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CMS Terminology - 3



CMS Terminology - 3

Terms A - E       -- page 1
F - O                   -- page 2
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pagefile
paging file, pagefile.sys. The PC's virtual memory: a section of the HD it writes to when the RAM overflows. It is slower to read/write than a chip, so for speed you need as much RAM as is practical. The absolute minimum now on a 2K/ XP /NTFS machine is 512MB; an average figure is 1GB; a useful figure is 2GB. A proper disk manager can optimise the pagefile: change its size, place it in a different position on the disk, and homogenise it. If this is not done, it is one of the many factors that contribute to slowing the PC down. PCs are in fact becoming noticeably slower, and not faster as the advertising suggests (in terms of how users measure speed in everyday use, which is of course for booting up then handling multiple tasks on a machine with a mature software installation, as against processing one discrete task on a new and empty machine, which is the completely irrelevant way some measure speed).

pathway
aka breadcrumb trail; on dynamic websites it is the filepath or address record of where you are now and where you have been. It allows you to get back there with one click. Look near the top of the page somewhere and you'll see: Home >> the-page-you're-on-now. You can click on it, on any level back, and jump straight there. It's a useful feature if there are several directory levels - if you enable it.

PCRE
(Perl compatible regular expressions) the Perl regular expression functions for PHP.

PEAR
the PHP Extension and Application Repository.

pixel, or px
a Picture Element (pics-el, see?), or one dot on the screen. The old monitors had 800 x 600; smaller flat panels have 1024 x 768; bigger ones have 1268 x 1024; larger panels have as many as you want to pay for.

PHP
(hypertext pre-processor language) an OSS text-based code language, installed by default on LAMP servers; can also be installed on Microsoft servers. Can be used for a script that runs on a server, to operate a function usually requested by an interactive web page. Example: when you fill in a form on a web page, a PHP script sends it to the server and executes it (runs it and deals with it) according to the commands in the code. Universal, runs on any server, unlike ASP. An open-source, reflective programming language. Though primarily used in web applications such as server-side includes and dynamic web content, it is now being used in a broader range of software applications.

phpTriad
a one-click install server package solution for Windows. Does the job, but by no means as well as XAMPP, since some more complex apps such as CMS systems will not subsequently install without extensive script changes. This may perhaps be because it is no longer supported, as many of the components such as the PHP version are now well outdated. Many complex solutions such as this type of package have to be updated on a regular basis or they will not function (antivirus programs self-update by download on a daily basis for instance).
   On the other hand the security settings are tighter than on XAMPP for instance, as no dire warnings are given in this case about production use. Inevitably, this means subsequent application installs are made more difficult. More security = less functionality.

plugin
a generic term for any kind of extension that is added on to a CMS or any dynamic webapp at a later stage, after installation - an after-market mini program addition. Ideally, it will be designed to integrate seamlessly with the base application, and provide an additional feature. In fact this is the best way to build a CMS, as building-in a large number of core features has not been found successful, since many will find such features or functions to be sub-optimal for their own particular use, and require alteration. A choice of various plugins is a better alternative, and infers that the CMS is a framework, thereby used here as a positive description. qv extension

POP3
(post office protocol, or point of presence protocol) the email auto-download system. Used by your email client qv.

port
a connection address at a computer, from 1 to 65,535, through which data is sent and received. A port does not physically exist – it is a communication resource, an address. The most essential information in a TCP and UDP packet is the source and destination port. The IP address identifies a computer in the Internet, and a port identifies an application running on the computer. Ports 1-1,023 are reserved for standard services and the operating system, whereas ports 1,024-65,535 can be used by any application. In a typical client to server connection, usually the destination port is known (connection is standardised for this port, or a UDP datagram is sent to it to confirm). The source port is then assigned by the operating system automatically.

portal
a portal CMS was originally one that offered a gateway (implied by the name) to other websites, or at least, widely differing content areas if on a single site. Now, the term can apply to any kind of site that is not based around a single contributor, or product area, or standard 3-column template. Ideally it means a site with a larger remit than a normal SMB brochure site has, such as
a news site with multiple contributors and satellite sites, or a large enterprise site with multiple discrete sections - for which purpose the term 'portal' has tended to replace 'intranet' now. A good example of a portal site is bbc.co.uk .

