CMS Glossary

A list of explanations of CMS jargon used within this guide.

A

Access control/access rights

Another name for user privileges: this means enabling certain rights to certain users such as being able to view or edit a set of pages.

Accessibility

Enabling technological devices, e.g. websites to be used by people with disabilities.

Add ons

Another name for plug ins or extensions: small programs which can be connected to a CMS to extend its functionality.

Admin

Short for administration: refers to management of website content and functionality via a CMS. An administrator logs in to the CMS to control aspects of the website.

Analytics

Another word for statistics: using algorithms to analyse data, e.g. website traffic.

App

Short for application: refers to a software application.

Application Programming Interface (API)

The gateway between a piece of software, e.g. a CMS and additional functions which can extend its functionality. An interface between different forms of software.

B

Beta testing

The process of testing second or third versions of a piece of software before being released on the market.

Blog

Short for weblog: a popular CMS add-on which enables users to leave comments, discuss events or offer advice (and opinions). A type of online diary.

Bridging

The joining of two applications together, for example a small app to a larger application, e.g. a CMS instead of using a plug in. An example of this is to bridge a forum to a CMS.

C

Cache

A component which stores data, e.g. web pages which enable them to be retrieved at a faster rate. A web cache enables stored pages to be re-used quickly for the benefit of the user.

Category

A subsection of content: a useful way of organising content on a website.

Client

The name given to a PC which accesses a remote service on another machine via a network. This term is also used to refer to an application which acts as an interpreter for a service, provided by another PC, e.g. an email client.

Client-side

This refers to an application which runs on a local computer rather than a server. One example of this is a CMS which is installed on a local computer which creates web pages that are then uploaded to a server.

Code

The language a piece of software is written in, e.g. Java. This is either compiled or text based.

Compile

The development of an application on a server.

Component

An extension which carries out a powerful function within a CMS, e.g. a table within a document.

Configuration

The organisation of a set of functional elements according to their characteristics. An example of this is a configuration file used in operating system settings.

Content

Refers to a variety of information contained within a website, for example, text, images, blog etc.

Content Management System (CMS)

A system which enables web pages to be created, edited, published and managed by people with no technical skills. A CMS is built on a database, lies within a web server and produces pages on demand.

Customer Relations Management (CRM)

A form of software which handles customer details, e.g. contact details, account information etc.

D

Database

A repository of data in text format which can be accessed quickly and easily, that forms the heart of a website. An example of a database is MySQL which is found on many web servers or the popular MS Access application.

Development

The testing and tweaking process which is applied to an application such as a CMS before it goes on general release.

Directory

An individual folder or a group of folders that hold data. .

Documentation

The umbrella term for a collection of information which acts as a ‘how to use’system, e.g. how to use a CMS. This takes the form of user manuals, help guides, forums, wikis and online tutorials.

Dynamic website

As opposed to a static website: a fluid, constantly changing website which enables interaction between it and the user.

E

E-commerce

Used to refer to software which enables goods and services to be sold online. Users visit an ecommerce website where they can browse through the products before making a purchase. This takes place using a shopping cart system and checkout.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

A business focussed CMS which organises content according to the business strategy of a company or organisation. It uses a range of tools, methods, processes and workflows in accordance with the hierarchy of the business.

Extension

See plug in, add on or module. A way of extending the functionality of a CMS in order to improve its modus operandi. An example of this is a social media extension such as a link to Facebook.

Extranet

A system for connecting together the various departments, suppliers and service providers within a company.

F

Flat website

Another name for a static, HTML website.

Forum

The ubiquitous name for what was previously known as a bulletin board. Users are able to post comments or enter into a conversation with others.

Free CMS

Also refers to open source CMS. A free system which can be downloaded and used for personal projects.

Front end

The part of a website which is viewable to users. In CMS terms it refers to users being granted access rights to the CMS in order to create or amend content but not the admin section.

G

Granular

Micro-level of a system. Detailed control of user access rights within a CMS.

H

Hand code

Refers to web pages which are built via coding rather than a CMS. They are built in HTML and are a common feature of static websites.

HTML

Stands for HyperText Markup Language: the code behind web pages.

I

Images

Technical name for graphics and/or photos used in web pages. These are usually stored in a folder marked ‘images’.

Index

Another name for the home page of a website. Alternatively, a feature within a database which enables instant access to a collection of rows within a table.

Intranet

The name given to a large, central website, often found within businesses and organisations.

ISP

Stands for Internet Service Provider: a business which offers users access to the internet.

J

Java

An object-oriented programming language which is used in web applications and software.

Javascript

A type of scripting language which is used in dynamic websites and software applications such as PDF documents.

K

None at present.

L

LAN

Stands for Local Area Network: a computer network which is connected to a router and joined by Wi-Fi.

Layout

Used to refer to the structure of various elements on a web page such as the text. This is what the user sees when they access a website.

Linux

A an open source type of operating system which is a subsidiary of Unix and considered to be a stable, reliable OS and a recommended server OS.

