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General information about WWW

General information about WWW

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Glossary of WWW terms

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General terms

Access control :

A method of restricting access to resources, allowing only privileged entities access. Access control is used typically to control user access to network resources such as servers, directories, and files.

Acrobat Reader :

It's a program that views and prints information in its original format even if a copy of the original program that created the information is not available. Acrobat Reader can be a stand-alone program or plug-in to a Web browser. It is a free program that reads files with a PDF extension. You can download it from Adobe at

ActiveX :

It's a technology developed by Microsoft. With an ActiveX-enabled browser (ie Internet Explorer only) ActiveX controls can be downloaded as part of a Web documents to add functionality to the browser (similar to Java applets). In particular ActiveX enables seamless viewing of Windows files of all types, e.g. spreadsheets, and in combination with other technologies such as Java and scripting languages, makes possible the development of complex Web applications.


A network created in 1969 by the US Defense Department's Advanced Projects Research Agency (ARPA) to develop a system of data communications for scientific and military operations. ARPANET adopted the TCP/IP communications standard, which defines data transfer on the Internet today. More information about it here.

Bookmark :

A routine that allows you to save a reference to a site or page that you have already visited. At a later point in time, you can use a bookmark to return to that page. It commonly refers to a feature of a web browser that allows you to collect and organize bookmarks of your favorite web sites.

Browser :

Software program used to view and interact with various types of Internet resources available on the World Wide Web. At CERN, there are Internet Explorer and/or Mozilla/Firefox. See also the part "Web browsers"

Client :

A client is the requesting program or user in a client/server relationship. For example, the user of a Web is effectively making client requests for pages from servers all over the Web. The browser itself is a client in its relationship with the computer that is getting and returning the requested HTML file. The computer handling the request and sending back the HTML files is a server.


Short for Cascading Style Sheets, a new feature being added to HTML that gives both Web site developers and users more control over how pages are displayed. With CSS, designers and users can create style sheets that define how different elements, such as headers and links, appear. These Style Sheets can then be applied to any Web page. See also the part "CSS"

Database :

A database is a collection of information stored in a computer in a systematic way, such that a computer program can consult it to answer questions. The software used to manage and query a database is known as a database management system (DBMS).


Document Object Model (DOM) is a form of representation of structured documents as an object-oriented model. DOM is the official World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard for representing structured documents in a platform - and language - neutral manner. The DOM is also the basis for a wide range of application programming interfaces, some of which are standardized by the W3C. More information on the W3C's site.

Flash :

Animation software used to develop interactive graphics for Web sites as well as desktop presentations and games (Windows and Mac) by the company Macromedia. Flash on the Web is displayed by a browser plug-in. Non-Web presentations are run by a Flash player, included on a floppy or CD-ROM. Visit Macromedia's site for more information about it.

Hacker :

Someone who tries to use their own computer and keyboard to break through computer security of another user, business or organization. It is usually done for fun, mischievous purposes, or to test limits. If done with criminal intent, he/she becomes known as a cracker.

Hand-held browser :

Browser which be integrated in a hand-held computer (like a PDA).

Hardware :

The physical equipment of a computer system, including the central processing unit, data-storage devices, terminals and printers. It contrast with software.

Hosting server :

Computer hardware where web pages are stored and accessed by others using browsers, or the computer software that allows the user to access the web pages.


HyperText Markup Language, the coding language used to create hypertext documents for the World Wide Web. In HTML, a block of text can be surrounded with tags that indicate how it should appear (for example, in bold face or italics). Also, in HTML a word, a block of text or an image can be linked to another file on the Web. HTML files are viewed with a Web browser. More information about it in the article of Wikipedia. See also the part "How the web works"


HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the foundation protocol of the World Wide Web. It sets the rules for exchanges between browser and server. It provides for the transfer of hypertext and hypermedia, for recognition of file types, and other functions.


HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the communication protocol of the World Wide Web. It was invented by Netscape Communications Corporation to provide authentication and encrypted communication. Usually it used in electronic commerce, on-line banking, etc. At CERN, it is recommended to use HTTPS rather than HTTP.

