World Wide Web Vocabulary
By Deborah Healey
Here's a handy list of useful vocabulary for the
World Wide Web.
- Uniform/Universal Resource Locator -- this is the
web address that you use, and looks something like
- A program that you use to look at information on
the World Wide Web. Because the information is in a special
format, you need a special program - a 'web browser' - to see the
- A company that makes one of the most popular web
browsers, Netscape Navigator. Navigator is free to people in
education (teachers, students, administrators, etc.). Many people
refer to the browser simply as "Netscape."
- To go looking at various websites, not
necessarily with a goal in mind, but seeing lots of interesting
- HyperText Markup Language - the way text files
are coded on the web so that they aren't completely ugly. All text
on the web starts out as very plain text, then has HTML codes like
<B> for boldface, <I> for italics, <P> for new
paragraph, etc. added to make it look nicer.
- HyperText Transport Protocol - the underlying
instructions used by the web browser to send and receive
information. HTTP is like the rules rather than the
- File Transfer Protocol - this is a way to send
programs, not just text, between computers. There are many
computers around the world that are set up as "anonymous FTP
servers," which means that they make the files they have available
to anyone who wants them. They're called 'anonymous' because you
type "Anonymous" as your login name, with your regular email name
as your password. You can use an ftp server over the web, which
can make getting files pretty easy. FTP server URLs start with
ftp:// rather than http://
- Telnet is a program that lets you log into
another computer, perhaps one that is thousands of miles away, and
run programs there. You can use Telnet to go places like SchMOOze,
though it's not the easiest way to communicate there. Telnet is
not easy to use, because most telnet servers run Unix - not a very
'friendly' operating system.
- This is an earlier way to share information on
the Internet, and it has only text files. There is a network of
gopher servers around the world, still, with lots of files. You
can get to gopher through the Web, too. A gopher URL starts with
- Open Location
- This lets you type a URL to go to a web page. In
the later versions of the browsers, you don't need to type the
http:// part of the address; the browser will guess that it's what
you want. If the address is in the form http://www.NAME.com, you
can just type NAME and it will put in the rest.
- Open File
- You don't need to be on the web to look at web
pages. You can choose Save As... from the File menu when you're in
Netscape and save a page to your disk in "Source" format. Once
it's on your disk, you can choose Open File from the File menu in
Netscape to see the web page without being connected to the
Internet. See my tech tip about this at
- These are links to websites that you want to find
more easily. When you find a website you like that you want to
keep, in Netscape, you choose Add Bookmarks from the Bookmarks
menu; in Internet Explorer, you'll Add a Favorite.
- Search Engine
- The power of the web is in its information, but
there's too much there for anyone to read through it all. You need
to use a "search engine" to find what you're looking for. There
are many search engines, but the most popular ones are Alta Vista,
Infoseek, Excite, Yahoo, and Magellan. They all index a lot of the
same places, but they also each have sites that the others don't.
You'll need to try several to see which is best for you. One way
to get a good comparison of the search engines is with a
"meta-search engine" (see below).
A special note is needed for
http://www.shareware.com -- this is a search engine that looks for
programs that you can download from the Internet. These programs
are not commercial ones like Microsoft Word, but rather smaller
programs that often do useful and interesting things. The MOO and
Chat clients I've asked you to download you can find by using
www.shareware.com and searching for "MOO" or "Chat."
- Meta-search engine
are two common examples. A meta-search engine searches a whole
series of search engines for you and presents the results. It's an
easy way to see if one of the search engines works better for what
you need than others.
Updated 11/9/97 by D.Healey,