Glossary

Below is a glossary of web standards. Maccaws synthesis and referral to your reference

Accessibility

Accessibility in the context of the Web means building a Web that everyone is able to access, regardless of their level of physical or mental ability.

Accessibility Laws

Many countries around the world have laws that guarantee access to disabled people and some of those laws apply to Web sites. In some countries general human rights law covers all instances of access including Web sites, and some countries have laws that specifically related to accessibility and the Web.

Authoring

Authoring is a term often used to describe making or writing a document using a mark-up language. This differs from the term programming as many people consider computer programming to be a different process involving different skills than authoring a mark-up language. The term coding, however, is often used for both computer programming and authoring.

Authoring Tools

Authoring tools are software programs used to help Web authors code Web pages. For example, FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Home Site and BBEdit are all authoring tools.

Browsers

Browsers are software programs that allow a user to view images and read hypertext documents (i.e. Web pages). For example Mozilla, Netscape, Internet Explorer, and Safari are all browsers.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

Cascading Style Sheets are declarations that describe how a document should be presented on the Web. CSS can be written for different media, can be part of an HTML document, or can be a separate file that is applied to multiple HTML documents.

Coding

Coding is a term used to describe making or writing a document using a mark-up language. It can also be used to describe programming.

Content

Content is a term used to describe material offered for a user on a Web site. It can include text, audio files, images, Flash presentations and other files. The term content is often used to mean the material a viewer sees and not the coding that marks-up that material.

Device

Device, used in the context of discussions around the Web and Web standards, means some type of machine that is connected to the internet. Usually this means a personal computer, but a device could be a cell phone, personal digital assistant, screen reader or other adaptive technology for the disabled, or maybe one of those fancy internet fridges!

DTD (Document Type Definition)

A DTD outlines the rules of a particular document structure. It lists the elements, attributes, and entities in a document and it defines the relationships between the different elements and attributes.

Extensible

Capable of being extended. A program or system that can be added to and modified in the future.

Global CSS files

Global CSS files are separate CSS files (not CSS that is part of an HTML file) that are referenced and apply to all of the pages on a Web site. Often global CSS files will include colour font and layout information that apply throughout a Web site.

HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language)

HTML is a simple mark-up language used to create hypertext documents that are can be read on any computer. HTML documents are SGML documents.

Hosting

Web hosts offer their clients a space on a Web server (or an entire Web server) for a Web site. This Web server can be accessed by users who visit the client’s Web site by typing in a domain name. See ISP

Internationalization

Internationalization (often abbreviated to i18n) is the effort to make the Web available to everyone regardless of location.

ISP (Internet Service Provider or Service Provider)

ISPs offer their clients access to and a presence on the Internet. See Hosting

Mark-up Language

A mark-up language is a language that “marks-up” the text of a document by putting tags around content to describe what that content is and how to display it. HTML, XHTML and CSS allow an author to indicate each element in a document — what it is and what it should look like — those instructions are interpreted by a Web browser or other user agent and displayed on a device for the user.

Pixel-perfect Design

A term used to describe a Web page design that does not allow for flexibility such as different monitor and window sizes, font sizes or other differences in user agents.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

Also known as PNG is Not GIF. PNG is a graphic file format that was developed in the mid-90s in response to patent problems with GIF files and therefore PNG is not patented. PNG has additional features including, alpha transparency, gamma correction, faster interlacing, slightly better lossless compression and more. Some browsers do not support the PNG file format.

Presentation

Presentation is the look of a Web site; its layout, fonts, colours, some of the images that are just used for decoration etc. Web page presentation can be entirely controlled by the CSS. Presentation, within the context of Web standards discussion, is often used in contrast to content.

Programming

The formal definition of programming is “creating a sequence of instructions to enable the computer to do something”. In some ways authoring Web documents appears to be programming, and in some cases it is programming (especially in regards to JavaScript). However, HTML, XHTML and CSS are mark-up languages and require a browser to interpret instructions for the computer and so are not truly programming languages. The term programming usually implies some type of logic and formulation of rules is involved.

RDF (Resource Description Framework)

a language for describing relationships between resources using specific vocabularies (“ontologies”) so that knowledge models we have in the real world can be better correlated for information re-use.

RSS (“Really Simple Syndication”, “RDF Site Summary” or “Rich Site Summary”)

a popular, but contentious format for syndicating news and Web site updates. All RSS standards which are currently in use are XML, and of these, RSS 1.0 is also RDF.

Screen Readers

A screen reader is a software program that reads the text on a computer screen aloud to a user. Screen readers are often used by blind or visually impaired people.

Semantic structure

Semantic structure means organization that has meaning. So for example, a Web page that is structured semantically must have mark-up that accurately reflects and extends the meaning of the content. For more information on semantic structure and the Web you can see the Semantic Web initiative.

SGML

SGML is a system for defining markup languages. Each markup language defined in SGML is called an SGML application. HTML is an example of an SGML application.

SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

multimedia and graphics-related standards; the latter is well-supported by Adobe and has advantages over the Macromedia Flash format because it is an XML language. Using SVG animation in combination with the DOM has results which are equivalent to Flash, but with a result that is accessible and better semantically structured.

Specification (often shortened to Spec)

A specification is a detailed description of design criteria for a piece of work. However, within the context of Web standards, we mean the specifications as put forward by standards bodies that tell us exactly the way HTML, XHTML, CSS and other languages should be coded.

User Agent

A user agent is a piece of software that interprets Web documents for a user. Examples of user agents are browsers on PCs, cell phones or PDAs, and screen readers.

Web Authors

Web authors code documents for the Web using a mark-up language. Web authors are often also known as Web designers or Web developers.

XHTML (eXtensible HyperText Markup Language)

XHTML is a reformulation of HTML so that it conforms to the rules of XML. This means that XHTML is very similar to HTML, except for slight differences in the markup, but it is now a sub-set of XML.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

XML defines rules to mark-up a document in a way that allows the author to express semantic meaning in the mark-up. XML does not necessarily restrict the author to certain tags (elements) as HTML and XHTML does. So, an author could decide to mark-up a recipe with tags like <ingredient>, <step>, <oventemperature>, and so on. However, sub-sets of XML have defined certain tags in certain ways. An example of this is XHTML.

XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language)

a family of recommendations which describes how XML documents should display and facilitates the transformation of XML documents into other formats