Archive for the ‘Glossary’ Category

File Under: Glossary


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


MPEG, for Moving Picture Experts Group, refers to a group of audio/video compression standards used to create videos.

To view an MPEG video, you need to download (shareware or commercial) client software that plays it. The MPEG group works within the International Organization for Standardization and periodically improves and updates the compression standards.

File Under: Glossary


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.

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File Under: Glossary


A proxy server is a machine used to secure and speed up traffic on a network. The server directs traffic between workstations and web servers, filters requests made to the Web, or blocks them altogether. The server can be set with specific rules, such as blocking prohibited sites or closing certain ports. Proxy servers can also streamline network performance:For example when a user requests a web page, the server will cache the page and have it ready if another user requests it.

File Under: Glossary


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.”