3POP Version 3, which is the current version of POP email.

Populating – Placing content within a database or on pages in a website.

PPC – Acronym of “Pay Per Click”, which is a form of advertising that can be purchased through search engines.

Programming – Writing or organizing code that will execute functions or applications within specific languages.

ProxyServer or application that acts as an intermediary for requests such as web page serving or file sharing from a clients computer that seeks resources from other servers.

PSD – A Photoshop file.

Refresh – To reload a page in a browser in case it is showing old or cached data.

Relative URL – Describing a reference to a web page or file within the site structure of a website and not requiring the entire path.

Resolution – The number of pixels that a screen can display. Higher resolutions will display more on the screen.

RGB – Acronym of Red, Green, Blue, which are the primary colors used for web and screen graphics, as opposed to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key) which are the primary colors for print graphics.

RSS – Type of web feed used to publish frequently updated content such as blog posts, news, and multimedia in a standardized format. Users can subscribe to RSS Feeds.

RSS Feed – See RSS.

RTE – Acronym of Rich Text Editor, which is a built-in module on a web page form that allows the content to be formatted by selecting text or content and placing a style or activity on that word (such as bold, font, color, link, etc.)

Script – A defined section of code that performs an operation.

Scripting – Writing code in a defined language that will perform an operation.

SEO – Acronym of Search Engine Optimization, which is the process involved to increase a website’s visibility and rankings with the search engines.

Sidebar – A bar or column on the side of the web page that is usually present within most of the pages of that website.

Search Engine – Web program that scans and indexes the web for content, and allows users to conduct a search to find pages they are looking for.

Search Engine Optimization – See SEO.

Server – A computer hosting a website or web application.

SessionCode on a web page that allows data to remain available for use on others pages while the session is active.

Shared ServerWeb server that hosts multiple websites on a single computer.

Shopping Cart – The part of an Ecommerce website that allows one to place items into a virtual cart and continue shopping, and then checkout at once with all the items in the cart.

Sitemap – Page or file that contain an outline of all the pages in a website. Sitemaps can be important to search engines to understand the structure of a website.

Slider – Animated image on a web page that transitions through several images with a controllable set of links.

Snippet – A small selection of code.

Source Code – The code running behind an HTML page.

Source Files – Original files used to create Photoshop files or compiled code.

Spam – Junk email.

Spam Bot – Automated program that scans the web for online forms and fills them out with spam.

SSL – The protocol of encryption that secure web pages use to process sensitive data such as credit card information.

Static Website – A website that does not require any programming or database connectivity.

String – Letters or numbers appended to a web address to pass along a value from one page to another.

Stylesheet – See CSS.

TabBrowser function that allows multiple pages to be open in one browser application screen.

Table – A format in HTML that allows content to be laid out in an organized layout with rows and columns.

Template – A standardized design that is universal to several or all web pages within a website.

Thumbnail – A small-sized preview image that is often auto-generated from a larger one.

Title Tag – Code on a website that defines the name of the page and displays it in the top of the browser. Title tags are important to search engines.

Traffic – The volume of visitors a website receives.

Transparency – Attribute of certain images where their backgrounds are colorless and allow whatever layer is underneath them to be visible.

Trojan – Type of malware which mimics a legitimate program, but instead facilitates unauthorized access and attempts to retrieve sensitive and compromising data.

Twitter – Social Media tool that allows individuals and companies to make short news and updates which are viewed by followers.

Unix – Simplified operating system in which websites can be hosted on web servers.

Upload – To place a file from a local computer online to a web server.

URL – The web address of a website or page name in a website.

Validation – Process in a form submission which only allows valid fields, or requires certain fields to be entered when submitting a web form.

Vector – Graphic format with defined mathematic coordinates that allow the image to be resized without any distortion.

View Source – To look at the HTML code behind a web page.

Visibility – Describing the capability of a page to be visible and indexed by the search engines.

Web Server – A computer connected online, usually in a data center, used to host websites.

Webmail – Tool to manage email directly from a web browser connected to the mail server web platform.

Whitespace – Empty white space on a web page.

Widget – Tool or set of defined functions that can be placed on a web page.

WYSIWYG – Acronym for What You See Is What You Get.  This term is often used on the web to describe HTML editors that visually lay out web content as they would appear on the web.

XML – Type of computer markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding content. Web applications and web pages can use content in an XML file.

XLS – A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file.

Web Feed – See Feed.

WordPress – Comprehensive and popular website engine used mostly for its blog publishing capabilities and CMS.

WWW – World Wide Web.

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