Web Terminology Cheat Sheet

A quick reference for some of the techie nonsense I speak:
(in alphabetical order)

ACTIONSCRIPT
The native scripting language of Adobe Flash.

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)
A “front-end” to “backend” language that allows the browser to access data content without requiring the page to reload.

BACKEND
A reference for data-base stored content that is not necessarily seen by day-to-day website users.

BLOG or WEB LOG
A blog (short for “web log”) is a type of web page that offers a series of posted items (short articles, photos, diary entries, etc.)

BROWSER(s)
Software programs that enable you to view web pages and other documents on the Internet. They “translate” HTML-encoded files into the text, images, sounds, and other features you see. The most commonly used browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer (often called IE), Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, Opera, and Chrome.

CACHE
In browsers, “cache” is used to identify a space where web pages you have visited are stored in your computer. A copy of documents you retrieve is stored in cache. When you use GO, BACK, or any other means to revisit a document, the browser first checks to see if it is in cache and will retrieve it from there because it is much faster than retrieving it from the server.

CASE SENSITIVE
Simply put: case sensitivity applies when upper and lowercase characters matter (ex. in a password).

COOKIE
A stored message from a web server computer, sent to and stored by your browser on your computer. When your computer consults the originating server computer, the cookie is sent back to the server, allowing it to respond to you according to the cookie’s contents.

CMS (Content Management System)

A toolset created to allow users to manage content of any kind via a login and tool rather than entering in code and manually managing files. (ex. WordPress– the toolset that lets me easily update my blog).

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
A simple markup language used for telling the browser what layout, colors and images in which to display your website.

DOMAIN NAME / DOMAIN NAME SERVER
The domain name gives you who “published” a page, made it public by putting it on the Web and gives it an “address”. A domain name server’s job is to translate a domain name into a readable address by all internet-ready machines.

FLASH
A program installed in your browser which allows websites to deliver richer, animated, often vector content to your browser in a quick and easy manner.

FRAME(s)
A format for web documents that divides the screen into segments, each with a scroll bar as if it were as “window” within the window.

FRONTEND
The visual elements of a website that all users see and interact with.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
Software that gives the ability to transfer rapidly entire files from one computer to another, intact for viewing or other purposes.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS
A free software provided by Google that provides you with statistics and reports regarding your websites’ visitors and content.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
A standardized language of computer code, imbedded in “source” documents behind all Web documents, containing the textual content, images, links to other documents (and possibly other applications such as sound or motion), and formatting instructions for display on the screen. When you view a Web page, you are looking at the product of this code working behind the scenes in conjunction with your browser. Browsers are programmed to interpret HTML for display.

IP (Internet Protocol [address])
Specifies the format of data packets, and the addressing scheme they use. IP by itself is something like the postal system- your IP address is your physical numerical address on your network.

JAVASCRIPT
A coding language used to manipulate elements on the front-end of your website. Different from Java.

MOBILE DEVICE
A small computer device used for a variety of applications, email and web browsing. (ex: iPhone and iPad).

mySQL (Structured Query Language)
A popular web-based relational database used for storing a wide range of data types. SQL itself is a database language and structure used in several other types of databases.

OPEN-SOURCE
A term used to describe software and hardware that allows users free access to edit its code or modify its device. (ex. WordPress is free to download and includes all of its code).

PLUGIN
An add-on to an existing piece of software that expands that software’s functionality without altering the original programming. (ex. Flash on your browser or the calendar module on my blog).

PHP (Pre-Hypertext Processing)
A backend (or middle) programming language that facilitates data between a database and the visual aspects of a website.

RASTER
The opposite of Vector– an image comprised using a series of color dots called pixels.

RSS or RSS feeds
Short for “Really Simple Syndication” (a.k.a. Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary), a short-form data set that allows virtually anyone to read and re-use content.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The practice of making website coding, content and organization maximized for compatibility with popular search engines.

SEARCH ENGINE
A tool for searching the internet (usually by keyword). The most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo!, and Bing!/MSN.

SERVER
A computer which serves a single explicit use (ex. providing ads or running a website).

SILVERLIGHT
A Microsoft program, competitive to Flash, installed in your browser which allows websites to deliver richer, animated, often vector content to your browser in a quick and easy manner.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
Technology utilized to encrypt and secure data that goes from your website to your visitors’ browser. Highly recommend for any site that transfers sensitive information. (ex. your bank uses it to secure your financial info).

STREAMING
A system of serving content that is constantly sending and recieving information between the server and you. (ex. live radio or video).

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
The global address of your website in written (not numerical) form. More often than not includes your domain name.

VECTOR
An image that is visually represented by a series of invisible (to the user) mathematical paths rather than by “dots”. Typically less detailed but easier to scale and size due to its mathematical nature.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
A simple-shorthand language used for presenting data (often from a database) in a format readable by a wide range of programming languages, browsers, and readers.