Guide to Web Terminology

A concise guide to the technical stuff—

Browser Testing: Web browsers are applications that render the different elements of your web site on the computer screen. Unfortunately, different browsers handle some content elements in unusual or counterintuitive ways, which is why we test all sites frequently during development. Currently, we test with all browsers in common use: Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome for Windows, Firefox, Safari and Chrome for Macintosh. iPad and iPhone and Android phones too!

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets are used to control the layout of a site from one central reference file. Using CSS greatly increases the efficiency of development and maintenance of your site. If you want to make stylistic changes down the road, it’s much easier with a CSS-designed site. While all modern browsers provide full CSS support today, this was not the case several years ago. CSS design is one major reason clients choose to upgrade an older site.

JavaScript: JavaScript is a client-side programming language frequently used in Web development to extend the capabilities of HTML. Since JavaScript runs locally on the user’s computer, it can respond quickly to user input. JavaScript is frequently used to create drop-down menus, rollover highlights, slideshows, and many other useful functions.

Multimedia: Today’s Internet connections allow for a wide range of rich media content to be delivered via your Web site. Examples include: Flash video and animation, real-time (live) streaming video, podcasts, video conferencing, chats, 3-D animation, MP3 audio, and more.

PHP: PHP is a popular scripting language for Web development that allows for dynamic content and database driven applications. PHP scripting is used to convey data between the user’s screen and a server-located database.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the process of building sites in a way that makes it easy for Google and other search engines to properly index the site for its database. Optimizing your site for search engine ranking is part art and part science, and it’s critical for driving traffic to your site.

Web Standards: The World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) has established a set of guidelines for the creation of Web content that is open to future improvement and mindful of past technology. These standards do not dictate the visual design of the site, but inform the underlying programming practices used to deliver the content.