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Web Page Authoring Glossary


Glossary of Terms

Absolute
A method of referencing another document or file in which a specific machine and directory is mentioned (as opposed to relative). Examples:
href="http://www.somesite.net/JSmith/Documents/Projects/myfile.html"
href="file:///C|/Users/JSmith/Documents/Projects/myfile.html"
Anchor
An HTML tag that can be embedded with an HTML file to indicate: (1) a link to another document or resource, or (2) a target position within the page that you someone might want to jump to, rather than simply starting at the top.
Argument
See Attribute
Attribute
Extra items that can be inserted into a tag to represent an optional feature within an HTML instruction. For example, a horizontal rule tag of <hr> can have an option specified within it to request that the rule only use 80% of the window width by adding the argument WIDTH="80%" to the tag, resulting in
<hr WIDTH="80%">
Body
A section of an HTML file that contains information that is intended to be rendered with the web page. The Body is where the vast majority of the page's text and tags are placed.
Browser
A Intenet applications program, serving the function of an HTTP client. Web browsers retrieve HTML documents and other Internet resources and then render (interpret) them. The most popular web browsers at the time of this writing are [Netscape Navigator®] and [Microsoft Internet Explorer®].
Bullet
A symbol that serves to accent the beginning of a paragraph or item within a list. Many browsers use different bullet symbols depending on the level of indentation for the given paragraphs. Typical symbols include small circles, squares, triangles, or dashes.
Cache
A local storage area (typically a folder on a disk drive) managed by a web browser that holds copies of data retrieved from a web server for the purpose of making subsequent loads of that page faster. Other names used by specific software developers to describe the cache are: "temporary Internet files folder", "browsing data area", and "history data area" (not to be confused with the "history" itself, which is a list of recently viewed web addresses.
Case Sensitive
Concerned with the difference between uppercase verses lowercase characters. Any program that interprets the characters "A" and "a" as the same is referred to as "case insensitive" or "not case sensitive".
Child
An object such as a storage folder or an HTML element that is contained within a higher-level object within a hierarchy. For example, a sub-folder with another folder, or a table data element nested within a table row element. In HTML, child elements inherit the properties of their parent elements.
Client
A program that interacts with users to help to provide access to network resources such as web sites, file archives, or e-mail. Users gain access to servers by using clients that were written under the same protocols. For example, you would use a web client (also know as a web browser) to retrieve the files from a web server necessary to render a web page.
Container
A pair of tags that surround an item to effect it in some way. For example, to boldface the word hello, you would write the "start boldfacing" tag of <B> in front of the word and the "stop boldfacing" tags of </B> after the word. Notice the use of the slash (/) to indicate a stopping tags. See also separator.
Domain
An area of influence or authority. Machines on the Internet are grouped by domains and sub-domains identified by "domain names" such as ircc.cc.fl.us that signifies a group of machines that are part of the IRCC domain which is part of the larger Florida Community College domain which is part of the larger Florida domain which is a sub-domain of the United States domain.
DNS - Domain Name System
An Internet system that provides information about hostnames and associated host (IP) numbers. A massive collection of DNS servers on many different networks function in cooperation to maintain DNS information in a decentralized, distributed database for access by all Internet users. Machines on the Internet address each other purely by using IP numbers such as 209.149.16.254. DNS is the system that allows us to address Internet machines using host names such as www.ircc.cc.fl.us instead.
Element
The basic building block of a web page that represents an object to be interpreted by a web browser when rendering the page. Elements are defined within source code through the use of tags which are short labels embedded withing the normal text of a web document in combination with the special characters < (left angle bracket) and < (right angle bracket) and others. These tags and their associated attributes comprise the vocabulary of the HyperText Markup Language (or HTML). Examples of elements are: paragraphs, divisions, lists, tables, forms, images, anchors, etc. For a more complete list of elements, see the HTML Tag List at W3Schools.com Most elements are containers that can hold (group) other elements. For example, a division element often contains many paragraphs. And a paragraph can contain many anchors (links).
Firewall
A system (usually a combination of harware and software) that protects a network from intrusion by unauthorized users or programs (such as viruses). Firewall software is typically installed on the machine that connects a private network to the Internet where it can monitor all data passing to and from the Internet. Firewall are programmed to be purposefully paranoid, so they can sometimes interfer with legitimate data traffic if not properly configured. Almost all major institutional network have a firewall and that fact can require some additional configuration of software on users' computers to allow seemless connection to the Internet through that firewall.
Frame
An area of a display screen that can be independently addressed and controlled. Many modern web sites divide their content into separate frames to provide readers with better navigational control. For example, a menu can be kept on the screen in one frame while another frame is used to display many different pages in sequence. Frames can be scrolled independently and new pages can be loaded into frames. This can sometimes given readers the mistaken impression that a newly loaded page is part of a particular web site, when in fact it was loaded from somewhere else. Beware that the URL displayed on the command line in most browsers will indicate the path to only the upper-lefthand frame on your screen. For more information on frames, read [Netscape's Introduction to Frames].
