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CMS Terminology - 2



CMS Terminology - 2

Terms A - E       -- page 1
F - O               -- this page
P - Z, numbers  -- page 3



FAQ                        
(frequently asked question) a commonly asked question and its answer. Lists of FAQs are a popular way of providing help files online and for computing-related issues; no doubt this trend will spread offline. The term is helped by its similar sound to 'facts'.

filepath                     
the address or route to a particular file or folder. Usefully displayed in the Address Bar of a folder, if selected. Filepaths on a network are shown slashed, as: /folder/file.txt; on a local machine, backslashed, eg: \folder\file.txt

firmware                   
locked-in software, usually on an EPROM, that runs a piece of hardware. Example: the PC's BIOS, qv, or a graphics card's firmware. These routines tell the machine what to do, before the OS fires up, or provide operating instructions for plugin hardware. On a smaller, standalone device such as a router, the firmware provides all the operating instructions.

flame
flaming people on a forum is posting rude or insulting comments about them or in direct answers. It's bad manners, but sometimes the kiddies just get carried away.


flat (1)
a designation of website architecture where the majority of pages are at more or less one level; to navigate between them, you move 'across' rather than 'down'. Wide as against deep qv.

flat (2)
(flat pages) normal, not dynamic - standard html web pages with little or no scripting; static, pre-existing pages, of an origin that did not entail their building on demand.

flat site
A flat site is a standard HTML webpage site.
cf dynamic


foreign key               
a field or group of fields in a database record that point to a key field or group of fields of another database record in another table.

fork
a software project diversion: a new project started with an older established codebase, either going in a new direction or building on the old one. Example: Mambo >> Joomla; UNIX >> Linux.

forum
the accepted name now for a BB or bulletin board. A section of a website with dynamic pages that accept posts (text entries) from readers, who may carry on an almost real-time text conversation with others in that community, or more usually one that can be left and returned to periodically. Forums are a common CMS plugin, sometimes consisting of the market leaders (vBulletin and SMF) being re-packaged or bridged to suit. The main issue for developers is integrating the site membership list.
   The word forums is the correct plural of the term, being an anglicised version rather than the strict Latin one, fora. This has a parallel with datum, data, and datums - the two plurals both being correct and having completely different meanings.

frame
web pages often used to use frames in the past: separate sections within a page that were actually discrete mini-pages themselves. It was a convenient way of separating content in the days of tables and cells, which were an unwieldy way of building a page and now superseded by layers and CSS. Essentially, this method became obsolete around 2003, just after divs made table-based layouts obsolete around 2002. There are numerous disadvantages to the use of frames, especially from the point of view of search - and therefore commercial reality. If a frame is used now, it will probably be an iframe qv.

free CMS
aka open-source CMS - this refers to free software that the authors release either as a leisure project or as a basis for income via support and extension work.

frontend
the visible part of a dynamic-engine managed website; more specifically, the low-level access afforded to users who have content upload or editing rights, but no access to the major admin functions. In practice, such users login, and are then presented with options that may include restricted authoring rights; this is the frontend. Frontend access to a CMS is therefore restricted user access.

frontend authoring, frontend editing
editing content via the CMS frontend: login to the site via the index page or elsewhere at the 'front' of the site; then choose Create Content or Edit Content, for example. This is in contrast to the normal editing process on many CMS whereby you go to a different URL and login to the backend, ie the admin interface. Frontend editing is one of the main differences between a community-use CMS and a provider-consumer application: the latter has no facility for anyone except the manager to edit content.

