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OWT CMS and LMS Documentation Site       http://cms.owt.com
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Glossary

In this reference we will refer to some basic web concepts by name or even their common abreviation.  It is crucial that you understand these terms so we will spend a little time going over them here.  Outside of the CMS3 these terms might have slightly different meanings or more generalized meanings so we provde this glossary so you can understand what these terms mean in the context of the CMS. 

Action Menu

The menu buttons that determine the action to be taken on a CMS administration form. Generally include Cancel,Delete and Save or Update at a minimum but can contain much more.

Admin Center

The Admin Center is the administrative home in the CMS3 and LMS3 products.

From this center you can access all of the administrative functions of the CMS3.  It is critical for the proper operation of some navigation feature that you go to the Admin Center before you do any other administration even though it is not absolutely required.   If you edit your site frequently the site might recognize your from an admin cookie but your session my have expired. In this scenario you might see "Edit Content" links or even the administration bar that allow you to access specific features but until you return to the actual Admin Center certain funcationality might not work as you expect it to.  For this reason we encourage you to initiate all site administration by logging directly into the Admin Center. 

The Admin Center does not have to be any particular address per se and we never put links to the Admin Center on any public page that non-administrators could view so minimize hacking attempts.  So you will simply just have to remember or bookmark the Admin Center URL.  When you go to this URL for the first time in a browser session you will be asked for a username and password.  Your site administrators can actually edit this information using the Users manager in the Configuration section.  Your username and password are case sensitive so you must type them exactly the way they were setup and given to you.  You may ask your browser to save these credentials but only do this on your computer and not a public computer. 

Within the Admin Center you will have access to every administrative feature as well as some other features that were configured for your site such as a notepad, a dashboard, web view statistics and more. 

Background

Essentially the background shown on a web page. This can be just a color or an image.

The CMS will let you configure background colors as well as a background image. That image can then be fixed or set to "tile" on the site.  These images need to be carefully crafted to work properly and should be web optimized. You should consult your developer for assistance. 

Button

A button on a web form or web page that triggers some activity. Often this will submit a form with a designated action value.

caching

Caching is an activity performed by the server or application or your web browser where the content is stored locally so that future requests will load faster generally not be actively requested from the server.

Caching is an activity performed by the server or application or your web browser where the content is stored locally so that future requests will load faster generally not be actively requested from the server.  The server will know when the content has changed but your browser may not always.  Typically this is a real problem with images.  

Certain firewalls or gateway appliances may also cache content and so you may not always see the current version of a page. If clearning your browser cache does not solve the issue you may need to talk to your network administrator about changing the cache timeout. 

cookies

A small amount of data send from a website that is stored in the user's web browser. The user must accept cookies for this to occur.

These cookies can then save time for the user when they return to the website or go to other pages.  Cookies have gotten a bad name because of the use of tracking cookies by major site and sponsors.  The CMS does nothing nefarious with cookies and only uses this information to make the user's experience better. That said, many features of the CMS require the user accept cookies. 

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets

Cascading Style Sheets were created to deal with the style and formatting limitations of HTML.  While CSS offers tremendously more styling and formatting options it also brings quite a bit more complexity and is commonly used to provide a common set of formatting rules for a site.  If content has a specific style to it then content within that content will generally have that format as well but every element can be given specific formatting. 

Dialog

Generally a framed window that is popped up or at least easily distinguishable from the main content window of a web page. Often used for warning messages but sometimes used to select data.

editor

In the context of the CMS or LMS the editor is the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) or visual editor that supports fonts, formatting, styles, colors, tables and much more.

Filter

A tool to constrain a selection set. Generally you will type in a few letters and the selection set will be reduced to only those entires containing those letters.

Footer

Basically the bottom portion of a webpage that generally is repeated, at least in part, on every page.

Header

The top portion of a webpage generally repeating on every page.