FTP - File Transfer Protocol
A Intenet protocol (set of rules) that allows the transfer of files between computers on the Internet regardless of their type or the brand of software being used. FTP software is written in two styles, FTP servers that interact with the file storage archives on the Internet, and FTP clients that allow users to upload and download files to and from those machines (via the FTP Servers).
Head
A section of an HTML file that contains information that is not intended to be rendered with the web page but is related to it, such as the page's title that appears on the blue title bar at the top of the browser's window. The Head is also where meta tags are placed.
Header
A style of logical container that enhances text to make it stand out with respect to normal text on a page. Six levels of header container can be defined, H1 thru H6, with H1 being rendered as the most prominent and the others decreasing in importance.
Helper Application
(a.k.a. Viewer) - An additional program that can be launched by a browser to render file types that are stored in a computer language that is unknown to the browser. Many people have a favorite program that they prefer to use to interpret (and often edit) the data that they retrieve through web pages. (See also: Plug-in)
Home Page
A web page that is meant to be viewed as a starting point when viewing a web site. The term is used in three different senses:
  1. A server's "home page" is the one that will be sent to a browser whenever an incomplete URL (ie. one that does not specify the full path to a specific HTML file) is use to retrieve a web page.
  2. A browser's "home page" is the one that it will attempt to retrieve each time the browser is started or whenever the user presses its "home" button. This choice can be configured by the user of the browser.
  3. A personal "home page" is a biographical web page about a person similar to the Sample Personal Home Page provided on this site.
Hot ...
Hot is used to imply that the object (text or graphic) associated with it will act as a link to another document or file on the web or to a different place within the same document.
HTML
The HyperText Markup Language (or HTML) is the primary language used to create documents for the World Wide Web. HTML is used to define the structure of a document and to a lesser degree its format or appearance. The language was designed to convey the structure of documents in a simple, portable way which could be interpreted by any kind of computer system, regardless of whether it was and IBM, a Macintosh, or a UNIX machine with a simple, dumb terminal.
HTML File
A stored collection of text and HyperText Markup Language (or HTML) used as instructions to a web browser about how to render a web page. An HTML file defines the structure of web page and to a lesser degree its format or appearance.
HTTP - HyperText Transfer Protocol
A Intenet protocol (set of rules) that allows the retrieval of files from web servers on the Internet regardless of their type or the brand of software being used. HTTP is is used by web browsers to retrieve the HTML files and other files (images, audio clips, etc.) that make up a web page. HTTP server programs interact with the files stored on "web servers" and HTTP clients (also known as "web browsers") connect to those servers to download the necessary files to render each web page.
Hyperlink
An object that is embedded within a web page to serve as a connection to another document or resource. See Anchor above.
HyperText
HyperText is a system of text that is cross-referenced, usually by storing it in separate files in separate locations, even on very distant machines. Each body of text can contain embedded instructions (tags) that act as links to other blocks of text in other files (or even in a different location in the same file.)
Image
A graphic object such as a picture or a button that can be displayed as part of a web page. Images are stored in separate files from the text and HTML instructions that make up an HTML file. Images are retrieved from their files and placed on a web page when the page is rendered by a browser. Images that are not expected to react when touched are called "in-line images". Images such as buttons that are hot (ie. link to other data objects on the web) are called "hot images". Hot images that are divided into separate areas that are expected to react differently depending on where you click on the image are called "image maps".
Link
See Hyperlink above.
Logical Element or Style
A type of element or style that is used to convey a concept rather than to specify a physical characteristic or appearance. For example, an em (emphasized) element is used to identify content as special without specifying how that will be done. Most browsers use italics to display emphasized text. But an aural (speaking) browser for blind readers might use a female voice instead of a male voice to emphasize text content. Some elements are intended to convey a structural context. Headings such as h1 and h2 should be used to label the start of significant sections of web content on a page; but they are not intended to specify a particular styling regarding font and alignment. Each browser applies formatting to headings based on its own CSS style sheet. One browser might style h1 as 24-point bold Times New Roman, centered; while a different browser renders h1 as capitalized 18 point regular font, left aligned. Authors can override these agent styles with their own CSS rules.
Meta Tag
Special tag that can be inserted into the HEAD section of an HTML file to provide data for browsers (and other programs such as search engines) that is not intended to be rendered as part of the web page.
Multimedia
More than one physical medium (form of data), including but not limited to: text, graphics, audio, and video.
Navigation
