Archive for the ‘Glossary’ Category

File Under: Glossary

Apache

Apache is a freely available, and highly popular, open-source web server.

Originally, Apache was designed for Unix. Now versions are available for most operating systems including Windows, OSX and Linux. There are also numerous add-ons and tailored versions of the server using the Apache module API. The name Apache comes from its origins as a series of “patch files.”

Read Webmonkey’s Apache for Beginners article for more details about Apache.

Information and downloads can be found at the Apache Software Foundation website.

File Under: Glossary

Device Independent

A program or application that will work on any peripheral devices within a certain protocol is considered device independent.

Dialing a telephone number is a simple example of a device-independent action. All telephones operate under the same protocol. No matter what brand of telephone you use, you can always phone home. Device independence ensures that all internet-enabled devices — everything from your games console to a Web-surfing clock radio — will be able to communicate with each other in the future.

File Under: Glossary

Intuitive

Intuitive interactions with a web page are extremely important to understand. When a user makes decisions about how to navigate through a site, those decisions are influenced by information from the real world. So this information must be taken into account when designing the navigation. Don’t confuse “intuitive” with “instinctive.” When used as a web design term, intuitive means it’s understood that most users will make the same decisions when confronted with a particular design element. Instinctive means that if any more smoke comes out of their computer they will decide to run away.

File Under: Glossary

IMAP

The mail protocol most people are most familiar with is POP, which has long been the industry standard for serving and retrieving email. A client, which is the sort of desktop mail program with which everyone’s familiar, connects to the POP server and says, “Do you have any messages for me?” If the answer is yes, the client gets a list of the messages, downloads them, and optionally either deletes them from the server or leaves them in place. That’s pretty much the entire capability of POP.

IMAP is an alternative to POP that offers many advantages. Notably, it keeps centralized copies of messages on the server, where they can be accessed from anywhere, rather than fragmented and hidden away in various non-synchronized, non-centralized desktop mailboxes. The mail client interacts with the centralized messages, so your mailboxes look the same at any computer you access them from. The read/unread/replied status of each message is tracked on the server too.

Since IMAP requires long-term storage of messages on the server, email providers have long preferred POP and its quick, space-saving turnaround, which passes the expense of long-term storage on to the user. In fact, almost no popular consumer email provider offers IMAP. Running your own server, though, you can take advantage of IMAP’s benefits. The majority of desktop email clients — Outlook, Eudora, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, et al. — are already ready for IMAP. If you prefer a web-based interface, you can set that up too.

Suggested readings

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File Under: Glossary

Script


A script is an executable list of commands created by a scripting language. On the Web, script typically means an alternative to the common gateway interface, or CGI. A CGI program could be written in any programming language, including C, Perl, Java, or Visual Basic, and runs on a server that can be accessed by the user agent. Scripts, on the other hand, are programs that run on the user’s machine rather than the web server. Because they run on the client, scripts are considered to be “client-side solutions,” while CGI programs are considered to be “server-side solutions.”