FTP
file transfer protocol. The method used for multiple or large transfers of data, eg uploading web pages, downloading large files.

geek                          
aka
hacker, anorak: a person who sits in front of a PC screen for much of their waking hours, and who can code in four or more languages. (Hacker of course is used here in its true sense, meaning a person who 'hacks around' with code, and not its offline media sense, as an 'Internet burglar'.)
   To qualify for the name, a person should ideally be able to code in four or more different languages without (much) reference to a manual; frequently use a CVS system; be a named dev on an application's credits; be incapable of literate written communication or logical thought; and live on another planet. A typical geek therefore worships *NIX OSs, but may frequently work on code for web applications that run on Microsoft servers, because it funds their 'real' work: coding open-source applications.

generic
of a general kind, relating to a broad type and not a specific model, not of a proprietary name or type; of a general class, not a branded product.

gfx
shorthand for graphics, eg images, drawings, logos, etc.

gigabyte
1,000MB more or less (1,024 actually).

granular
as in 'granular permissions' - a description of fine-grained user rights control that implies a more detailed control of permissions than is present in the normal user levels. Applies especially to user group roles, where individual privileges can be allocated at a per-user level. A basic requirement for full ACL qv.

GUI
graphical user interface: the mouse, cursor, and windows that we use everyday. Before that, it was text-only – the Grim and Distant Days of DOS. Be thankful, very thankful, to Xerox's PARC unit who invented it, who didn't know what they had and dumped it; then IBM who bought it & crazily dumped it again (The Worst Business Mistake Of All Time?); and Mac who saw it for what it was, grabbed it joyfully, and bought it again; and finally MS who reputedly 'borrowed' it, but were cleared in court, and who founded a billion-dollar empire on it. Now reduced to being called the skin by the cognoscenti.

gzip
gzip is short for GNU zip, a GNU free software file compression program. An extremely efficient compression format that can reduce some types of filesizes dramatically; for example a 1MB text file can be reduced to 25kB.

hackers (1)
a term always used in the past, and still so now among the fraternity, to discuss an innocent coder who lives in a dark room trying to improve Unix or Linux code and so on. A hacker, in the computer world, is a coder who 'hacks around' with programming languages to earn his daily crust, or for fun. It has been hijacked by the media and now, to the outside world, means someone who tries to break into another's computer via the Internet. In the world of code development, there is no relevance to its use as a media term for an Internet burglar, which is not used within the industry. In fact there is no correct term, except perhaps 'script kiddy', which could be why the word got hijacked in the first place ('cracker', incidentally, means a breaker of software protections, and has no relation to Net exploits).

hackers (2)
a fine movie about a naughty fellow who combined coding, Internet burglary, and an advanced talent for 'social engineering': the synthesis of evil code attacks and physical penetration of a target. Luckily the Feds nabbed him and saved us from his exploits.

hard-coded
- or hand-coded: pages or websites that are basically flat rather than dynamic; pages that are built by hand. Semi-dynamic hand-built pages (PHP, ASP etc) also qualify as hard-coded. The opposite, dynamic pages, are machine-created.

harden
to make an application more resistant to attack. All web-facing applications are under attack. The Net is the easiest environment of all in which to launch an attack, and an attacker always has the advantage.

hardware                  
solid chunks of metal, electronics, drives, and other bits that go to make up your PC and anything else on the network. Software runs on it.

host (1)                
(website host) the people who own the server that answers requests for your web pages.

host (2)
any machine connected to a computer network, a node that has a hostname. In most cases this term is probably incorrect insofar as the computer will often be a client, and have a client - server relationship. However, it hosts local services.

hostname
the unique name by which a network attached device is known on a network.

.htaccess 
the default name of Apache's directory-level configuration file, on a Linux box. Can't be used (or even created with this name) on a Windows PC as the OS won't accept the file name. Because of the full stop at the start of the filename, it is designated an invisible file - in some views it cannot be seen. Normally, an FTP app has to be set up to view invisible files such as this; but if it cannot be, then these server files can be accessed via the file manager in the contol panel.

html
(hypertext markup language) web page code.

html editor
a web page editor that works mainly in text, as against a visual (GUI) mode. Used by the more experienced. Example: NoteTabPro, and even NotePad. cf visual editor

html email
email in the form of a web page: unlike a standard text email, it can contain colours, images, and also a lot of code. Some code may simply assist interactivity; some may be intrusive, reporting back if the message is opened, and on links clicked etc. Some may be malicious, if sent by spammers and malware coders; html email, then, looks very nice but has privacy issues.