Hypertext :

It's the basic concept behind the WWW, whereby one resource can be linked to other relevant information elsewhere on the WWW. The user can view information non-sequentially, the idea is that the information is available in much the way that humans think - by association rather than linear sequence. More information in the article of Wikipedia.


Internet Mail Access Protocol is an Internet standard for the reading and manipulation of e-mail messages stored on a server. Messages are stored on a remote server. An IMAP e-mail client running on a local computer then contacts the server and uses IMAP to allow the user to see and manipulate their e-mail messages and mailboxes.

Instant messaging :

An instant messaging program is one that can instantly send messages from one computer to another by means of small "pop-up" windows. They are a form of "instant email" and are very popular with students and adults alike.

Internet :

A worldwide network of computer networks. It is an interconnection of large and small networks around the globe. The Internet began in 1962 as a resilient computer network for the US military and over time has grown into a global communication tool of more than 12 000 computers networks that share a common addressing scheme. You can have more information in the article of Wikipedia.

JavaScript :

JavaScript is a scripting language developed by Netscape to enable Web authors to design interactive sites. Although it shares many of the features and structures of the full Java language, it was developed independently. JavaScript can interact with HTML source code, enabling Web authors to spice up their sites with dynamic content. JavaScript is endorsed by a number of software companies and is an open language that anyone can use without purchasing a license.

Location bar :

A location bar, or URL/address bar, is a widget in a web browser which indicates the URL of the webpage currently viewed. A new page can be viewed by typing its URL to the location bar. More information about it in the part "Web browsers".

Menu bar :

When a window is open, the Menu Bar is just below the Title Bar and displays the names of an applications pull down menus that provide access to the different functions and features of that particular program. More information about it in the part "Web browsers".

Migration :

Migration widely refers to the process of moving a computer system and/or its components from one operating environment to another operating environment. Migration also refers to moving data from one storage medium or device to another.

Newsgroup :

A public place where messages are posted for public consumption and response. The most available distribution of newsgroups is USENET which contains over ten thousand unique newsgroups covering practically every human proclivity.

Output device :

A device that converts information coming form an electronic, internal representation in a computer system into a form that can be perceived by users or used by actuators.

Password :

A protected word or string of characters which serves as authentication of a person's identity (personal password), or which may be used to grant or deny access to private or shared data (access password).


A portable computing device capable of transmitting data. These devices makes possible services such as paging, data messaging, electronic mail, computing, facsimile, data book and other information handling capabilities.

Permission :

Most modern file systems have methods of administering permissions or access rights to specific users and groups of users. These systems control the ability of the users affected to view or make changes to the contents of the file system.

Pixel :

Short for Picture Element. The basic unit from which a video or computer picture is made. Essentially a dot with a given color and brightness value. The more pixels the higher the resolution of the picture.

Plugin :

A plugin (or plug-in) is a computer program that can, or must, interact with another program to provide a certain, usually very specific, function. Typical examples are plugins to display specific graphic formats, to play multimedia files, to encrypt/decrypt email, or to filter images in graphic programs.

Protocol :

On the Internet, "protocol" usually refers to a set of rules that define an exact format for communication between systems. For example the HTTP protocol defines the format for communication between web browsers and web servers, the IMAP protocol defines the format for communication between IMAP email servers and clients, and the SSL protocol defines a format for encrypted communications over the Internet.

Quicktime :

Part of the Macintosh operating system that allows the management and synchronization of time-based material such as video, audio, and animation as easily as text and graphics can be manipulated. It is allows the display of video in a small window or screen, provides multimedia file formats, controls peripheral devices, and provides capacity for compression, making it a multimedia development tool.

Resolution :

Resolution is the basic measurement of the amount of information on a display. Typically this is defined as the product of two numbers (i.e., 1024 x 768), which indicates the number of pixels displayed horizontally multiplied by the number of pixels displayed vertically. The higher the number the better as there is more ability to display more details.