In practice portal is a flexible term with no real meaning, and might just refer to a freeform CMS template with many content areas.

portfolio (site)
a reference website given by a supplier to demonstrate their capabilities.

program
aka application or app – the software tool that does your work.

production
working properly, working publicly, as against being trialled - an Internet-facing server for instance. A production environment is that which exists in a public-facing webserver. The most popular solution here is a LAMP server environment. cf development

protocol
here, a set of rules for communication: a way for machines to communicate.

proxy server
an alternative application or remote server that handles Internet tasks for another application or computer. Two common uses are as a software tool that resides on a PC, such as the AV-to-email interface that checks incoming mail for viruses; or as a remote server used to mask another's IP, for privacy. IP masking is also useful as another layer to prevent hacking, especially for those who feel vulnerable. Two fields of Net activity that seem to have strong impetus at the moment are proxy servers and CMS.

project
all software development is a project, if two or more people are involved. However, the term is often specifically used to describe distributed teams working on open-source software. The term may also be correctly used to describe the application itself, and it is in no way a derogatory term: the best and most mature applications are still thus termed.

qwerty
the standard western keyboard layout is referred to as a 'qwerty' keyboard, after the first letter keys at the top left. This was the first typewriter keyboard layout designed for speed, the idea being that the most often used letters were most accessible, and the fingers could handle the workload quickest with this layout. No doubt it was true at the time, but now it has been found that the Dvorak layout (say: 'devorjak') is faster. However, no one's going to change now, so that's tough. Many of us are two-finger typists anyway, so it hardly makes a difference. Plus, what keys would you use for playing Unreal Tournament then?

raster
here, a single-layer or 'flat' approach to web page construction, using the older method of cells and/or tables. This method predominated in the 90s, in both graphics applications and web authoring software, and was replaced around 2002 - 2004 by the layer-based vector system (qv), which uses divs and CSS for the web page structure. A compromise half-and-half system of divs and tables still exists and is used by legacy webapps.

reference sites
aka portfolio websites: those that suppliers provide as a demonstration of their capabilities.

roles
an ACL feature that describes group or individual access or privileges that do not line up with the standard levels of user rights.

section
a major division of content on a CMS. A section normally contains multiple categories. Many WCMS use a 3-layer basic system: Section, Category, (Content) Item. These may have alternative names as for instance Book, Story, Page (Drupal). In addition there are other content containers and associated ways of publishing material.

SEF URLs
search engine friendly page addresses. Often a CMS or other database-driven server software constructs pages with long, raw URLs that have two main problems: everyone hates them, and they can vary so that there is no canonical version (a single, stable page address). These issues are both fixed by a plugin, where required.

SEO
(search engine optimising, optimisation) The primary requirement for a commercial website is to earn money. For this you need good traffic and a site that performs. Traffic sources are many but a solid percentage comes from search engines, who will not send visitors in any number unless the site complies with their requirements. Therefore, search optimising the website is a fundamental requirement for a commercial site, and refers to maximising traffic and conversion potential. The process is a mix of traffic improvements and website improvements; technical and marketing methods; science and art. Different practitioners emphasise different aspects.
  When the website is based on a CMS, there are all sorts of additional issues, and SEO for CMS is a specialist area. As ever, a major impact on this situation is the fact that a proportion of developers and website designers have never heard of standards compliance, accessibility issues, legal compliance and/or SEO (and therefore commercial reality). It used to be around 99%, but is now down to around 75% - so things are definitely improving. Nevertheless, you must choose your applications and implementers very carefully indeed - and manage them closely, otherwise any form of quality goes out the window.
   The prime focus of SEO has to be quality, and all else derives from that. SEO should be a quality improvement process; but some practitioners simply see it as a collection of cunning tricks and linkspam. So you also need to choose your SEO consultants carefully...

SEO for CMS
the application of quality improvements to the content of dynamic websites; to the site code; and to server and network settings.

separation of design and
content
an important reason CMS works so well, this refers to the structured layout of the web page and the way page design and layout, and the on-page content, are independent of each other. The page is based on a template, which both provides a design theme, and also means the page can exist with or without content. This is opposite to the HTML page system, where the page essentially is the content, and changing any part impacts the page structure. On a CMS, content should be able to be added or deleted without destroying the page layout.

Service Pack
these are (or were originally) Windows upgrades. SP4 is the final version of W2K; SP3 is the current final for XP. There was a long gap between XP SP2 in 2004, and SP3 in April '08. Most suppliers provide organised updates more often than once every 4 years.

silo structure
a sub-group of the 'deep' arrangement of website acrhitecture, whereby the content of different sections is reached via sub-menus, and links out of the section are not present on the pages of that section. Sections are discrete, themed groups of content, and this is supposed to be of benefit in search.

skin
the user interface of an application; its appearance; or a template qv that provides the principal layout arrangement.

SMTP                     
(simple mail transport protocol) the standard protocol used on the Internet to send mail to and between mail servers and clients.

socket
a form of inter-process communication, or its endpoint.

software
aka applications, apps: the programs that do your work.

