GuideML Acronyms and Jargon

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An introduction to GuideML | Converting from Plain Text to GuideML
GuideML Syntax | Approved GuideML | GuideML Acronyms and Jargon


  • FAQs ('Frequently Asked Questions')

    Most good websites and communities write a page of the most commonly asked questions - with answers - that relate to the acronyms and jargon that can so easily confuse the readers.

  • GIF ('Graphics Interchange Format')

    One of the most popular graphics (picture) formats on the Internet. Due to copyright issues, the only pictures in use on h2g2 are those in the GuideML Picture Library. Some of the Smileys on h2g2 are animated GIFs.

  • HTML, XML and XHTML ('Hypertext Markup Language', 'Extensible Markup Language', 'Extensible Hypertext Markup Language')

    These mark-up languages are similar to GuideML. Mark-up code specifies the layout and format of any words and tells the browser where to find any pictures and where links (or hyperlinks) are pointing to. A hyperlink is a piece of text or an image that can be clicked on to take the reader to a conversation, a new page or just somehere else on the same page. You can view the coding of any website by going to View Source in Internet Explorer or Opera.

  • JPEG / JPG ('Joint Photographers' Expert Group')

    A popular graphics format on the Internet, similar to GIFs.

  • URL ('Uniform Resource Locator')

    The address of an internet site, such as


  • Articles

    All h2g2 Researchers can write entries for the Guide, creating what are known as 'articles'. Article URLs are of the form for the article A123456.

  • Alabaster

    The name of one of h2g2's 'skins'.

  • Attribute

    An extra piece of information that goes inside an opening tag to further define how things will look on the finished page. For example, ALIGN="CENTER" is an attribute that can be added to a <P> tag to create a centred paragraph: <P ALIGN="CENTER">. Note that American spelling is used in all GuideML tags and attributes, even though h2g2 is a British-based site.

  • Blob

    A name for an images in the GuideML Picture Library that can be used on any h2g2 pages.

  • Bold

    A technique for making text stand out, using the <B> and </B> tags. For example, this text is in bold, but this text is not.

  • Browser

    These are programs that interpret HTML, and possibly also derivative languages, to commonly allow people to view webpages. Common browsers include Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, Opera and Firebird. For more information, see Web Browsers - an Historical Overview.

  • Brunel

    One of h2g2's skins.

  • Bug

    When mentioned in relation to computers, these aren't of the insect
    variety. Computer bugs are errors in coding that produce unintentional results. When creating or editing a GuideML page, common bugs in your code will be identified when you click on Preview or Update Entry.

  • Bulleted list

    These are used to draw attention to individual points in a list using

  • Comments

    Although everything you write in your code is seen by the parser, comments are deliberately rendered invisible on the finished page. To write a comment, use <!-- Comment here -->. They can be used to write short notes for yourself, which can be very helpful if you need to change something a few months later.

  • Classic Goo

    One of h2g2's skins.

  • DNA

    Named in honour of the late Douglas Adams, this is the software that powers h2g2 and all other 'DNA sites'.

  • Entries

    See 'articles'.

  • Error Message
    A short piece of text displayed describing an error.

  • Font

    The style of text displayed.

  • Fixed format

    Text inside <PRE> tags.

  • Gadgets

    Pieces of code that allow obscure complicated formatting to be inserted easily.

  • GuideML

    See An introduction to GuideML.

  • Hex number

    Hex, or 'hexadecimal', numbers may1 be used to specify colours used in GuideML entries. There are 16 hexadecimal values - 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E and F - that correspond to the decimal values 0 to 15 respectively. As the font colour scheme uses six hex numbers to specify each colour, there are over 16 million possible colours. However, there are only 216 'Web Safe Colours' to choose from.

  • Horizontal rule

    A horizontal line across the screen, inserted using the <HR /> tag.

  • Italics
    The term 'Italics' has two common related meanings on h2g2.

    1. A technique for making text stand out, using the <I> tag. For example, this text is in italics, but this text is not.
    2. The h2g2 Editors are also unofficially known as 'The Italics' because of the way their names appear in conversations - in bold-italics.

  • Introduction

    See 'personal space'.

  • Marquee

    Although not officially supported by h2g2, as it is not supported by all browsers, the <MARQUEE> tag may be used to make text or images scroll. See 'A study of the <MARQUEE> tag in GuideML'.

  • Named Entries

    Some pages on h2g2 have names (rather than just A numbers, like A123456) and there are two ways to link to them. In conversations and plain text entries, you surround the name with <./> and </.> 'tags', and in GuideML entries, you use the GuideML LINK tag. See the list of named entries for more information.

  • Nesting

    'Nesting' is a term that describes having one or more types of tag 'wrapped up' within one another. For example, <P>The quick brown fox <B> jumps <I> over </I> the </B> lazy dog has a pair of italic tags nested inside a pair of bold tags, which are also nested inside a
    pair of paragraph tags. This would be displayed as 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog'.

  • Ordered List

    A list where numbers such as '1.' and '2.' are used to denote each list item.

  • Parser

    The software that interprets GuideML code.

  • Personal Space

    The personal space of a registered h2g2 Researcher contains their introduction, a record of their created articles, their recent journal entries, a list of their 'Friends' and a list of threads to which they are subscribed. It is often referred to as a 'U-Page' because of the way its URL is written. For example, is the URL of Researcher 123456's personal space.

  • Pixel ('Picture Element')

    The smallest possible square of screen space. Everything seen on a screen (text, pictures, animations, for example) is made up of hundreds of rows that are one pixel high and hundreds of pixels wide. The higher the screen's 'resolution', the more pixels there are on the screen and so the higher the visual quality of the image.

  • Refresh

    In some browsers, pressing the 'F5' key will update (refresh) the current page so that you can see any changes made since the last update.

  • Resolution

    The screen resolution describes the number of pixels your monitor ('screen') displays. Common settings include:

    • 640 by 480 pixels
    • 800 by 600 pixels
    • 1024 by 768 pixels
    • 1280 by 1024 pixels
    • 1600 by 1200 pixels

  • Self Closing Tags

    Any tag may be made self-closing, but only a few tags are often made selfclosing. They are the exception to the rule that 'all tags must be used in pairs'. One common self closing tag is the line break - <BR/> - which forces the next piece of text to appear on a new line.

  • Skin

    The skins in use on h2g2 allow the same pages to be displayed in different styles. To change the skin used by default, use the 'Preferences' button.

  • Smileys

    Smileys, also known as 'emoticons', are small pictures typically used in conversations to convey an emotion. For the full list of h2g2's smileys, see the Smiley page.

  • Syntax

    The 'syntax' describes the rules by which code is written. Its role is analgous to that of grammar in spoken languages. See GuideML Syntax.

  • Table

    A way of arranging text and/or images into rows and columns. See GuideML Table for more information.

  • Tags

    Tags are bits of code - denoted by being surrounded by < and > angle brackets - that control formatting. Understanding how tags work is an important step in learning how to make GuideML (and HTML etc) work properly that the 'GuideML Syntax' page is dedicated to describing their usage.

  • Unordered List

    A bulleted list with a symbol used to denote each list item.

Common Entities ('Symbols')

Only the two most common entities are described. For a list of all entities supported by the DNA software, see 'Special Character Codes in GuideML'.

  • &amp;

    To the computers that control how things look on pages written in GuideML, the & ('ampersand') symbol is reserved to denote entities. To use it in an ordinary (human) way, it must be written as &amp;.

  • &nbsp;

    A 'non-breaking space' that forces a space to appear on a page.

1Words such as 'red' or 'blue' may also be used.

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