A programming technique for creating interactive Web applications. Small amounts of data are exchanged as needed instead of pulling entire Web pages to be reloaded each time the user makes a change. This increases the Web page's response time, interactivity, and overall usability. Ajax is a cross-platform technology that can be used on many different operating systems, computer architectures, and Web browsers as it is based on open standards such as JavaScript and XML.
The precursor to the Internet, it was a network developed in the late 1960's and early 1970's by the U.S. Department of Defense. As an experiment in wide area networking (WAN), ARPANet was developed with the goal of being robust enough to survive a nuclear war. Part of the experiment was to study how distributed, noncentralized networks work.


Binary Numbers
Online jargon, also known as text message shorthand, used in texting, online chat, instant messaging, email, blogs, and newsgroup postings, these types of abbreviations are also referred to as chat acronyms.
The basic unit of information in a binary numbering system, it takes 8 bits to make up a byte. For the most part, bits are used to describe transmission speeds, whereas bytes generally refer to storage capacity. It works like this: The electronic circuitry in computers detects the difference between two states (high current and low current) and represents these two states as one of two numbers, 1 or 0. These basic high/low, either/or, yes/no units of information are called bits. The word bit derives from the phrase "binary digit."
Browsers read pages that are "marked up" or coded, usually in HTML (and often with advanced scripts like PHP). These pages reside on servers. The browsers interpret the code into what we see rendered as a Web page. As well-designed software programs, browsers contain a variety of tools, including bookmarks and the back button, that make "surfing the Net" more enjoyable. You will need a browser to "get on the Web."


Cache is a form of high-speed memory that your computer sets aside to store frequently accessed data; once the data is stored, it can be retrieved directly from your hard drive rather than from a server. Accessing your hard drive is much faster than Internet access, so this speeds things up. Hard disk access, however, is slower than RAM, which is why your computer also has a disk cache, an area that stores information you might need from your hard disk. It's a good thing to clean out your cache every now and then (only because it helps your computer run faster), but keep in mind that recently accessed Web pages may have to be reloaded.
Cloud computing
Cloud computing specifically refers to incorporating software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Users do not need to have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the "cloud" that supports them.


A computer software setting or preference that states what will automatically happen in the event that the user has not stated another preference. For example, your computer may have a default setting to launch or start Netscape whenever a GIF is opened; if you prefer to use Photoshop whenever you need to view a GIF, you can change the default setting.
The DOCTYPE Declaration (DTD or Document Type Declaration), what it does and why each web page needs it. HTML validation requires the DOCTYPE declaration (DTD). The browsers will go into Quirks mode if a DOCTYPE declaration (DTD) is not included.
The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address -just like a telephone number- which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address." But it is hard to remember everyone's IP address. The DNS makes it easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing, you can type www.netlingo.com. It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember. Translating the name into the IP address is called "resolving the domain name." The goal of the DNS is for any Internet user any place in the world to reach a specific Web site IP address by entering its domain name. Domain names are also used for reaching e-mail addresses and for other Internet applications. The DNS is a static, hierarchical name service that uses TCP/IP hosts and is housed on a number of servers on the Internet.


Software used to create and change Web pages (HTML-based documents). Low-level Web page editors are used to write HTML code directly.
E-mail is mail that's electronically transmitted by your computer. As opposed to snail mail, e-mail sends your messages instantaneously, anywhere in the world. It is the killer app of the Internet because of its capability to send messages at any time, to anyone, for less money than mailing a letter or calling someone on the telephone. In fact, there are now more e-mail addresses than telephone numbers in the world, and more people have multiple e-mail addresses than multiple telephone numbers. Linked by high-speed data connections that create a global network, e-mail lets you compose messages and transmit them in seconds to one or more recipients across the office, the street, or the country. All you need to get started is an e-mail account, an online connection, a computer, and an e-mail program.


