Glossary

Find below some definitions and explanations of web and/or technical terms often used within our industry.

Ajax – Asynchronous Javascript and XML:
Ajax, another acronym, stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. Ajax is used to create dynamic websites but is specifically useful for the user experience as it is able to provide users with the experience of a web page being responsive. Ajax allows for data to be sent to and from the server, in the background, thus reducing the need to submit back and forth from the server.

ASP – Active Server Pages:
ASP, as with PHP, is a server scripting language provided by Microsoft. ASP is an acronym for Active Server Pages. It is not an Open Source technology and therefore licensing costs are involved when choosing to run a website that runs on ASP. ASP runs on IIS (another Microsoft product) and typically uses MSAccess or MSSQL as a database.

Bad Neighbourhoods:
Sites known to be bad neighborhoods are:

  • Gambling Sites
  • P0rn Sites
  • Medicinal Sites

But any form of spam on any website could drop them in trouble with the Search Engines, and if you link to them, you associate yourself with them…thus getting yourself penalised too.

Blog:
This term originated from the the words “Web log”. It can be used either as an online journal or diary. On the other hand, it can be a very useful business tool in the sense that it could keep your visitors up-to-date and informed about your business.

Client-side Scripting:
Client-side scripting is used to identify a web browser technology such as JavaScript. Client-side scripting can save processing time by reducing the number of times a request is issued to the server. It’s particularly useful for DHTML. There are, however, pros and cons to this form of scripting.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets:
Technology used to format the layout and style of HTML documents.

DHML – Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language:
DHTML stands for Dynamic HTML (Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language) and makes use of JavaScript to make changes to HTML when a user is on a website. DHTML isn’t a scripting language, but more of a browser feature.

Domain:
For example: http://www.mammothdigital.co.za is Mammoth Digital’s domain. It is where our website resides.

Dynamic Website:
Dynamic Websites use integrated technologies, like PHP, to add functionality. Database-driven websites also fall into this category, using SQL(Structured Query Language). Variations of SQL are MySQL and MSSQL. See MySQL, and also Static Website.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol:
Protocol which can be used to transfer files from, and to, servers. Many different programs can be used for this, including ones like SmartFTP and CuteFTP.

Handcoding:
Many web developers use programs to develop websites. Some of these programs generate redundant code when creating the page for you. Handcoding webpages/websites ensures you that there is no redundant code, which also makes your webpage/website search-engine-friendly.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language:
The language that websites get written in. Technologies like ASP, JSP, PHP, JavaScript and even CSS, are supplements to HTML.

JAVA:
Programming language created by Sun Microsystems. Often confused with JavaScript.

JavaScript:
JavaScript is very useful tool to website developers and is particular useful for validation of user input. JavaScript is a Client-side Scripting language and although very useful, it has its advantages and disadvantages and needs to be used appropriately.

Live – Setting a website Live:
Not like “Alive and kicking”! This simply means that the page/site that is referred to is accessible to anyone.

MySQL:
Open source database management solutions making use of SQL (Structured Query Language).

PR – Google PageRank:
If you download the Google Toolbar, you will see a little green bar at the top. This is the Google Pagerank for the site you look at. You will also see that different sites have different PR’s.

Many regard PR as the holy grail of SEO, thinking that only PR determines your Search Engine ranking. This is false. There are many factors which determine your SE rankings, and PR attributes a very, very small amount, if any. PR is a guideline as to the importance of a website, not a promise.

Your PR grows with time as people link to your site out of their own free will.

PHP – Hypertext Preprocessor:
PHP is a server scripting technology or language and, believe it or not, is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is used globally and has become more and more popular over the last few years. It’s similar to ASP, but it’s Open Source software therefore saves both Mammoth and clients on licensing costs.

In addition, with the vast number of people and companies using the software, the support and help available online is huge. We, at Mammoth Digital, try to make use of an OO (Object-orientated) framework as much as possible to ensure code is re-used efficiently and issues can be resolved in a timely fashion.

In South Africa, bandwidth and hosting is quite expensive. PHP is typically run on Linux, another Open Source platform, therefore resulting in cheaper hosting and thus another cost saving for clients.

Reciprocal Linking / Link Exchange:
Dated technique of asking parties to link to your website, attempting to increase your Search Engine Rankings. Since, this technique has become questionable, and have been explicitly forbidden by the Google Terms of Service

RSS – Rich Site Summary / Real Simple Syndication:
XML-based information syndication technology.

Search Engine Spamming:
It started off as a really annoying practise where people would try to sell their services through emails. Others caught on and it has now become a technique. Others like to call it BlackHat SEO.

Signs of spamming on a website are:

  • Keyword stuffing in the title, meta and alt tags of a website
  • Cloaking / IP Delivery (Grey area!)
  • Linking to link farms (Purely for SEO reasons)
  • Using Hidden DIV’s

These are but a few of the spammy techniques used by Search Engine Spammers to climb in the Search Engines. Spamming isn’t defined by the action, but the intent.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization:

See Mammoth Digital’ quick summary and definition of SEO

SERPs – Search Engine Result Pages:
The pages that get returned when you type in your search in any search engine.

Server-side Scripting:
This is typically used to identify a web server technology such as PHP or ASP that runs scripts directly on the server. Server-side scripting is used when creating dynamic websites that populate HTML pages with information from a database or other database options such as XML files. Server-side scripting allows a great deal more security, validation and processing to take place.

Static Website:
Websites with limited or no functionality. Most small-to-medium businesses have static websites, as they only need an simple online presence.

Unique Visitors and Hits:

There is a difference between hits and unique visitors. With unique visitors, the IP Address of the visitor is logged, thus, if the same visitor returns to the website that same day, it still only counts as one unique visitor.

Every time something on a webpage is loaded, it counts as a hit. Thus, if someone clicks on the “Refresh button” or hits F5, each image that loads as well as the page itself, counts as a hit. This is why you will often receive sales pitches referring to hits and not to unique visitors, because the hit count it always higher than the number of unique visitors a site receives.

Upload / Publish:
Refers to the transferring of files to a hosting server via FTP.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator:
A URL is made up of four-to-five elements, as listed below:

  • http:// – The protocol used. It is a set of rules that allows web browsing.
  • www – Acronym that stands for World Wide Web
  • mammothdigital – The name you chose
  • .co.za – Can be .com, or .co.uk, or co.jp etc. ZA is South African, UK is the United Kingdom and JP is Japan. COM is commercial and ORG is an organization.

Webpage / Website:
A website, and a web page are often confused with one another. A website, consists of one or more web pages.

XML – eXTensible Markup Language:
Information exchange initiative created by the W3C [ World Wide Web Consortium ]