http
(hypertext transfer protocol) the Internet's main language. Invented by a scientist at CERN (Tim Berners-Lee, now W3C director), along with the browser that uses the http protocol, it enabled the birth of the web. The Internet and the Web are two different things: the Internet was invented more than 20 years before Berners-Lee developed the web protocol, and was named as such 17 years before, by Vint Cerf. Essentially the Net is the global cable network and the traffic control computers that enable it to work, and the Web is the collection of servers and client computers with browsers in homes and offices that use the network. Today we treat them as the same thing, and the words Net and Web as interchangeable. One wouldn't work without the other, in any case.
qv Internet

https
an http connection with additional security measures, including encryption. When connected, your browser address bar turns a sand-gold colour, and/or displays a padlock icon.

IIS
an "IIS server" is a Windows server, as described by technical users. The standard MS server OS is: MS Windows 2003 Server + IIS 6.0 or W2K8 + IIS 7; the IIS part refers to the server management apparatus, and stands for Internet Information Services. IIS therefore is a commercial equivalent to LAMP. An MS server is normally used when applications are based on ASP, .NET, or Coldfusion, since these all depend on a Microsoft OS.

icommerce
A general description of all online business - the Internet as a business environment. Originally, the term ecommerce was used for this, but it eventually came to mean the server software used for direct sales transactions. Now, icommerce has replaced it to mean Internet business in general.

icon   
something small that graphically represents something larger or difficult to display visually - a small image that represents a larger entity. On computers, the little picture that you click on to open a folder or file. It's actually a 32 x 32px .bmp of 256 or 65k colours (translation: 32 pixels square, in bitmap format, either with a few or lots of colours). Make your own with an icon editor such as MicroAngelo, then you can ditch those grim Windows XP ones.

iframe
in-line frame, wrapper, or iFrame. A type of frame that is integral to the page rather than being a separate entity; now the most commonly-used type of frame. A block or space that displays information external to the rest of the page, and sourced elsewhere. A common use is to display another page from the site, or a page from another site.

images
a catch-all word for pictures, graphics, photos and so on.

IMAP
web-based transfer as against FTP transfer; therefore specifically, browser transfer. Also applied to webmail (eg Hotmail), since this is accessed via the browser and not a POP3 client. You can of course also get your POP3 mail by webmail.

index (1)
index page - the first page of a website, aka home page or front page.
  
index (2)                 
in databases, a feature that allows quick access to the rows in a table.

instance
a discrete occurrence, a separate example. In the case of a program, each existing example of it at any one time. A program that allows several instances, therefore supports several concurrent working examples (or windows if you like). At first, additional windows were placed randomly. Then, it was fashionable to tile them. Now, multiple windows or workspaces are tabbed. What's next, when we get to the stage where we need twenty windows open – tabbed tiles?

Internet
a global network of computers, principally enabled by three separate groups of workers and their developments: Licklider and Roberts at the original Arpanet; five years later the Stanford team (including Vint Cerf who actually named the Internet); and twenty-two years later the CERN work of Berners-Lee who introduced the browser concept and therefore the 'web' component. The Net therefore existed and was called so, 17 years before the web browser was introduced. Previously, there had been some military and university computers linked up ad hoc, in a mode compared to the Net of today something like a comparison between a wax tablet with stylus and a Cray supercomputer.
qv this simple network tutorial for a fuller explanation.

intranet
a term popular in the past to describe a central website, or a large site, with multiple sections which may be on other domains. Now superseded by 'portal' qv.

IP (1)
(Internet protocol) a data-oriented protocol used by source and destination hosts for communicating data across a packet-switched network.

IP (2)
(IP address) the Internet location of a resource.

IP (3)
a unique number that devices use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a network utilising the Internet Protocol standard.

IPN
(instant payment notification) a term in online store management for a method some payment gateways use for notification of a successful payment; e.g. PayPal IPN.
                