A list of questions and answers related to a Web site, newsgroup, software, or any kind of product or service. Because these are "frequently asked" questions, most users can find the information they need on a FAQ So, before you send an e-mail to customer service, check the FAQ on the Web site. FAQs keep newsgroup discussions from being overrun by newbie questions.
Firefox is an open source browser organized by the folks at Mozilla that empowers users to browse faster, more safely and more efficiently than other browsers.
The type and style of text letters and characters you see in documents, Web pages, and graphical images of words (images that look like they're typed or written). There are many font choices available to choose from (for example, Helvetica, Arial, and Times New Roman). Fonts make text look different, and some people use funky fonts to express themselves.
The standard method for downloading and uploading files over the Internet. With FTP, you can login to a server and transfer files (meaning you can "send" or "receive" files). Some sites have public file archives that you can access by using FTP with the account name "anonymous" and your e-mail address as the password. This type of access is called anonymous FTP. Macintosh owners use a program called Fetch; one of the best FTP programs for Windows is called WS-FTP. Knowing FTP is necessary (and easy) if you want to create your own Web site.


Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Stanford Ph.D. candidates who developed a technologically advanced method for finding information on the Internet, its most famous product is a hybrid search engine that ranks the popularity of results that match your keyword search. It has an index of billions of Web pages. Google focuses primarily on delivering the best search experience on the Web, by providing a search site and by licensing its search technology to commercial sites. Ultimately, Web sites are now allowed to freely using Google technology on their own sites, such as Google Local and Google Maps.
A picture or still image generated on a computer. There are two basic types of computer-generated graphics: object-oriented graphics (vector graphics) and bitmapped graphics (raster graphics). "Graphics" may be short for "graphic arts," including the creation, modification, and printing of visual works.


HTML is a mark-up language (versus a programming language) that uses tags to structure text into headings, paragraphs, lists, and links (like those seen on the NetLingo.com HTML Code Cheat Sheet). It tells a Web browser how to display text and images. You can see a Web page's HTML code if you select "view source" from the View menu in your Web browser.
The standard Internet protocol for the exchange of information on the World Wide Web. Basically, it defines URLs by telling the server what to send to the client. The client can view Web pages, FTP sites, Gopher sites, Usenet newsgroups, or other areas of the Net. HTTP enables Web authors to code hyperlinks into documents. Once the files are FTP'd to the server, those links can be clicked on to initiate a data transfer process. Information is retrieved without any further input from the user (this is known as "transparent access," in which the user doesn't even need to know where the document is coming from or how it was accessed).
The text or graphics on a Web site that can be clicked on with a mouse to take you to another Web page or a different area of the same Web page. Hyperlinks are usually created (or coded) in HTML. They are also used to load multimedia files, such as AVI movies and AU sound files.


The most important technological innovation of our generation, the Internet is actually a network of networks. Originally designed by the U.S. Department of Defense so that a communication signal could withstand nuclear war and serve military institutions worldwide, the Internet was first known as the ARPANet, the most robust communication technology. It is a system of linked computer networks, international in scope, that facilitates data transfer and communication services, such as remote login, file transfer (FTP), electronic mail (e-mail), newsgroups, and the World Wide Web. The Internet greatly extends the reach of each connected computer network (see: network effect, IP).
The set of technology standards and technical specifications that enable information to be routed from one network to another over the Internet. It is the way networks exchange data with each other. For example, IP is the delivery mechanism by which your e-mail gets sent. IP defines how the data will be divided into packets; each packet is coded with an IP address; and various packets constitute a single message. These packets travel across the Internet by different routes and arrive at the destination in a scrambled order. A second protocol, TCP (transmission control protocol), is needed to put the packets back in sequence. And that, my friends, is the basis for how the Internet works.
A company that provides users access to the Internet. Before you can connect to the Net, you must first establish an account with an ISP. For a monthly fee, the Internet Service Provider gives you a software package, a username, a password, and an access phone number. Once you install the software on your computer and go through the registration process, you'll be able to surf the Web, send e-mail, chat, and read the newsgroups, among many other things.


One of the two most common types of image formats used on the World Wide Web (the other being GIF). The shorter extension, JPG (without the E), is usually used in association with PC platform files.


A unit of measurement equivalent to one thousand bytes of computer memory or disk capacity. For example, a device that has 256K of memory can store approximately 256,000 bytes (or characters) at one time. In decimal systems, kilo stands for 1,000, but the computer world is based on a binary system of twos instead of tens.


