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Glossary of Web Authoring Terms

This is a quick list of some important terms for CSU Libraries Web authors. The definitions are intended to be concise, informal and practical. More precise definitions and detailed information can be found on the Wikipedia and other Web authoring glossaries.

Web Authoring Terms by Category

Web Authoring Terms A to Z

Principles for creating Web content that can be accessed by all users, including those with disabilities.
Active Server Pages (ASP)
A proprietary server-side scripting language developed by Microsoft for creating Web applications that run on the IIS Web server.
An HTML tag that serves as the target of another link. For example, links in a table of contents can point to anchors further down in the same document. The HTML tag for a link is also an anchor.
A popular, open-source Web server application that the CSU Libraries uses.
Microsoft's server-side framework for developing web applications.
An online journal or Web-based publication with one or more contributors, usually with the most recently posted information first. The CSU Libraries blogs use MovableType software.
C# (C Sharp)
The most popular programming language by Microsoft for developing ASP.NET web applications.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
A standard, recommended language for the visual presentation (formatting and page layout) of Web documents. Stylesheets are stored externally in .css files or internally within <style> tags in HTML documents.
A popular web browser by Google.
A computer or application that requests services from a server. For example, Web browsers are client applications that run on client computers.
A proprietary server-side scripting language developed by Macromedia for creating Web applications.
Common Gateway Interface (CGI)
A set of rules for programs to communicate with a web server. CSU Libraries uses CGI for processing Web-based forms.
Content Management System (CMS)
Software for collaborative Web document creation and management. CSU Libraries uses the Drupal CMS software for its site.
A WYSIWYG Web authoring application created by Adobe.
An open-source content management system used by CSU Libraries for managing a dynamic website.
A popular open source Web browser created by Mozilla.
Hyperlink (or link)
A pointer to another document such as a Web page, image or application. When the user selects a link, the user's browser retrieves the document.
Text that contains hyperlinks for cross-referencing.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
A set of tags used to create Web pages. Some tags show the document's content structure, while others can control formatting and page layout for display in a Web browser.
A newer version of HTML intended to work with multimedia and simplify web development.
HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
A set of rules and commands that allow applications to send and receive text files and information on the Internet.
A global network of millions of computers.
Internet Explorer
The most commonly used Web browser, developed by Microsoft.
Internet Information Services (IIS)
A popular Web server application that runs on Microsoft Windows operating systems.
A local area network used to run an internal access-restricted Web site within an organization.
An object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems, similar to C++ in syntax, that can create either stand-alone applications or applets (Web-based applications that run in a Web browser). Java can be used for server-side programming.
A client-side scripting language developed by Netscape to add interactivity to Web pages. JavaScript is completely different from Java except that the syntax looks a bit similar.
An open source operating system based on commercial versions of the UNIX operating system. Linux is a competitor of Microsoft Windows. The Libraries Web server runs on RedHat Linux.
Meta tags
Tags inserted into the head section of an HTML document to describe the document. The CSU Libraries Web page templates use meta tags for author, keywords and description.
Open source
Software that is freely distributed on the Internet. The source code of the software is non-proprietary and can be viewed, modified and copied. The cost is usually low or none.
A free, alternative web browser.
A programming language that can be used for writing operating system scripts or creating web applications using CGI. The Libraries uses Perl for processing Web-based forms.
An application created by Adobe for editing graphics, often used Web authors to create Web graphics.
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor)
An open-source programming language used mostly for server-side scripting for creating Web applications, including wikis, form processing and bulletin boards. The CSU Libraries uses PHP for some database applications and Web form processing.
RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication)
XML file formats used for Web-based distribution of news sites and blogs. Users subscribe to RSS feeds and periodically receive a list of updated articles, possibly through feed reader software. The CSU Libraries internal Wiki has a similar feature to send e-mail when a page or blog is changed.
A web browser by Apple.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Making pages easy to find for search engines.
A computer or application that sends information to clients.
Server-Side Includes (SSI)
A language used to automatically include one file in another file by inserting tags in HTML documents.
Structured Query Language (SQL)
A computer language to make requests to restore or retrieve data in a relational database. Popular relational databases that use SQL include Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL (which is open source).
A code in a Web authoring language, often used for formatting or displaying something. For example, in HTML, the <p> tag is used for indicating a paragraph, and <ol> is used for a numbered list.
A file used as a starting point to create other files, used for site consistency. The CSU Libraries Web page templates should be used when creating new CSU Libraries pages. The Libraries uses Dreamweaver Templates for a few subsites.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
A Web address that uniquely identifies a Web page, e.g. the URL for the CSU Libraries home page is http://lib.colostate.edu/.
Principles for creating Web content that is easy to use.
Using a validator tool to check a code file (HTML, XHTML, CSS, etc.) for compliance with a standard syntax, accessibility or broken links.
Visual Basic
A popular programming language by Microsoft, used especially for developing commercial ASP.NET web applications.
Visual Studio
Microsoft's main integrated development environment, often used for developing ASP.NET web applications in Visual Basic or C#.
Web Browser
An application that can display Web pages, images and other information retrieved from the Internet.
Web Server
A computer or application that sends information such as Web pages to Web browsers and other applications on the Internet. The CSU Libraries server computer is named Snook, and the server application is Apache.
Web Site
A set of related Web pages for an organization or individual, e.g. the CSU Libraries Web site.
A group of Web pages that is edited by a group of users using simple formatting codes. The CSU Libraries uses MediaWiki software for its Public Wiki and Staff Wiki.
The most widely used operating system, created by Microsoft.
World Wide Web (WWW or Web)
The collection of all documents exchanged on the Internet using HTTP and interconnected using hypertext.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
A group that defines Web standards.
WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get)
Using a Web authoring tool to display and edit a document in a graphical view, similar to how it will appear on the Web, e.g. with formatting, page layout and images. HTML tags and other code can be hidden. Also called design view.
A new version of Web-based forms based on XHTML and XML to separate the definition and display of data. CSU Libraries does not use XForms yet.
The latest version of HTML that strictly complies with the XML standard. CSU Libraries pages should be converted to XHTML.
XML (Extensible Markup Language)
A language for creating other markup languages and sharing data on the Web. CSU Libraries uses XML for creating its archives finding aids.
XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language)
A language for formatting and displaying XML pages in a browser.

Some Other Glossaries of Web Authoring Terms

Some General Web/Internet Glossaries