The act or plan used to move from one web page to another while viewing a web site. Some pages are read in sequential (linear) order. Others are organized in a hierarchy (more like a tree with branches, twigs, and leaves). If you follow one branch, you may have to back up before you can follow another one. Still other sites have their pages linked in a fully cross-referenced manner, allowing full freedom of motion through them. Sites can be enhanced with properly designed home pages and site maps.
Parent
An object such as a storage folder or an HTML element that contains a suborinate object within a hierarchy. For example, a root-level folder containing a sub-folder, or a table row element containing table data elements. In HTML, child elements inherit the properties of their parent elements.
Plug-in
A limited Helper Application that can only function in conjunction with a web browser to help it render file types that are stored in a computer language that is unknown to it. Plug-ins (also known as "applets") are not complete programs and cannot function independent of their browser, so they cannot be used alone to create or edit files.
Physical Element or Style
A type of element or style that is used to specify a visual characteristic or appearance (such as italic or boldface) rather than to convey a Logical concept such as strength or emphasis. In general, logical elements are preferred over physical ones because browsers typically interpret and execute the meaning of logical elements more effectively physical ones. For example, the strong element is preferred over the b (boldface) element because a specialized browser (such as an aural browser than reads pages to blind readers) can use audio volume (or some other means) for strong content, but if a bolface element had been used, the browser might not be able to handle that and simply ignore it.
Protocol
A standardized set of rules under which programs are developed to promote uniformity of a network service or resource such as e-mail or the World Wide Web. For example, all web software, clients and servers, were written to conform to a protocol named HTTP or HyperText Transfer Protocol.
Relative
A method of referencing another document or file in which a specific machine is not mentioned, meaning that the desired object resides on the same system as the one being viewed (as opposed to absolute). Note that the object being referenced could be in the same folder (directory) as the current page or in a different folder. Examples:
href="myfile.html"
href="childfolder/myfile.html"
href="../parentfolder/myfile.html"
Render
The act performed by a web browser or editor when it reads and interprets the HTML elements within a web document and then displays the document on the screen for the user.
RFC
Internet documentation for new services and protocols start with a Request For Comments (or RFC) and evolve into a Standards Document (or STD).
Separator
A single tag that separates objects on a web page. For example, to place a horizontal line on a page, you would write the "horizontal rule" tag of <HR> at the position in the text where you wanted the line to appear. See also container.
Server
A program or computer that manages and provides access to network resources such as web sites, file archives, or e-mail. Users gain access to servers by using clients that were written under the same protocols. For example, you would use a web client (also know as a web browser) to retrieve the files from a web server necessary to render a web page.
Site Map
A web page that serves as an overview of all of the pages within a web site and provides quick links to them. Site maps provide fast access to pages that might not be linked directly to a site's home page and aid in overall navigation of the site.
Structure
Logical or physical organization such as the division of a document into sections, pages, paragraphs, sentences and words; or the use of an outline format. An example of the use of structure in HTML is the use of different levels of headings and sub-headings or the use of Ordered or Unordered Lists.
Tag
The basic building block of an element. Tags are short labels embedded withing the normal text of a web document in combination with the special characters < (left angle bracket) and < (right angle bracket) and others. Tags and their associated attributes comprise the vocabulary of the HyperText Markup Language (or HTML). A comprehensive list of HTML tags can be found at the [W3Schools HTML/XHTML Tag Index].
Thumbnail
A small icon used in place of a larger (perhaps full screen) image as a hot link to it.
URL - Uniform Resource Locator
A URL (or Uniform Resource Locator) is a command that defines the address of a resource and the Internet protocol that will be used to retrieve it. A typical URL to retrieve a home page such as the one from IBM® would look like http://www.ibm.com
(For more specific examples, see the [A Beginner's Guide to URL's from NCSA] page.)
Viewer
(a.k.a. Helper Application) An additional program that can be launched by a browser to render common file types that are beyond its capability to display. (See the list of file types at the bottom of this page)
Web Page
The visual object that results on a display screen when a web browser reads and interprets the elements within an HTML file.
Web Site
A collection of HTML files and related data objects (such as images, movies, or programs) that are expected to be used as a group. One or more web sites are typically stored on dedicated web servers, but a web site can be stored on a simple PC and viewed using a web browser located on the same machine.
Whitespace (a.k.a. White Space)
Any space between words in a document regardless of whether it was produced by tabs, newline or carriage return characters, or one or more blanks spaces. Most Web Browsers render any combination of whitespace characters as only a single space when a document is displayed. Thus, leaving one or more blank lines in your source code will generally not create a blank line when the document is displayed by a browser.

List of the Most Common File Types and Extensions

A [WWW Viewer Test Page] is available (compliments of the University of Wisconsin - Madison) for testing many of the file formats listed below.


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