The techno savvy may be more familiar with internet and web-related terminology. However, there are several fundamental terms which are still unclear to the average user. It is important to define and at least note the importance of basic website terminology, which is fast becoming native talk in the World-Wide-Web community of participants. Let us consider web hosting, design, development, CMS, domains, URLs and HTML.
This is a type of internet service which allows organizations or individuals to make their websites live and accessible via the World-Wide-Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on servers that are leased or owned for utilisation by clients, as well as provide internet connectivity. The host is typically a data centre, which at times can also provide space and connectivity for other servers known as collocation or housing. Web hosting services can vary from basic, which is generally free with various internet service providers (ISPs) to complex hosting packages incorporating database support and application development platforms, such as PHP.
The website terminology described here involves the holistic look and feel of a website including the layout, navigation and colour-scheme. It may incorporate designing of the logo and company graphics. It relates to aesthetics and user experience rather than functionality. The designed product will not typically include any code. However, the graphic representation is utilized by the same person or typically another as a foundation for the coding. The graphic of the website is separated into two parts that can be represented by pure graphics and the other by specific code that will enable certain functionality.
This website terminology points to the process that facilitates the functionality and features of a website. It deals with the back-end programming rather than the graphic face of a website. Web development functions incorporate registration, content management systems, e-commerce and any database applications. This process enables users to navigate, perform functions and interact with the site.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
These are computer based systems that enable publishing, editing and modification of content and site maintenance from a central page. They provide various procedures to manage workflow or website content in an interactive and dynamic environment. Depending on the particular system the tools and procedures may require more manual steps or may be more automated. Two popular examples are Joomla and WordPress, which have incidentally also become increasingly prominent website terminology. Joomla is a free, open source content management framework used for publishing content on the web, intranets and model-view-controller frameworks. WordPress is a free, open source blogging tool and dynamic CMS based on PHP and MySQL.
In order to publish a website one has to first register a domain, which can be accomplished via the same web hosting company or an independent domain registration company. For instance, there are country specific domains such as co.za connoting a South African organization and .com for global businesses. A domain name includes the domain extension and it is the deemed name of the website or company which has to be registered, for instance ABCCompany.com. There are also sub-domains; however each domain name is linked to an internet protocol (IP) address pointing to a specific computer.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
This website terminology refers to types of uniform resource identifiers, which can be defined as specific character strings that point to specific internet resources. This identification enables interactions with representations of the resource over a network, normally the internet utilising specific protocols. In generic terms a URL refers to a complete link e.g. Http://www.ABCCompany.co.za/Products/XYZ.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
HTML is the primary markup language for displaying web pages and information that can be viewed in a web browser. The browser interprets HTML and converts it into visible or audible web pages. It is written in the form of HTML elements comprising of tags within angle brackets. A markup language is a modernised system for annotating or attaching comments to particular sections of a document in a manner that is syntactically different form the text. Syntax is the study of principles and processes used to structure sentences in particular languages.
The above although seemingly complex at first appearance breaks down and expands on some of the fundamental website terminology. With these terms being exchanged so often, as we ride on the technological crest, at least a basic understanding is useful. This read is a simple yet foundational step in decoding the jargon!