Basic Terminology

Application: A program or group of programs designed for end users. Application software includes database programs, word processors, and spreadsheets. Applications are unable to function without an operating system and system utilities.

ASP: Also know as Active Server Pages, ASP is scripting language developed by Microsoft.

BIOS: An acronym for basic input/output system. The BIOS is built-in software that determines what a computer can do without accessing programs from a disk. On PC's, the BIOS contains all the code required to control the keyboard, monitor, disk drives, and a number of miscellaneous functions.

Broadband: A high-speed internet connection, such as cable modem, DSL, T1, or T3. Cable modem and DSL are the most common types of broadband for residential users, while businesses often utilize connections up to and beyond T3 lines.

Cookie: A message given to a web browser by a web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. The main purpose of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare customized web pages for them. When you enter a web site using cookies, you may be asked to fill out a form providing such information as your name and interests. This information is packaged into a cookie and sent to your web browser, which stores it for later use. The next time you go to the same web site, your browser will send the cookie to the web server. The server can use this information to present you with custom web pages. So, for example, instead of seeing just a generic welcome page you might see a welcome page with your name on it.

Domain name: A series of alphanumeric strings separated by periods, such as, that identifies the owner of the address.

Flash: An Adobe/Macromedia product allowing designers to create rich animations including multimedia presentations, web animations, e-learning courses and application front ends.

Internet: An interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world via the TCP/IP protocol.

intranet: An intranet is a web site geared toward use specifically by a company's employees. It will often contain company or project-specific information that allows employees to coordinate more efficiently.

IP address: An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination.

LAN: Also known as local area network, LAN is a computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. However, one LAN can be connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines, high-speed lines, or radio waves. A system of LANs connected in this way is called a wide-area network (WAN).

Operating system: Windows and UNIX are the most popular operating systems which allow programs to run on a computer. Every general-purpose computer must have an operating system to run other programs. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the monitor, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives, printers, and scanners.

PHP: Short for Hypertext Preprocessor, PHP is a server-side scripting language used to develop dynamic web pages. PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages used.

Search engines: A search engine is web page used to locate information on the internet. A search engine may store references to the entire internet, or may only apply to a single site. Click here for a more detailed description of the importance of search engines.

Server: A computer that serves other machines. A server is generally a central machine used for storage or other functions. A web server processes requests for HTML and other documents that are components of web pages.

TCP/IP: An acronym for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, TCP/IP is a protocol for communication between computers, used as a standard for transmitting data over networks and as the basis for standard Internet protocols.

Web browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator and FireFox are the most popular web browsers. Web browsers allow internet users to view HTML and other documents.