A network that connects computers in a relatively small, predetermined area (such as a room, a building, or a set of buildings). LANs can be connected to each other over telephone lines and radio waves. Workstations and personal computers in an office are commonly connected in a LAN. This allows individual users to send or receive files and to share access to files and data. Each computer connected to a LAN is called a node.
Local Computer
In a LAN or on the Internet, this is the computer you are using. As opposed to remote, which means off-site or "somewhere else," local means on-site or "what's in front of you.


A million bytes or one thousand kilobytes
Meta Tag
An HTML tag that contains information about a Web page. Some search engines, such as AltaVista, use spiders that index Web pages based on meta tags. So, in theory, an HTML or Web page author can control how a site is indexed by search engines and how and when it will be called up during a user's search. Within the meta tag, a keyword tag defines the primary keywords of a Web page. The meta tag can also specify an HTTP or URL address for the page to jump to after a certain amount of time (this is known as client pull). So, a Web page author can control the amount of time a Web page is up on the screen, as well as where the browser will go next.


The act of moving around the Web by clicking on hypertext links (or paths) that take you from one Web page to another. As you navigate, you move from one computer to another and from one server to another without realizing it.Outside of the Coast Guard and the yacht club, never before has this term been so widely used. This is due in part to Netscape Navigator but also to the fact that humans are now thought to be "navigating" their way through life, careers, relationships, etc. because of more choices and opportunities.
The code of conduct and unofficial rules that govern online interaction and behavior, it comes from "net" plus "etiquette."
The term actually has many different meanings depending on the person, company, or context in which it is being used. Basically, it is a collection of two or more computers and associated devices that are linked together with communications equipment. Once connected, each part of the network can share the software, hardware, and information contained in the other parts.


Open Source
Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and made freely available. For example, in an effort to stay viable in its browser competition with Microsoft (prior to its acquisition by AOL), Netscape made its browser source code (Mozilla) freely available, encouraging users to improve it.
Operating System
The foundation software of a computer system, responsible for controlling and launching the installed applications and computer peripherals. Common operating systems include MS-DOS, Unix, OS/2, Macintosh, and Windows. It is the software that schedules tasks, allocates storage, handles the interface to peripheral hardware, and presents a default interface to the user when no application program is running.


The name for a unit of data sent across a network. Information is sent over the Internet (and many other networks) in packets.
PNG (pronounced ping as in ping-pong; for Portable Network Graphics) is a file format for image compression that, in time, is expected to replace the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) that is widely used on today's Internet. Owned by Unisys, the GIF format and its usage in image-handling software involves licensing or other legal considerations. (Web users can make, view, and send GIF files freely but they can't develop software that builds them without an arrangement with Unisys.) The PNG format, on the other hand, was developed by an Internet committee expressly to be patent-free. It provides a number of improvements over the GIF format


A question or request to find a particular file, Web site, record, or set of records in a search engine or database.
An acronym that refers to a standard keyboard (as identified by the first six letters in the upper row). One of the reasons why BlackBerries are so popular is because they have a QWERTY keyboard, whereas IM'ing on a regular cell phone is more difficult because it only has a numeric keypad.


Hardware inside your computer that retains memory on a short-term basis and stores information while you work. RAM is one of the things that make your computer run faster. It comes in 32-bit, 64-bit, 128-bit, 256-bit, and higher, and you can add additional "blocks" of RAM, depending on your computer.
The three colors that create all of the other colors on a computer screen.
Put simply, an "RSS feed" is a format for distributing and gathering content from sources across the Web, including newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Web publishers use RSS to create and distribute news feeds that include links, headlines, and summaries. In other words, it is a format (in XML) for syndicating Web content so as to allow Web site owners and independent publishers the ability to easily share information. The idea is that when the published RSS feed changes, the content fed to your Web site will automatically change too.


Serial Port
A connection point on a computer, it's used to connect a serial interface device (such as a mouse or modem) to the system. Serial ports are typically identified as COM ports, and most computers come with two (often with the capacity to add more).
A host computer on a network, it houses information and responds to requests for information (for example, it houses Web sites and executes their links to other Web sites). The term "server" also refers to the software that makes the act of "serving information" possible. Commerce servers, for example, use software to run the main functions of an e-commerce Web site, such as product display, online ordering, and inventory management (you'll also hear this described as shopping cart technology). A server is the control computer on a LAN, meaning it controls the software, access to printers, and other parts of the network (usually accompanied by workstations that "share the load"). A server may be dedicated (where its sole purpose is to be the server) or non-dedicated (where in addition to being the server, it can be used for basic computing purposes).
Synonymous with a crawler, this is a program that searches the Internet and attempts to locate new, publicly accessible resources, such as WWW documents, files available in public FTP archives, and Gopher documents.


