Glossary: W

This page contains glossary terms beginning with the letter W.
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Word or Term Description or Explanation
W3C Worldwide Web Consortium - a group of people who are charged with setting the standards for the evolving internet - they issue RFC's (Request For Comments) and get feedback before deciding what the best options are
WAIS Wide Area Information System - a set of databases across the Internet which can be searched in a manner very close to questioning in plain English
WAN see Wide Area Network
WBT Windows Based Terminals (Windows Networking) - where all the machines are running Windows
Web (The) see WWW
Web crawler this is an automatic program (sometimes called a "robot") which explores the World Wide Web, following the links and searching for information or building a database - such programs are often used to build automated indexes for the Web, allowing users to do keyword searches for Web documents - it is also the name used by one of the most popular publically available keyword searching engines - this can be accessed using the URL: or
the WebCrawler is owned by America Online Inc and operated at their Web Studio in San Francisco - it regularly reads all the web pages it possibly can, and stores a huge database of indexing information - if you point your browser at you'll see a form into which you can enter one or more words - click on the [search] icon and, in a few moments, the WebCrawler will search its database and send you back a list of all the web pages that it knows about which contain those words
there are many similar search engines, such as:
OpenText -
InfoSeek -
World Wide Worm - Jumpstation II -
Weight this refers to the density of the characters within a typeface - e.g. bold, light, extra, demibold, extrabold, etc.
wget a web access tool, providing recursive downloading using http and ftp to mirror archives and other sites, and traversing to carry out other search/indexing functions
Whetstones this is a floating point version of the Dhrystones test
White pages databases of information about users: email address, telephone number and postal address - the name relates to the fact that it is something akin to Yellow Pages!
whois pronounced "who is" - a utility which interrogates the Internet domain name administration system and returns ownership and other details of the specified domain name
Wide Area Network a group of remote computers, i.e. not on one site, connected over telephone lines or specialised data cables
Widescreen TV a format which displays pictures in the cinema format, also known as 16:9 (for the ratio of breadth to length) - it offers the advantage of allowing feature films to be broadcast in their original version
Widget (set) under X Windows, "widgets" is the collective name for buttons, sliders, menu bars, title bars, and all the other paraphernalia that windows can have or contain - awidget set is a collection of all the necessary widgets of a particular style - think "Toolbox"...
WIMP Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointer - a method by which a user can interact with a computer without having to learn lots of special words - it provides a much more intuitive 'view' of the computer and its facilities than non-WIMP operating systems provide
Winchester old-fashioned term for a hard disc
Window manager this is the official name for the RISC OS WIMP system
Windows CE (or WinCE to give it the official and incredibly apt abbreviation) the cut-down version of Windows created for consumer electronics applications- it is intended to be the operating system for palmtops, toasters, washing machines and so on - Microsoft sometimes describe it as a Real Time operating system, at which point embedded systems engineers laugh a lot, since it isn't
WINE Wine Is Not an Emulator - a set of Linux system calls which duplicate the functionality of equivalent Windows system calls, allowing Windows applications to run under Linux
WMF Windows Meta File - usually with a 'WMF' extension, this file is native to Windows and is a vector graphics format, similar to RISC OS drawfiles - WMF files have no curves: these are simulated with many straight lines and therefore translated files can lose detail and it can be awkward to transfer text in a drawfile unless 'Convert to path' is performed first - this type of file can be inserted into MS Word documents
Word a group of bytes considered by the cpu to be a unit of data - in Acorn 32-bit computers, a word is four 8-bit bytes
Worm the Internet equivalent of a virus - it replicates itself and is self propagating
WP Word-Processing - in the early days of microcomputers, word-processing was limited to handling text to create documents - these days, however, many of the programs that are referred to as word-processors can also handle pictures, so the distinction between WP and DTP is becoming less clear
Writable icon a submenu into which you can type some information such as a filename
Write-protect open the tag at the corner of a floppy disc in order to protect the contents from being edited or accidentally deleted
WWW (or W3) WorldWide Web - this is probably the main reason for the Internet becoming more popular recently - it presents things in the form of pages that can contain text, graphics and sound, and enables you to wander from computer to computer all around the world just by clicking on highlighted links - the pages are stored as files in HTML format and transferred using HTTP
WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get - in the days of text-based word-processing, the screen display would only gave an indication of which words would appear on a given printed page but often not much more than that - WYSIWYG describes a system where the screen display shows the size and positioning of all the text (and graphics) exactly as it will appear on the printed page
WITHIWIG is another version of WYSIWYG but said with tongue in cheek - it applies to those applications which are not quite what they claim!

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