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Words to Live By

Browser: A browser can refer either to a person who browses the internet. Or, a browser can refer to the program used for browsing. Examples of browser software programs are Netscape, Opera, and IE. To understand browser think of someone walking up and down the aisles of a department store. They are browsing the shelves looking at items off the shelves periodically. Well, a web browser is a person who goes up and down the aisles of the internet looking at pages every now and then. Instead of using your arm to grab an item off the department store shelves you use a browser program to grab the webpage.
Client Software: On the internet you will from time to time see reference to "client" software. Client software is a software program which you run on your computer. This is software which you would have purchased on a CDROM or you will hvae downloaded from the internet. After installing this software you will see an icon on your computer somewhere. When you click on this icon on your computer you will open and run the "client" program for accessing the internet. Only programs which access the internet are called "client" programs. A regular program such as Excel, Word, Photoshop, etc. are not called client programs. They are just programs. Client programs are designed to work with "server software" to help you do stuff on the internet.
Download: Download means to get a file from the internet and have it stored on your computer's harddrive. Typically you will download stuff by clicking on a "hot link" in your browser.
File: A file is a collection of character (letters and numbers) which are stored together. They can be stored together on your computer harddrive. They can be stored together on a floppy disk. They can be stored together on a CD. They can be stored together on an internet server. They can be stored together on lots of different things. It is the being stored together which makes the collection of characters a file. On your computer when you look in your directory folders you see two types of things. You see folders and you see files. They are all referred to by their names.
FTP: If you are interested in FTP (or File Transfer Protocol) you are either trying to upload pages to your website or you are trying to download something from the internet.

For download from the internet don't even worry about FTP. Your browser will do that for you without any fuss or muss.

To upload files to the internet will typically require a FTP client program. The program we use is WS_FTP. There are other programs. This is just the one we use.

There is some kind of mental barrier involved in FTP. Even though I have a Phd in Quantum Mechanics I still encountered that barrier. It is some kind of conceptual thing. Some get by it easier than others but it's there none the less. So if FTP seems strange, bizarre and hard to grok that is because it is strange, bizarre and hard to grok. You are not going crazy. It really is hard. But learning to parallel park was hard too. So don't dispair with a little practice it will be no harder than a left-hand turn. It is only for those who expect this to be instantly known that FTP will be a major challenge. Accept that in this one case you will have a learning curve and all will be not too bad.

HTML: HTML (pronounced 'h', 'tee', 'em' 'el') is an acronym for hyper-text markup language. Usually the word HTML means webpage. You see a webpage is made up of html code. This html code tells your browser what to show you. It is the instructions which create the webpage as you see it.
Plain Text: Plain text refers to files which have only ordinary characters -- none of those fancy schmancy weird characters. Ordinary characters are those you find on your keyboard. Fancy characters are weird (often invisible) characters. A plain text file can be edited by almost any text editor in the world.
Server: A server is a computer which is made for "serving" pages to people on the internet. A server will live somewhere like your ISP, EBay, Yahoo, Google, etc. Servers often don't have a monitor because they aren't used on anyones desktop. They are hooked up only to the internet through cables.
Server Software: Server Software refers to programs which run on internet servers far away on the ISPs computers or on computers at places like EBay, Yahoo, Google, etc. Server software almost always requires people use client software to access them.
Upload: Upload is the process where by you transfer a file from your computer to the internet. Examples of stuff you might need to upload are:
  • Images for eBay auction
  • Pages for your website
  • Images for your website
  • Programs you've written for others to download.
  • MP3 songs you've created
To upload a file usually requires an FTP program or the use of a special feature available on some websites. For example MP3 has a whole upload section on their webpages for musical groups.