In Web programming languages, it is the code that describes a command or instruction so that a Web browser will be able to interpret and display it. In order to link an image or word on a Web page, you must put specific tags around the image or word in the code. This is known as basic HTML and it's pretty easy. Look up the HTML definition for more info.
The set of protocols that make Telnet, FTP, e-mail, and other services possible among computers that don't belong to the same network.


To copy a file from your local computer to a server or host system; the reverse process of download.
An acronym/term that describes the location and access method of a resource on the Internet; for example, the URL "http://www.netlingo.com" describes the type of access method being used (http-the protocol) and the server location that hosts the Web site (www.netlingo.com-the address). All Web sites have URLs.
A term that defines the online audience, it also refers to anyone who "uses" a computer. The term "users" rubs some people the wrong way because, in the past, if you said you were a user, it meant you were habitually consuming an illicit drug. Nowadays, a user is a person who is online. It comes from techies, who refer to people as "computer users."


A simulation of the real thing, it means the same as "almost." You will see this term appear before various Internet terms to indicate a simulation technology that enables you to cross boundaries and experience something without needing it to be physically present, as in virtual sex, virtual theme parks, and virtual communities. The Internet itself can be seen as a virtual world; however, most users prefer the term "online."
Virus (Computer Virus)
A software program that replicates on computer systems by incorporating itself into shared programs. Viruses range from harmless pranks that merely display an annoying message to programs that can destroy files or disable a computer altogether. Whether they're considered malicious or malevolent, all viruses spread rapidly. For example, from one computer to millions of others around the world, infecting machines and causing them to crash.


An organization that exists to realize the full potential of the Web, it is a special interest group comprised of programmers, Web developers, execs in the industry, and users who help define specifications for the development of Web technology. Be sure to also read through these definitions: HTTP, P3P, RDF, XML -
A network that uses high-speed, long-distance communications cables or satellites to connect computers over distances greater than those traversed by LANs (which range about two miles). The Internet itself is considered a WAN.
see: World Wide Web
Web Host
The business of providing the equipment and services required to host and maintain files for one or more Web sites and to provide fast Internet connections to those sites. Most hosting is "shared," which means that Web sites of multiple companies are on the same server in order to share costs. Virtual hosting means that services will be transparent (so that each site has its own domain name and e-mail addresses). Dedicated hosting means that the Web hosting company provides all of the equipment and assumes all of the responsibility for technical support and maintenance of a Web site.
An acronym for a technology that allows you to view or print a document exactly as it looks. This term has also morphed into an expression used in online dating sites, for example "Listen I'll be honest with you, I'm not too complex. WYSIWYG!"


XHTML stands for EXtensible HyperText Markup Language XHTML is almost identical to HTML XHTML is stricter than HTML XHTML is HTML defined as an XML application XHTML is supported by all major browsers
XML provides a powerful set of tools for developing a new generation of Web applications, including tools like database exchange, distribution of processing to clients, multiple views of data, intelligent agents, management of document collections, and so on. Whether XML eventually supplants HTML as the standard Web formatting specification depends a lot on whether it is supported by future Web browsers.


Online jargon, also known as text message shorthand, used primarily in texting, online chat, instant messaging, email, blogs, and newsgroup postings, these types of abbreviations are also referred to as chat acronyms.


The nickname for an electronic magazine. Just like their real-world counterparts, online magazines primarily derive revenue from ad banner sales. Broadly speaking, a zine is any Web site that publishes content.
Zip (As in a .zip file)
A Windows-based compressed file. ZIP is the industry standard for data compression technology, in part because it can hold directory structures in addition to files. On the Net, large graphics and programs are usually compressed as ZIP files and then made available for download. After you download a ZIP file, you need to use a decompression software program to "unzip" it. This may sound a bit complicated, but in fact, the process of zipping and unzipping files is quite easy. It especially comes in handy when you want to send digital photos to a family member.