Jargon busting on the world wide web

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Alan Stainer runs an IT company specialising in technical advice and support and website design, based in the Horsham District. In each column he’ll look at issues affecting computer use.

Jargon busting time again and as you will see, it can get a bit tricky. This week I am turning my attention to the world wide web.

Firstly, what is the world wide web? It is a series of websites connected to each other via hyperlinks.

A hyperlink is a text link which you can click on to visit a web page.

A website is a collection of web pages which you can view using your browser.

A browser is any program which allows you to access remote pages on a website. For example, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple’s Safari are all browsers.

See what I mean? As soon as you start explaining one thing, you have to explain another. Here we go again...

There are two basic types of web site. Static and dynamic.

Static sites don’t change their content very often and require someone experienced in HTML and CSS to make changes.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the code used to construct a web page. The text of a page title would be in HTML.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets, so named for the way they are prioritised), affect the look of a page. The size and colour of a page title would be handled by CSS. All web pages are displayed using a combination of HTML and CSS.

Dynamic sites store their content in a database, rather than in HTML itself. Administering a dynamic site is done through a CMS.

A CMS (Content Management System) is a type of website that allows you to make changes on the fly. A common one used for blogs is Wordpress.

A blog or web log is a style of website that you can use as an online journal. Businesses often use them to give company announcements, while individuals use them for anything that interests them.

Related to blogs are microblogs. They encourage shorter posts, rather than long form articles. Social networks such as Twitter, are microblogs.

Alan Stainer