Hex

A color designation scheme using hexadecminal numbers (base-16; 0-9ABCDEF). Each pair represents a RGB color that would be designed 0-255. The first pair is red the second green and the third is blue. eg. white is #ffffff and black is #000000 and bright blue is #0000FF

HTML

HyperText Markup Language

HyperText Markup Language is the main language of the web.  Most website are programmed in HTML to some extent. In many programming languages used on the web those programs will output HTML if the site is not actually coded in HTML.  Your web browser will interpret this HTML and render the webpage accordingly. HTML mostly just tells your browser how to render the content with "tags" that specify color, size, alignment and other layout features along with some other funcationality.  

Image

A graphical entity. Common web image formats are JPEG, PNG and GIF but most modern browsers support some newer graphic types as well. Images are sent indepently from code on the web.

Level

A CMS level is simply a group of content that will all be managed from the same root URL.

Link

A link is a clickable element on a page that when clicked will tell your web browser to view the address of the page or content referenced in that link.

List

A CMS list is just a categorized database of items that can be links or other content as specified in the List Manager.

Not to be confused with an HTML list which is a numbered (ordered) or bullet list of text items created in the WYSIWYG editor. 

Media

CMS3 Media refers to any file that is stored in the Media System (see Media Manager). This can include files, videos, audio files,graphics or really anything stored as a file.

Menu

Selection tool to choose what content on the site to view.

Page Title

This is the title of a page coded in HTML so that the browser displays this in the browser title area - often the tab area or window title bar.

This is not necessarily the same thing as the upper most heading on the site but it may be the same depending upon the tool and configuration. 

RGB

A color model in which red, green and blue colors are added together to reproduce a vast array of colors. Each color is designated by an integer between 0 and 255. eg. black is 0,0,0; white is 255,255,255 and bright blue is 0,0,255

Selector

A means of selecting options on the web page. This can include select menus,pull-downs,radio buttons, checkboxes or custom tools to facilitate the selection of options.

Sidebar

An area of a web page representing the "margins" - either to the left or the right of the main content window. Often a location for navigation menus etc.

Table

A grid of data represented by rows and columns. HTML supports this structure internally and it is a common way of displaying tabular data.

Tags

URL

Universal Resource Locator

Universal Resource Locator is essentially the address of a site or file on the Internet.  For our purposes we are only dealing with the world-wide web and so this will be the web address.   A URL is composed of four main parts:  the protocol, the hostname, the domain name and the filename which may also be in any depth of directories.  For this page, for example, the URL can be broken down as follows:

  • URL = http://cms.owt.com/intro/concepts-and-background.html
  • Protocol = http (stands for hypertext transfer protocol which is the main protocol for the web along with https which is for secure encrypted pages)
  • Hosname = cms (Not all hostnames are www! While that is quite common there is nothing special or magic about www it was just a standard convention in the early days of the web).
  • Directory = intro  (no different than a subdirectory on your computer - this is generally a "Level" in the CMS)
  • Filename = concepts-and-background.html  (notice there are not spaces in this filename or anywhere in the URL) 

Web Browser

The software used to view web pages.

This isn't as cut-and-dry as it once was but essentially this is just the program you run to view web content in it. The most common web browsers include: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera but there are many others.  In addition, some other programs may be capable of displaying web content even thought that isn't their primary function.  A website will exchange infomation with your browser and will understand what types of content you can accept and send that content in a mostly linear fashion.  Your browser will start to accept that information in the order it is sent but some resources such as images or movies might take longer to transfer but understand that multiple reasources can be transmitted simultaneously.  Your browser will then deal with the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images and other content that it can accept and display the content.

While there are web standards that exist and are, thankfully, mostly observed by the major browsers there is a possibility that this content is not rendered exactly as the author intended it. Years ago websites needed to be specifically programmed to deal with Internet Explorer as it marched to a different drummer but today all of the web browser follow the standards pretty well.  The extent that they follow some common practices that weren't actually standards varies quite a bit however.  In addition, some technologies that might be included in a website may require add-on funcationality.  Examples are Adobe PDF formatted files, Adobe Flash or Shockwave content and some web video formats might require a special plugin or browser extension be present for compatibility.