SP
see Service Pack.

spam (1)
junk email. Shame it's associated with the fine spiced-ham product that's sooo good for fritters...

spam (2)
anything unwanted on the Net now, eg search engine spam - junk pages in the search results, inserted by BH devs.

static (1)
fixed, allocated permanently, not mobile. Antonym: dynamic.

static (2)
aka flat; standard web pages rather than dynamic ones; or standard but slightly dynamic ones as against pure dynamic sites. Usually with an .html or.htm file extension.

static (3)
a static local IP is a permanent address on your LAN. This is generally the best arrangement (especially on a WiFi LAN), since it assists security, and enables port-forwarding.

static (4)
a static IP is the address your ISP allocates to you when connecting via SDSL, symmetric (business) DSL. It doesn't change unless you change ISPs.

statistics
(aka web analytics, web metrics, stats) website statistics applications allow recording, measurement, analysis and improvement of webserver and website operation. Applications are used to determine these measurements, and they may be server-resident or hosted solutions. Server applications normally use the server logs; hosted solutions are those that reside on another server, and these normally use script tags on the website's pages in order to function. Examples: server type - AWstats; hosted type - Google Analytics. There is a third class, the hybrid type, which uses both types of data source and may exhibit the advantages of both the other types.

storage engines
in databases, handlers for different table types.

.swf
(say: 'swiff') the Flash file format for producing and reading animated graphic files.

table
a set of data elements (cells) that is organized, defined and stored as horizontal rows and vertical columns, where each item can be uniquely identified by a label or key, or by its position in relation to other items.

taxonomy
the organisation and classification (and therefore naming) of objects, or a system for doing so; a heirarchy. In webapps it refers to the structure of content organisation.

template
aka theme, skin, layout. Many CMS base their page layouts on a user-specified template: a pre-built layout framework and design that defines the text areas, graphics, and module positions of the generated page. All pages are then based on this framework, though colours can be changed in the CSS, and modules can be published or unpublished to show or hide additional features. Templates are normally of two kinds: developer-supplied template file packages, and user-created ones that are derived from a standard HTML page. The most competent CM systems allow the use of different templates on different pages, thus providing extended flexibility. This may be required on the index page as against content pages; or product pages; and certainly for pages featuring different content models such as forums.

theme
qv template

third-party
as in third-party developers - others, not the original developers of an application.

transparency
& transparently – when an action takes place to facilitate a further action or series of actions, that is invisible to the user. A good example is the DNS service: a website cannot be located by its 'friendly name' such as a3webtech.com, so your browser first goes to a server that provides a DNS lookup service. This provides the numerical IP address to which the friendly name corresponds, by which your browser can then locate the website. This happens very quickly, is invisible to the user, and is therefore transparent.

tute, tut
short for tutorial, and therefore pronounced 'tewt'. These short instruction run-throughs are very popular on the Net.

UDP
(user datagram protocol) a protocol without a connection. This signifies that it does not create any connection, and data is transmitted in individual messages (so called datagrams). UDP does not warrant reliable data delivery as datagrams can be lost during transmission. However, unlike transmission through TCP protocol, it provides faster data transmission as it is not necessary to establish connections or provide reliability control, confirmation is not demanded, etc. UDP protocol is used especially for initial connection and port confirmation, transmission of DNS queries, audio files, video files, or other types of streaming media which promote speed over reliability.

UNIX
the original computer operating system that has spawned innumerable offspring such as Linux and MacOS. Very popular for servers because it is (basically) stable and secure. Derivatives, which all have similar kernels, are called *NIX operating systems.

unpack / unzip an archive
this means to unzip a file. When asked to unpack an archive, perhaps a plugin that is delivered in the form of a zip file, you must first unzip it to separate the files and then use the correct one, as there may also be a PDF info file in the package. An archive or archive file is any kind of zipped (compressed) file, such as a .zip, .sit, .7z (7-zip), .rar etc. Zip files are used because they are a good way to compress files for transfer, making them smaller; you can package a .exe file that would otherwise get blocked by firewalls; and they convert a folder full of files into a single, easily handled file.

UoM
(unit of measure) the base unit of weight (kilo or pound usually) used for shipping cost calcs in online stores.

URL
(universal resource locator) an Internet address such as http://www. yoursite.com/ a-page.html. An URL is a type of URI – universal resource indicator. Or, to be precise, a sequence of characters, conforming to a standardised format, that is used for referring to resources, such as documents and images on the Internet, by their location.

vector (1)
an attack vector is a route or path by which an outsider can gain unauthorised entry to a process and compromise it. Since a CMS website has many more attack vectors than an HTML site, both hosting and application support must be of a higher quality.