Log in/on

The process of entering a user name and password to access a system, e.g. a CMS or a particular section of a website.

M

Mac OS

The operating system developed by Apple computers for their Mac range. Known for its user interface, ease of use and reliability. Examples include ‘Tiger’ and ‘Snow Leopard’.

Metadata

Data stored within the source code of a web page which contains information about that page. This metadata may consist of instructions or search terms for SEO purposes.

MIME

Stands for Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions: web standard for the format of email.

Module

See plug in, add on and extension: a means of improving the functionality of a CMS.

MySQL

A commonly used multi-user database found in web applications and CMSs.

N

.Net

A software framework owned by Microsoft which forms a part of the Windows operating system. It is used by many applications which are designed to be run on a Windows platform. Often used as a component of a CMS.

Network

The name given to a group of computers joined together by cable or Wi-Fi. An example of this is a LAN.

O

Open source

Another name for free software, e.g. a CMS.

Operating system (OS)

A collection of programs, data and processes which are responsible for the functions on a computer. It is the interface between the hardware and software and performs a range of tasks which are vital to the operation of a computer - hence the name.

OS/2

A type of operating system which is popular with coders and techies.

Out of the box

A term used to describe a system such as a CMS which can be used as soon as it has been installed.

P

Pathway

Another name for the breadcrumb trail used on websites which enables the user to see where they are and retrace their steps if necessary. This can be done via a single click.

PHP

Stands for Hypertext Pre-Processor language: a text based language which is used to perform a function requested by an interactive web page, e.g. the completion of an online form.

Plug in

See add on, extension and module: the name given to any feature which can be added onto a CMS to extend its functionality. Usually added after the CMS has been installed.

POP3

Stands for Post Office Protocol: a system used by an email provider.

Portal

A name for a type of website which acts as a gateway to other areas of content within the site or other websites.

Program

An application or a type of software which assists the user in a range of tasks.

Project

A term used to describe software development, e.g. the creation of a new CMS. Also used to describe groups of people working on an open source system.

Protocol

A set of rules which enables communication between computers.

Proxy server

A type of server which carries out online tasks for another computer or software/web application.

Python

An object oriented programming language which is used in various web applications and as a scripting language in a range of software products.

Q

None at present.

R

Reference websites

Websites which act as a demonstration model.

S

Section

This is used to describe a piece or division of content within a website. This usually contains a range of categories.

Search Engine Friendly URLs (SEF URLs)

Addresses for web pages which are complimentary to the search engines. Many CMSs contain a SEF plug in to ensure optimum page rankings.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

A process in which a website undergoes a series of changes in order to increase traffic to that site and improve conversion rates (sales).If that website has been built using a CMS then that throws up a new set of issues which are dealt with by a SEO for CMS specialism.

Separating design from content

This refers to the delineation between the design and layout from the content on a web page. This can be done using templates as part of a CMS.

Skin

Another name for the appearance of the user interface or the main template, responsible for the overall layout of a website.

Software

Another name for applications or programs. These perform a range of functions in order to help the user with their work.

Static website

As opposed to a dynamic website: a set of rarely updated HTML pages. Also known as a flat website.

Storage engines

Refers to a set of handlers within a database which deal with different types of tables.

T

Template

A document within a CMS which enables the user to define the areas of content, graphics etc within the pages of a website. These templates can be customised according to personal preferences or business requirements and are used to structure the layout of a website.

There are different templates for different pages of a website which extends its functionality. Also known as themes or skins.

Theme

Another name for a template.

Third party

Refers to third party software: this can be linked to via a CMS in order to improve flexibility of the system.

U

UNIX

The original operating system which has led to offshoots such as Mac OS and Linux. Very popular with servers due to its security and stability.

Unzip

This refers to the unpacking of an archive file to separate the files before choosing the appropriate one for use.

Usability

The means by which a user can interact with a product, e.g. a website to achieve their goals. This is measured in terms of ease of use, easy to learn, effectiveness and efficiency and determines how easy or not a device or system, e.g. a CMS is.

URL

Stands for Uniform Resource Locator: this is the technical name for a website address e.g. http.www.example.co.uk.

V

Versioning

A core feature or a add-on for a CMS which is a means of storing older versions of a document.

W

Web Content Management Systems (WCMS)

A CMS which contains a range of tools and processes that enables non-technical users to manage content on a website.

Web server

A type of computer on the web which hosts a program that accepts requests from clients/users and serves them with web pages etc.

Wiki

A type of CMS plug in which provides a source of information about a particular subject for users. An example of this is a user guide or set of encyclopaedic entries.

Windows OS

The most popular form of PC based operating system. Developed by Microsoft and used by millions of people worldwide.

Workflow

A core feature of a CMS: it allows control over an item of content as well as a decision on who has that control. Also refers to a sequence of actions within a system.

WYSIWYG

Stands for What You See Is What You Get: this refers to the means by which content is created or edited within a CMS. This is available as a core feature or as a plug in for a CMS. A useful tool for non-technical users with no programming skills.

X

None at present.

Y

None at present.

Z

None at present.

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