ISAPI
(Internet server application programming interface) the API of IIS qv.

ISO
(international standards organisation) the people who determine the technical specifications for many things in the industrial environment. In the PC world now, though, "an ISO" would probably refer to a CD image file.

ISP
(Internet service provider) a business or organization that offers users access to the Internet and related services.

kb, kB
kb = kilobit, kB = kilobyte, with 8 bits to a byte. A 56k (56kb) dial-up connection therefore has a theoretical maximum speed of 56 over 8 = 7kB.

LAMP
(more correctly LAMPP) the standard production server environment utilising all open-source applications on which the Internet is based: Linux OS, Apache server, MySQL database, PHP scripting, and Perl code/ interpreter (to give the full and correct acronym LAMPP). There are more servers running Apache than all others put together, and most setups use LAMP. Perl is needed as part of the basic setup as a code interpreter; and additional open-source apps are used to provide FTP and email capability, eg FileZilla and MercuryMail.
   Note that all these applications are open-source and therefore basically free (there are of course additional costs for customisation and especially implementation / commissioning / admin). If anything else, this shows that open-source applications are equal to or better than commercial solutions, at least in some areas, since software costs are not the major element in large implementations.

LAN
(local area network) – a home or office computer network, with PCs linked to a hub / switch / router, and joined by cable or WiFi.

LATEX
a document preparation system for the TEX typesetting program. Has the distinction of using the most ridiculous text-based logo in existence, presumably to point out its formatting excellence. Unfortunately, hardly anyone can display it except as a jpeg.

layout
the way a page is laid out / arranged and displayed to the visitor; and
in some projects the specific term for the template qv that does this job.

legacy (1)
a component one step ahead of being deprecated; something no longer seen as vital; older, not cutting edge or even new; still maintained for backward compatibility. Also, the facility to interact with older versions, as 'in legacy mode' (qv) or 'in compatibility mode'.

legacy (2)
an industry term for something used by many, but not by the well-to-do young city dwellers and early adopters who manufacturer's marketing departments tell them they should be targeting.
   Example: a laptop serial port – vital for engineers, and those who use their laptops extensively in non-urban locations such as on a boat; pointless for city teens and therefore marketing departments. USB to serial converters often don't work, certainly for technical applications, though they may work for leisure use.

legacy mode
aka compatibility mode: a major function switch in an application that allows it to run in a restricted or less-advanced mode of operation, for compatibility with older plugins. Commonly used in new program versions where plugins for the older series don't work with the new one, unless it is 'reverted' back to a similar operating state to the previous version. Of course, switching this on can defeat the object of using the new version, since many of the advantages will then be unavailable.

Linux
(say: 'linnuxx') an open-source OS. A fork of Unix. Took off like a rocket after being invented by Linus Torvalds, a a Finnish student and Unix coder. More stable than Windows, less security issues and therefore less vulnerable, but a whole lot less software available. Sure, 60,000 apps or more on one database - but compare that to a couple of million or more out there for Windows. Excellent server OS. Something like a PC version of the Mac system, in that it is safer, more secure, more reliable, but limited to about 10% or less of the software available to Windows users. You can get a bootable no-install-required Linux CD if you need it briefly: this is called a LiveCD in the Linux world. We currently recommend the Mint version of Ubuntu, unless you are a fully-committed server sysadmin, when RedHat or CentOS may be a better choice.

login
to enter your username & password, for authorised access to a server or resource.

logon
enter your username & password, to start a session on a computer.

metadata
data about data: information stored within a page, document, or file that is invisible to the user. This non-viewable data consists of instructions, descriptions, or other components needed for something somewhere to function correctly. Examples are the metadata 'behind' an HTML page, or a Word document; and hard disk metadata that describes file positions and condition.

middleware
applications vital to a process, that sit in a central position in a chain, between others that either form the chain ends or may be structurally more important. Example: Apache Tomcat, an application server that (on occasion) sits between a CMS and Apache itself. Commonly used with Java-based CMS.

