Presentation Glossary

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These are general terms related to the design and presentation of an OSF installation.

ActionScript
A a scripting language developed by Adobe. It is a dialect of ECMAScript (meaning it has the same syntax and semantics of the more widely known JavaScript), and is used primarily for the development of websites and software targeting Adobe Flash.
Block
Generally small lists of links or other formatted text, which you can place in various regions within a Drupal site, such as in the header, the footer, a sidebar, or below the main content. Blocks can also be assigned to display or not on various content types or menu branches.
Content Type
In Drupal, pieces of content that make up your web site belong to particular content types. Each content type is a specialized version of the basic content type (which has a title, a body, a unique ID number, a content type designation, a record of who created it and when, and some other settings associated with it). Specialized content types may also have their own fields identified.
CSS
Or Cascading Style Sheets is a Web development programming language for styling the content of Web pages and how they will be presented to the user.
Dashboard
In management information systems, a dashboard is an executive information system user interface that (similar to an automobile's dashboard) is designed to be easy to read. In the case of the OSF, a dashboard is a single-page presentation of multiple data display widgets, each showing related information from different visualization or analytic perspectives.
Flash
Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is a proprietary multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to Web pages; it is also a tool for "Rich Internet Applications" (RIAs). Flash manipulates vector and raster graphics to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images. Flash contains an Object-oriented language called ActionScript.
HTML
Or HyperText Markup Language, is the predominant markup language for Web pages. It provides a means to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists etc as well as for links, quotes, and other items. A specific XML variant of the language is XHTML.
JavaScript
An object-oriented scripting language used to enable programmatic access to computational objects within a host environment. Although also used in other applications, it is primarily used in the form of client-side JavaScript, implemented as part of a Web browser, providing enhanced user interfaces and dynamic Web sites.
Layout
A layout is a specific page presentation format with specific design, components and ordering and sizing of those components. In the case of the OSF portal based on Drupal, a layout is a specialization of a template dedicated to a specific node (content) type.
Mashup
A dynamic application that consolidates two or more services to make them do, in aggregate, what they do not do on their own. Mashups most often combine two or more widgets or visualization components.
Module
Sets of PHP scripts that modify or extend the functionality of the core Drupal framework. Various viewing and editing rights can be assigned to specific modules.
Node
In Drupal, a node is a specific Web page that belongs to a particular content type. Each Web page gets a unique node ID number (though it might appear with a logical name due to path aliasing).
Rich Internet Application
Web applications that have many of the characteristics of desktop applications, typically delivered either by way of a site-specific browser, via a browser plug-in, or independently via sandboxes or virtual machines. Adobe Flash and Flex, Java and Microsoft Silverlight are currently the three top frameworks.
Stylesheet
A form of separation of presentation and content for web design in which the markup (i.e., HTML or XHTML) of a webpage contains the page's semantic content and structure, but does not define its visual layout (style). Instead, the style is defined in an external stylesheet file using a style sheet language such as CSS or XSL.
Template
A unique, non-executable file format intended specifically for a particular application. In the case of the OSF portal based on Drupal, a template may refer either to a specific node (content) type with a specified layout or a data presentation format provided via Smarty or an Infobox within an OSF widget.
Theme
A theme is a preset package containing graphical appearance details, used to customize the look and feel of (typically) an operating system, widget set or window manager. Graphics themes for individual applications are often referred to as skins, and the words are often used equivalently, the primary difference being one of scope. In the case of the OSF portal based on Drupal, a theme contains both a skin plus some pre-configured templates and menu design options.
Web Page
An (X)HTML document that renders with styling in a Web browser.
Widget
Also called a component, this is a particular data visualization or manipulation application that can be embedded within a Web page.
XSLT
Or Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations is a programming language for transforming XML documents, most often with a visualization or presentation aspect.