vector (2)
a layer or layer-based approach to (in this case) web page creation. The opposite is raster - a single or flat layer. There is a parallel in graphics applications. Modern web pages started to be coded using the vector system in about 2000, and by 2002 it was clear that the vector-based method - using divs (layers) and CSS - was superior to the older raster method of flat page creation using cells and tables. By 2004 many web applications had moved to this system or started the conversion process. Table-based web page code layout is now obsolete by many years. Modern CMS almost exclusively use divs and CSS as the created page structure, though stable older WCMS may still be struggling with a mixed divs and tables legacy system due to the major effort needed to rewrite them. The advantages of the layer system are so great, in so many different areas, that applications using the old method are at a considerable disadvantage.

utility
a small (usually) software workhorse tool that is often useful far beyond its size and cost might indicate. File zippers, defraggers, graphic viewers, text editors, and so on qualify.

versioning
a facility provided in the core of a sophisticated CMS, or via a plugin, to keep older versions of a content item secure for reverting to. This is obviously a core requirement of a wiki, but not commonly seen in CMS until at enterprise-level WCMS. It is one of the most useful features, although implementation is critical: many older versions are needed. This may add to the webspace needed since there may be 20 versions of every content item.

visual editor
a web page editor that works in visual mode as against code-view mode (though it may provide this as well). In theory this is a WYSIWYG editor, though implementation problems make it most unlikely that results are anywhere near a precise representation of the true result, except in the case of the advanced one-way proprietary code, layer-based web page editors that cannot handle HTML (or do so incompletely), such as SiteSpinner.

VPN (1)
(virtual private network) nodes on a public network such as the Internet that communicate among themselves using encryption technology, so that their messages are as safe from being intercepted and understood by unauthorized users as if the nodes were connected by private lines.

VPN (2)
a WAN (wide area network) formed of permanent virtual circuits (PVCs) on another network, especially a network using technologies such as ATM or frame relay.

WCM
web content management, ie a structured content container on a server. In practice a CMS that delivers to the public, or to a public and private clientele. This term is used more in enterprise settings.

WCMS
website content management systems, as against those for other purposes such as intra-enterprise document storage. Ordinary CMS as we know it.

webapps
web applications, software that is designed specifically for an Internet job; commonly a server-side program. A CMS is a webapp.

web analytics
qv statistics

webmail
IMAP (browser) email as against POP3 client email. Just go to the web page with Internet Explorer etc., and pick up the mail. You need the username & password to login.

webserver
a computer on the Internet that hosts a program that is responsible for accepting HTTP requests from clients and serving them web pages or other files requested.

web team
the term used in corporate environments to describe the group of people who specify, install and manage a website.

webware
a program that works in connection with the Net, commonly on a local machine and without website server functionality. A browser or email client is webware.

wiki
a popular CMS plugin that provides a user-edited information resource; often an encyclopaedia-style list of entries, or a user manual. The most often-used approach seems to be to create a new mini-application that blends seamlessly with the core app, rather than using a well-known alternative. A wiki needs to use the main site membership list, so bridging is not normally going to be a simple task.

workflows
the ability to control who does what, and when, to a content item. A core function in enterprise-level CMS.

wrapper
qv iframe

WYSIWYG
'what you see is what you get', normally associated in this field with visual editors that can be integrated with a CMS, as a plugin, in order to originate or edit text and other content. The editor takes care of formatting, though the final result is usually controlled mainly by a CSS stylesheet. This approach avoids the need for HTML coding by the user, and is also a more complete solution than other rich-text editing approaches used by some wikis and forums.
  Such visual editors provide one of the most important features of a CMS: web-based user content editing. Because there are a range of such plugins available in the open-source world, a CMS does not normally include such a device as a core feature (except that one is normally provided as a plugin with the initial install). The advantage of the plugin approach, as always, is that plugins can be added or exchanged in order to find the right tool for the job. It is interesting to note that there is no single plugin editor that might be considered as an all-round capable tool: some are better at text formatting, some for links and anchors, some for image management. All have notable bugs of one form or another, and as yet no one has produced the 'killer' universal WYSIWYG plugin editor.
  Plugin editors ideally need a relative power facility, whereby the editor can be provided with restricted features
for frontend authors, but extended capability for a backend admin who may want to override the CSS.

XAMPP
probably the best Windows server package solution for a private LANserver. Essentially, it converts a Windows PC into a standard webserver, for LAN use. This open-source package is a one-click install that gives you a full-service server setup including Apache, mySQL databases, PHP, Perl (and FTP and email). Complex dynamic applications such as CMS systems usually install faultlessly on top – which is more than can be said for some of the competition. The most popular is the Windows installer version, though it is also available for Linux and MacOs; it replicates the LAMP server environment. So: W or L or M = (X)AMPP.
   There are no security measures or settings on a default XAMPP install, since it is not designed for a production environment. To a certain extent these issues can be resolved, at least as far as LAN service is concerned; but production use is better taken care of on a Linux box anyway.


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Numbers - #

3PD
third-party developers, after-market software programmers who add functions.

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