Internet Terms Glossary

Assistant (Mac) or Wizard (Windows) - A dialog box that is available in different places in different programs, but offers you a step-by-step basic setup on complex documents. Usually the results are hideous, but easy to change! Internet Setup Wizard, and other internet specific Wizards may be helpful.

Attachment - Something connected to an email that gets sent along for the ride. People send photos, files, and even programs this way. Also called Enclosures.

BookMarks or Favorites - A list in one of your browser menus that you can add website addresses to, usually by going to the page, then selecting Add BookMark, or Add to Favorites from the Bookmark or Favorites menu.

Browser - The program you use to move around on the net. Different than your email program, though your browser may have an email program built in.

CGI Scripting - Programming on a web page that allows advanced interaction. Often used for forms, database search engines, etc.

Client Side Programming - Mini-programs on web pages that run on the computer of the viewer, like JavaScript.

Compressed Files - Files that have been written in a format that takes up less space. Standard on a PC is Zip, standard on a Mac is Stuffit.

Compatibility - Big word for cooperation. This refers to how well programs work with other programs, how hardware works with software, and how two computers share information. Internet formats follow specific guidelines to ensure cross platform compatibility.

Connection - Refers to being online. Connection speeds vary according to the modem and type of connection.

Directory - A folder where you store files. This can be on your computer, or on a remote server.

DNS - Domain Name Server. Part of the information you need to set up an internet account. This is the number for the exact web address that your dial up account is managed through.

Domain Name - A specific internet address, like www.apple.com. A personalized domain name must be registered yearly to make sure you have ownership of it.

Drag and Drop HTML Editor - A web page creation program that allows you to assemble webpages and sites without using HTML code directly. The program creates the code for what you do behind the scenes.

Email - Text based electronic file transfer. Sends only text across an internet connection, address to address. Can convert programs, files, and graphics to text code and send them along for the ride. Cross platform compatibility is an issue with attachments.

Field - A rectangular box that you can type into, used in dialog boxes, database programs, and on internet forms. Common in Forms, JavaScript, and CGI Scripting.

File Extensions for the Internet - Common ones are .html, ,htm, for web pages, .gif, .jpg for graphics files, .txt, .exe, for text documents or PC programs, .sit, .zip, .sea, .dd for compressed files, .pdf for Adobe Acrobat files. Many more too.

File Types - Programs each label files with a code to identify which program created them. That is how they attach the right program to a file when you open it. Some files can be opened by programs other than their creators, but that ability has to be built into the program. Graphics get complex in this category. PCs do this by attaching a File Extension to the end of the name - .exe, .txt, and so forth. Macs do this by invisibly coding it with a 4 letter code.

Format - Changing the way a document presents the information in it. Changing margins, type sizes, columns, and all that. Formatting applies to both the appearance of a finished document, and the way the file is saved.

FTP - File Transfer Protocol. A means of transferring files over the internet, used for file downloads, and for file uploads.

Graphics, Images, Scans, Clipart - Graphic means visual - a Picture. Image means the same thing. Scans are pictures that have been converted to a digital format so you can store them on computers and play with them in your programs. Clipart is a collection of images that you buy, or get for free, that you can use in your own documents without paying each time you use them. Check copyright notices carefully on clipart, because restrictions vary.

Graphics Program - Where you put hair back on bald men, take a few pounds off of women, and turn babies into Klingons. Really just any program that lets you open up a picture, change it's looks or format, or that you can make a picture in. Variety of functions is different from program to program, but tools are similar. Web Graphics programs may not have Print features, and may not let you use high resolutions.

Hierarchical menu - A menu arranged in an order that tells you which files are in which folders. Used both for file management on hard drives, and for web page navigation.

HTML - HyperText Markup Language. A linking and displaying script language used to instruct computers to display a web page. The page is written in HTML, and your computer interprets the instructions, and displays the page as you see it.

Icons - Little pictures that represent programs and files. You find them almost everywhere that you can access files or programs. Also used on Websites to simplify navigation.

ISP - Internet Service Provider - Like AOL, Earthlink, or PacBell. The people who you pay each month for the privilege of getting online!

JavaScript - Scripting language that allows you to run Client Side interactive forms, graphics, and mini-applications from a web page.

Link - Text or graphics on a website that allow you to click on them to go to another page, or another place on the same page. Text is usually underlined. Hand pointer Icon appears on links.

Modem - A device that translates analog signals into digital, and digital into analog, so your computer can communicate with another over analog phone lines.

Networking - Connecting two computers, by special cable, or by phone lines, to share resources. Not the same as the internet.

Platform - The operating system you use - Windows, Mac, Unix, OS2, Apple II, DOS are all different platforms. Some are more compatible than others with each other. Unix, Windows, and Mac are the three primary web platforms.

Plug-Ins - Special mini-programs that are stored in a specific folder for the program that uses them. Plug-ins extend the functions of the program that they are added to. Internet and Graphics programs often use them to add features.

PPP - Point to Point Protocol. Used for internet, and certain long distance networking uses. The standard on Mac and PC for Internet connections.

Properties, Options, Preferences - Settings that you can use to customize your programs or operating system to work like you want it to.

Remote Server - A computer that "serves" up information. It is not in your house, it is remote, or somewhere else.

Scanner - Converts photos and drawings into a digital map of the picture. Read up on them before you buy. Almost necessary for website design.

Search Engine - Website that keeps a listing of many websites, lets you type in a word or two and then gives you a list of the websites that it knows about that are about that subject. Websites must be registered with search engines if they are to be found by viewers.

Server - A computer that "serves" information out to other computers as they request it. When you connect to a web page, that page is stored on a server somewhere else.

Server Side Programming - Programs that run on a web page that are powered by software on a remote server.

Shopping Cart - A website that allows you to add items to purchase in a list, then enter order information all at once to purchase online.

SPAM - Unwanted email, junk mail, or prank mail. There is a lot of false mail out there about this person or that who is dying please send money, or that this or that thing is a HUGE RISK so protect yourself! Most is false, so don't forward it unless you can prove the validity of scare mail. Email is anonymous and leaves no evidence of the creator of it, so it is easy to perpetrate an email scam.

TCP/IP - Another Internet Protocol, also used for Networking. Works in conjunction with PPP. Mac may use MacTCP instead. Part of Mac software, Open Transport. Part of Dial Up Networking on a PC.

Time Out - When a website takes so long to download that your browser gets tired of waiting and just quits trying any more.

URL - Universal Resource Locator. This is the techie term for an internet address.

Version number - How you tell if you have the latest and greatest. A number on software or system software that tells how up to date it is. Updates are available on the net for many software titles, but knowing your version number is crucial to ensure that you don't downgrade by mistake!

Virus - A hidden program that can be attached to email attachments, and other programs or disks by malicious people. A Virus once started can replicate itself, and may be either a harmless prank, or may damage files. Some viruses are difficult to eradicate. Risk is greater for PC than for Mac. Anti-Virus software protects against viruses on computers, but has to be updated frequently to keep up with new viruses. 90% of internet virus warnings are false. Check before you overreact or forward virus warnings.

Web, net, internet, online - Using a modem to hook up, with an internet service, to communicate with special computers around the world. Can only communicate with a Server (computer set up with a special address), without special software and setup. Different than a network. Different security issues. Requires cooperation between many pieces of software, hardware, and many different computers other than your own to work properly.

Webpage - A single page on a website.

Website - A collection of Web pages that work together and are linked together with common ownership.

Firelight Web Studio
A price you can afford, payments that work for you, and information when you need it, will keep you in the driver's seat, even if you don't know a metatag from a content management system.