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ActiveX A relatively new technology that makes it easy to embed animated objects, data, and computer code on Web pages. With ActiveX controls, a Web browser that supports ActiveX can play just about any item you might encounter on a Web page.
anchor A named point on a Web page. (The same HTML tag is used to create Hypertext links and anchors, which explains why the tag is named <A>).
Animated GIF An animated graphic exploiting looping and timing features in the GIF89a format.
ASCII file A text file that conforms to the American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
attributes Special code words used inside an HTML tag to control exactly what the tag does.
bandwidth The maximum information-carrying capacity of an electronic connection or network.
binary file An executable file or a file that is not in ASCII text format.
browse To wander around a portion of the Internet looking for items of interest. Also known as surfing or cruising.
browser A software program for viewing HTML pages.
cache A temporary storage area that a Web browser uses to store pages that it has recently opened. The cache enables the browser to quickly load these pages if you decide to return to them.
cascading style sheets Invented by Håkon Lie, CSS is a new addition to HTML 3.0 that allows page designers to have greater control over the rendering of a document. Browsers that support style sheets will allow font and color attributes to be specified. CSS1 is the first phase of cascading style sheets.
client-side image maps A new HTML method for linking an image to more than one address. The advantage of this approach is that the browser can display the destination URL of a region when the mouse passes over it, and some network traffic is saved because the browser can directly request the new document when a click is made.
comment Text in an HTML document (or computer program) that will be seen only by the people who edit the source for that page. Comments are normally invisible when a page is viewed with a Web browser.
Common Gateway Interface (CGI) An interface for external programs to talk to a Web server. Programs that are written to use CGI are called CGI programs or CGI scripts, and are commonly used for processing HTML forms.
compression The process of making a computer file smaller so that it can be copied more quickly between computers.
cyberspace A broad expression used to describe the activity, communication, and culture happening on the Internet and other computer networks.
definition list An indented list without a number or symbol in front of each item. (See also ordered list and unordered list.)
digital Electronic circuits generally considered to use an on or off sequence of values to convey information.
digitized Converted to a digital format suitable for storage.
direct connection A permanent, 24-hour link between a computer and the Internet. A computer with a direct connection can use the Internet at any time.
directory service An Internet service that maintains a database on individuals, including e-mail, fax, and telephone numbers, that is searchable by the public.
domain The address of a computer on the Internet. A user's Internet address is made up of a username and a domain name.
domain name system (DNS) An Internet addressing system that uses a group of names that are listed with dots (.) between them, working from the most specific to the most general group. In the United States, the top (most general) domains are network categories such as edu (education), com (commercial), and gov (government). In other countries, a two-letter abbreviation for the country is used, such as ca (Canada) and au (Australia).
download To retrieve a file or files from a remote machine to your local machine.
e-mail (electronic mail) A system that enables a person to compose a message on a computer and transmit that message through a computer network, such as the Internet, to another computer user.
e-mail address The word-based Internet address of a user, typically made up of a username, an at (@) sign, and a domain name (that is, user@domain). E-mail addresses are translated from the numeric IP addresses by the domain name system (DNS).
encryption The process of encoding information so that it is secure from other Internet users.
FAQ Short for frequently asked questions, a computer file containing the answers to frequently asked questions about a particular Internet resource.
Favorites menu In Internet Explorer, a menu that contains a list of your favorite Web pages and Internet resources. You can add items to this menu at any time. Favorites are equivalent to bookmarks in Netscape Navigator.
firewall A security device placed on a LAN to protect it from Internet intruders. This can be a special kind of hardware router, a piece of software, or both.
form A page that includes areas to be filled out by the reader. HTML forms allow information to be sent back to the company or individual who made (or maintains) the page.
frame A rectangular region within the browser window that displays a Web page alongside other pages in other frames.
freeware Software available to anyone, free of charge, unlike shareware, which requires payment.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) The basic method for copying a file from one computer to another through the Internet.
graphics Digitized pictures and computer-generated images.
graphical editor A program that allows you to edit an approximation of what a Web page would look like when viewed with a Web browser. Graphical editors usually hide the actual HTML tags they are creating from view.
Helper Application An application that is configured to launch and view files that are unreadable to a Web browser.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) The document formatting language used to create pages on the World Wide Web.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) The standard method for exchanging information between HTTP servers and clients on the Web. The HTTP specification lays out the rules of how Web servers and browsers must work together.
hypertext Text that allows readers to jump spontaneously among onscreen documents and other resources by selecting highlighted keywords that appear on each screen. Hypertext appears most often on the World Wide Web.
image compression The mathematical manipulation that images are put through to squeeze out repetitive patterns. It makes them load and display much faster.
image map An image on a Web page that leads to two or more different links, depending on which part of the image someone clicks. Modern Web browsers use client-side image maps, but you can also create server-side image maps for compatibility with old browsers.
interlaced GIF An image file that will appear blocky at first, then more and more detailed as it continues downloading. (Similar to a progressive JPEG file.)
