We walk around all the time talking about the internet or the web, but did you know that there’s a difference? And that UI and UX are commonly interchanged, but they mean very different things? Here’s another one: Memory is not the same as disc space. Gets confusing right? We’ve set out to set the record straight on tech terms that we use every day but are very likely using incorrectly.
First, a little ‘This versus That’
HTML vs CSS
Any marketer worth their pay can answer this, but they may not be able to tell you what they stand for. Simply put, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the language that webpages are written in which Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the code that tells web browsers how to translate it visually. So HTML is the content and its container, and CSS makes it pretty.
Software vs App (Application)
Ok, so they’re not completely different. Apps are technically a type of software that tells your device what and how to show you specific features and content. All apps are software, but not all software is an app. Software is a much broader term that covers apps, operating systems (like Windows 10), drivers (controls for external equipment like printers), utilities (like anti-virus), etc.
Back End vs Front End
More website stuff. The front end is the part of a website that you can see which includes HTML and CSS. The back end is the stuff that makes the website work which include applications that tell the website what to do (like WordPress), servers that actually “serve” the data to the website, and databases which is where the data that is served lives. The front end is what your visitors interact with while the back end is where your site is built and managed.
UI vs UX
As mentioned earlier, it’s very easy to confuse these two, particularly in speech. UI stands for “User Interface” which is how you logistically interact with a website or software, like scrolling down, clicking on sections, accessing menus, and more. UX is the “User Experience” which is how interfacing with it makes you feel about the website or software. UI is the fact-based experience of using something while UX is the emotion-based experience that it evokes (like it, hate it, or don’t care).
HTTP vs HTTPS
You may have noticed in your web browser that some website addresses start with HTTP and some with HTTPS (though the latter is taking over and for good reason). To boil it down, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) allows web browsers and servers to communicate, and it doesn’t really care if the information can be potentially intercepted and altered (cybercriminals!) in transit. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is HTTP’s younger cousin who was born to establish encryption between a web server and a browser. It make sure that the data you want to access is actually the data you’re accessing. It’s always, always best practice to only use HTTPS websites, particularly when working.
The Internet vs The Web
Yep, there’s a difference. So technically it’s even more of a misnomer to call it “The Interwebs.” They rely on each other to serve you the latest social media post about kittens. The internet is the vast array of physical computers and wires that connect together to allow access to the web. The web is comprised of the documents that make up the consumable information that you access (websites and webpages).
MSPs like us use this one all the time. It stands for “Network Operations Center” which is the central location where a company’s servers and networking equipment live. This can be anywhere: in a back room of an office, offsite at a vendor location, or at someone’s home (it can even be partly in the cloud!). Since every company that does any kind of work online—even if it’s just email—has a NOC, it’s imperative that it must be protected at all times from every possible risk.
Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) is something we IT companies can go on for days about. But don’t worry, this’ll be quick. Now that you know about NOCs, it’s important to know that a BDR plan is the essential part of making sure your investment in the components of a NOC stay safe. And it goes for elements in the cloud (online) as well as the physical hardware. This means protecting your data, software, hardware, and everything that runs and stores it all. And it’s way more than plugging in a surge protector: it’s earthquake, flood, fire, vandalism, theft, and even human error proofing it all.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) actually works by blocking light instead of producing it. This allows for the hardware that uses it to be thinner, lighter weight, and require less power than other types. It’s employed in many items that we use around the home and the office, from computer screens to microwaves.
Most people these days use this acronym to say “where you go online to access this information,” but few know what it actually means. It stands for Uniform Resource Locator which is the specific technical term for webpage address. It relies on a standardized system of syntax where slashes are used to separate directory and files names.
Fun fact: the URL standards that we use today were invented back in 1994 and the inventor later expressed regret over installing the two slashes before the domain name. Since there’s a colon right after them, they were actually unnecessary to write into the syntax. But now they’re there to stay.
This one is owned by the company Adobe. That’s right, even though we typically talk about them as though they are a standard part of our online lives—like “the web” or “software”—they invented the PDF and it’s exclusively theirs. A Portable Document Format (PDF) is a language that exchanges document information (layout, styling, content) and presents it in a standardized way regardless of the hardware you’re using or the operating system and software that it’s running. Have you ever tried to send a Microsoft Word document to a Mac user? It’s a mess. Using Adobe’s PDF ensures that what you create and save as a PDF on one computer looks exactly the same on another. Even though Adobe is the father of PDFs, there are a slew of other products out there than can open, edit, and save PDFs.
The Tip of the Iceberg
These are just a few of the tech terminology that we hear our clients slinging around every day. Of course, there a many more. If you ever have any questions about new terms and how they apply to your online work life, there’s probably more beneath the surface to learn. Contact us today to let us help your workforce be as productive and effective as possible.