FilesDIRECT Glossary

A| B| C| D| E| F| G| H| I| J| K| L| M| N| O| P| Q| R| S| T| U| V| W| X| Y| Z
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line A new standard of Internet connection which allows very large download speeds over your existing phone line by utilising the high-frequency ability of the existing infrastructure.
Application Programming Interface. The specification of how a programmer writing an application accesses the behavior and state of classes and objects.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard assignment of 7-bit numeric codes to characters. See also Unicode.

Active Server PageMicrosoft made this scripting language, and you need to run it off one of their servers. It allows dynamic page generation.

The process by which an entity proves to another entity that it is acting on behalf of a specific identity.

Permission has been given to preform an action.

Audio / Video InterleavedOne of several compression techniques (this one’s by Microsoft) for Internet video with sound.
The speed that information can travel, measured in kilobits per second (kbps). Some servers will have better bandwidth than others, allowing quicker access and more users at a time. Large files consume lots of bandwidth as they download. Think of it as a pipe — only a certain amount of information can fit through at a time.
The smallest unit of information in a computer, with a value of either 0 or 1.

BitMapThis is the file extension for saving Windows bitmap files (used by primitive programs like Microsoft Paint). A bitmap is an image that is made up of lots of rows of little dots. A GIF is another type of bitmap, but is a better format for the web than normal BMPs. pronounce it: ‘bimp’

The program you use to view webpages. You’re more than likely reading this through one right now. They translate, or interpret HTML code into the page you see. The most common are Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE),Google Chrome (GC), and FireFox (FF). There are also text-only browsers, used for speedy information gathering.

A sequence of eight bits.

A place on your hard drive where downloaded pages are stored temporarily, which means that pages don’t need to be downloaded again if you press the ’Back’ button for example, or if you are reading offline. pronounce it: ‘cash’

Common Gateway InterfaceThis is one way of creating dynamic pages, like when you fill out a form and on the next page the information you entered is displayed. They’re used in Search Engines too. They are scripts which are placed on the server, usually in a directory called the “cgi-bin”, which stands for binary. CGI scripts are usually written in PERL, a programming language; which we have tutorials up for in the CGI Scripting section.

Cascading Style SheetsStylesheets are the hottest thing in web design since they were introduced a few years back. They give you huge control over your design, and with a few small changes, you could change the look of your whole site. Only more recent browsers support them, but now about 90% of web users can see them, so you should use them in your site. To find out how, read our stylesheets section.
Dynamic HTMLThis is what a page is often called if it uses a combination of both CSS and JavaScript. It is often used to create a highly interactive page that changes as you browse through it. Need to have DHTML Explained for you in more depth?

Electronic Mail
File Extensions
This is the 3 or 4 letter suffix at the end of any filename. For instance, this page is called glossary.html, with the .html bit being the extension. It tells the computer what type of file it is and therefore, what program to use to open it. You can learn how to save as a .html file, see a list of commonly-met file formats on the Internet, or check out the web’s most popular image formats.

File Transfer Protocol. FTP, which is based on TCP/IP, enables the fetching and storing of files between hosts on the Internet. See also TCP/IP.

Graphical User Interface. Refers to the techniques involved in using graphics, along with a keyboard and a mouse, to provide an easy-to-use interface to some program.


HyperText Markup Language. This is a file format, based on SGML, for hypertext documents on the Internet. It is very simple and allows for the embedding of images, sounds, video streams, form fields and simple text formatting. References to other objects are embedded using URLs.

HyperText Transfer Protocol. The Internet protocol, based on TCP/IP, used to fetch hypertext objects from remote hosts. See also TCP/IP.

HyperText Transfer Protocol layered over the SSL protocol.
Internet Protocol. The basic protocol of the Internet. It enables the unreliable delivery of individual packets from one host to another. It makes no guarantees about whether or not the packet will be delivered, how long it will take, or if multiple packets will arrive in the order they were sent. Protocols built on top of this add the notions of connection and reliability. See also TCP/IP.

In networking, any functional unit in the same layer as another entity.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
A protocol that allows communication between a Web browser and a server to be encrypted for privacy.

Transmission Control Protocol based on IP. This is an Internet protocol that provides for the reliable delivery of streams of data from one host to another. See also IP.

A 16-bit character set defined by ISO 10646. See also ASCII.

Uniform Resource Identifier. A compact string of characters for identifying an abstract or physical resource. A URI is either a URL or a URN.

Uniform Resource Locator. A standard for writing a text reference to an arbitrary piece of data in the WWW. A URL looks like "protocol://host/localinfo" where protocol specifies a protocol to use to fetch the object (like HTTP or FTP), host specifies the Internet name of the host on which to find it, and localinfo is a string (often a file name) passed to the protocol handler on the remote host.

Uniform Resource Name. A unique identifier that identifies an entity, but doesn't tell where it is located. A system can use a URN to look up an entity locally before trying to find it on the Web. It also allows the Web location to change, while still allowing the entity to be found.

Web server
Software that provides services to access the Internet, an intranet, or an extranet. A Web server hosts Web sites, provides support for HTTP and other protocols, and executes server-side programs (such as CGI scripts or servlets) that perform certain functions.

World Wide Web. The web of systems and the data in them that is the Internet. See also Internet.

Extensible Markup Language. A markup language that allows you to define the tags (markup) needed to identify the data and text in XML documents.