MIME (1)
(multipurpose internet mail extensions) an Internet standard for the format of e-mail. Code that can be used in html email to embed items like images inline (and not hosted remotely). A specialist application is needed to use it; and not all email clients can read it yet.

MIME (2)
MIME classes: code object classes.

MySQL
a multithreaded, multi-user, SQL Database Management System (DBMS). The most commonly used open-source database in web applications. Owned by Sun Computer, MySQL is an example of the very powerful mixed open-source and commercial business model.
 

mySQLi
the improved MySQL client PHP extension.

.NET
A Microsoft proprietary system for (in our field of interest) remote content changes on pages hosted on a server; similar to other systems such as webDAV. It may be used as a component of a CMS on an MS server, and in this case acts as an alternative to FTP or basic HTTP editing. It is now included in the Windows OS.

network
a group of computers linked by cable or wireless. A small group = a LAN (local area network); a large group = a WAN (wide area network, or Intranet); a huge group = the Internet.

Nginx
[say: engine-x] A second-generation server application that is designed to be a clone of Apache but work better. Written by a Russian coder, it has proved to be the fastest of all the alternative server apps such as Litespeed and Lighttpd. Although it is benchmarked as being many times faster than Apache, such obvious advantages are not really apparent until a site is under heavy load. Nginx handles heavy loads better due to more efficient memory and CPU cycle usage. It is far better for dedicated server single site use than for multi-site shared server use. The most obvious differences for the webmaster are (1) it is an SSH-managed server only, there is no control panel such as cPanel, so all work is via the console; and (2) some htaccess file scripts will be different from the Apache equivalents. Nginx therefore is most easily used for static content delivery under ultra-heavy load, or as a load-balancer; though it will certainly cope with heavy dynamic content loads. We were able to get double the traffic from a server that had been running Apache with a heavily-loaded database-driven website.
   Nginx probably needs some sort of GUI user interface before it can make the leap into massmarket dedicated server use; currently it is mainly used by high-traffic sites with their own server admins. Another drawback is that it is very hard to find support staff who know how to work with it, since even Apache admins cannot convert without some kind of training or familiarisation.

open-source 
(OSS = open-source software) free software, with the code published and freely available, like the OS (operating system) Linux. Something in the public domain. The advantage is that many clever minds will contribute to its advancement, and the end result is often better than a commercial rival's. Open-source software is free or very cheap. Go to:  www.sourceforge.net    ...for resources. qv LAMP
   Although the software can be of the highest quality, open-source documentation is, in a word, awful. It's true that this can apply to commercial software, since the universal standard is that the docs and/or help files are an afterthought or taken care of by the office junior; but it applies almost universally in open-source. There are a lot of reasons for this, most of them quite reasonable, but the underlying reason is that geeks write the software for other geeks or aspiring geeks, who presumably know what they are doing by instinct. In addition, geeks can perform miracles with code, but they are utterly incapable of communicating, a trait shared by most engineers and technicians of course. If anything, foreign software authors provide more comprehensible documentation than English-speaking ones.
   This is probably the main reason O-S software is not popular with the average PC user, since it would be difficult for them to use it at all. The same goes for mainstream enterprise users, since as a whole they first look at the product's image, which is represented 90% by the documentation. Since this is universally awful – although this doesn't represent the quality of the product itself, and in fact there is a strange type of inverse relationship here – these users tend to quickly bypass an OSS product and choose the big names with the flashy boxes. Where they have been persuaded otherwise, as in the spreading use of Linux in office environments, the results are later perceived to be entirely satisfactory. Moral: in open-source, ignore the image, feel the quality.

out of the box
from new; immediately after installation; without further modification.

OS
operating system - as in Windows or Linux.

OSS, O-S
open-source software, the definition for free software with published code, commonly available under the GNU licence.

OS/2
an OS popular with a small minority of geeks and coders. Also useful for specific tasks, such as platform-independent bootloaders.


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