Internet A large, loosely organized integrated network connecting universities, research institutions, government, businesses, and other organizations so that they can exchange messages and share information.
Internet Explorer An advanced Web browser created by Microsoft Corporation. Internet Explorer is powerful and easy to use.
Internet service provider (ISP) The company that provides you or your company with access to the Internet. ISPs usually have several servers and a high-speed link to the Internet backbone.
intranet A private network with access restricted to one organization, but which uses the same standards and protocols as the global public Internet.
ISDN (Integrated Digital Services Network) Essentially operates as a digital phone line. ISDN delivers many benefits over standard analog phone lines, including multiple simultaneous calls and higher-quality data transmissions. ISDN data rates are 56Kbps to 128Kbps.
Java The Web-oriented language developed by Sun Microsystems.
Kbps (kilobits per second) A rate of transfer of information across a connection such as the Internet.
LAN (local area network) A computer network limited to a small area.
link An icon, a picture, or a highlighted string of text that connects the current Web page to other Web pages, Internet sites, graphics, movies, or sounds. On the Web, you skip from page to page by clicking on links.
Mbps (megabits per second) A rate of transfer of information across a connection such as the Internet. (Equal to 1,000Kbps.)
modem (modulator/demodulator) A device to convert the digital signals of a computer to an analog format for transmission across telephone lines.
multimedia A description for systems capable of displaying or playing text, pictures, sound, video, and animation.
navigation Movement within a computer environment (for example, navigation of a Web site).
Netscape Short for Netscape Communications Corporation, a software company that developed and markets a popular World Wide Web browser called Navigator. Some people casually refer to Navigator as Netscape.
network A set of computers interconnected so that they can communicate and share information. Most major networks are connected to the global network-of-networks, called the Internet.
ordered list An indented list that has numbers or letters in front of each item. (See also unordered list and definition list.)
password A secret code, known only to the user, that allows that user to access a computer that is protected by a security system.
pixel An individual dot of color in a computer graphics image.
POTS Plain old telephone service.
PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) A communications protocol that enables a dial-up Internet connection.
progressive JPEG An image file that appears blurry at first, then gradually comes into focus. (Similar to an interlaced GIF file.)
protocol Specific rules and conventions defining how data may be exchanged between any two devices.
provider A general reference to an Internet access provider, a company that has its own dedicated access to the Internet and can therefore sell dial-up IP accounts to Internet users.
public domain Material that is freely usable by anyone, but still could be copyrighted.
relative address An address describing the path from one Web page to another, instead of a full (or absolute) URL address.
resolution The number of individual dots, or pixels, that make up an image.
resource A generic term to describe the varied information and activities available to Internet users.
search engine A program that provides a way to search for specific information.
server A networked computer that "serves" a particular type of information to users. See also Web server.
server-side image maps A technique for implementing Web page images that lead to more than one link, so that the server computer determines which link to go to. This method is now less commonly used than client-side image maps.
shareware Software programs that users are permitted to acquire and evaluate for free. Shareware is different from freeware in that, if a person likes the shareware program and plans to use it on a regular basis, he is expected to send a fee to the programmer.
Shockwave An interactive multimedia system for the Web that views applications developed by Macromedia Director.
source The actual text and commands stored in an HTML file, including tags, comments, and scripts that may not be visible when the page is viewed with a Web browser.
surfing Another term for browsing.
T-1 line A digital circuit capable of transferring data at 1.544Mbps.
T-3 line A digital circuit equivalent to 28 T-1 lines.
table Text and/or images arranged into orderly rows and columns. HTML provides several tags specifically for creating tables.
tag A coded HTML command used to indicate how part of a Web page should be displayed.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) The agreed-on set of computer communications rules and standards that allows communications between different types of computers and networks that are connected to the Internet.
text editor Any program that allows you to edit text with your computer.
unordered list An indented list with a special bullet symbol in front of each item. (See also ordered list and definition list.)
URL (uniform resource locator) Also commonly called a location or address. This is an addressing system that locates documents on the Internet.
username Used with a password to gain access to a computer. A dial-up IP user typically has a username and password for dialing the access provider's Internet server.
VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) A three-dimensional navigation specification used to create three-dimensional worlds.
Web server A computer on the Internet that hosts data that can be accessed by Web browsers using the HTTP protocol.
World Wide Web (WWW or the Web) A set of Internet computers and services that provide an easy-to-use system for finding information and moving among resources. WWW services feature hypertext, hypermedia, and multimedia information, which can be explored through browsers such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.