Script :

A program or series of commands stored as ordinary text in a file, that can interpreted by a suitable script interpreter to perform useful actions. Examples of common scripting languages (with the corresponding file extensions in parenthesis) are Visual Basic Script (vbs), Java Script (js) and Perl (pl).

Scroll bar :

The rectangular area on the right side of the window that allows you to move up or down in the open document. You move by clicking and dragging it or clicking on the arrow at the bottom of the bar.

Search engine :

A program which acts as a card catalog for the Internet. Search engines attempt to index and locate desired information by searching for keywords in which a user specifies. The method for finding this information is usually done by maintaining indices of Web resources that can be queried for the keywords entered by the user.

Server :

A server is a computer that handles requests for data, email, file transfers, and others network services from other computers (i.e., clients).

Software :

Software refers to one or more computer programs held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. Program software performs the function of the program it implements, either by directly providing instructions to the computer hardware or by serving as input to another piece of software.


A security protocol that provides communication privacy. SSL enables client and server applications to communicate in a way that is designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, and message forgery. SSL was developed by Netscape Communications Corporation and RSA Data Security.

Station :

An input or output point of a system that uses telecommunication facilities: for example, one or more systems, computers, terminals, devices, and associated programs at a particular location that can send or receive data over a telecommunication line.

Status bar :

The small bar at the bottom of the Navigator window where messages about the current action are displayed. JavaScript can write text to the status bar.

Teletext :

Data service transmitted on TV lines not used for picture information, either utilizing spare capacity or instead of video information.

Toolbar :

A toolbar is a window whose buttons represent tools, menu items, or actions. The toolbar can be located along the top, bottom, or sides of a frame window or can "float" and be positioned anywhere on your desktop. You can also have multiple with a variety of different toolbar buttons using text, bitmaps, or both.


The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the address of a web site page or document on the Internet. Every URL is unique in its location. Example : the URL of the CERN is

Username :

A name that is unique and is used to recognize and identify a person who is attempting to log on on a computing system (like an area of a website that is restrict). With a password they are often use together to provide online security and Internet security without having to use digital certificates or encryption.

Validator :

An automated tool to check that coding used to create web pages is valid. It is important that coding is valid as this can impact on the accessibility of pages. Assistive technology used by disabled users such as screen readers may have problems if coding is invalid. Search engines may also have difficulty indexing pages. Most web editing packages include HTML validators or checkers, alongside spell checkers. Online validators are also available, e.g. W3C HTML validator and Style Sheet Validator.

W3C :

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the standard body responsible for many standard key to the functionality of the World Wide Web, including HTML, XML, sand Cascading Style Sheets. The W3C site includes the latest public versions of their standards as well as other information about the web and standard processes. Visit for more information.

Web page :

A document or file, written in HTML, that is stored on a web server and can be viewed over the Internet using an web browser.

Web site :

A set of web pages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.

Web standards :

Standardized specifications for Internet markup languages such as HTML, CSS and XML. Formulated by the W3C, these standards enable people to create web sites that will work in almost any browser or Internet-enable device.

World Wide Web :

A hypertext-based, distributed information originally created by researchers at CERN to facilitate sharing research information. The Web presents the user with documents, called web pages, full of links to other documents or information systems. Selecting one of these links, the user can access more information about a particular topic. Web pages includes text as well as multimedia (images, video, animation, sound)

Word :

Word is a word processor program from Microsoft. It was originally written by Richard Brodie for IBM PC computers running DOS in 1983. Later versions were created for the Apple Macintosh (1984), SCO UNIX, and Microsoft Windows (1989). It became part of the Microsoft Office. More information in the article of Wikipedia.


XHTML is the next generation of HTML and is a hybrid between HTML and XML. XML was designed to describe data. HTML was designed to display data. XHTML is much stricter than HTML. Not all browsers support XML so XHTML provides an intermediary solution and can be interpreted by XML and HTML browsers. For further information see


XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a W3C initiative that allows information and services to be encoded with meaningful structure and semantics that computers and humans can understand. XML is great for information exchange, and can easily be extended to include user-specified and industry-specified tags.