IMR Tutorials Home | Glossary | References | Faughnan
This page has a limited set of definitions related to the Internet Medical
Record. For terms not listed here see the CNet Glossary of Computer Terms
(less technical) and the Computing
Dictionary (more technical). indicates a link outside
of this document elsewhere on this site or the web. Glossary
- Introduction to the Internet includes some more basic terms.
- Berners-Lee, Tim
- The man generally considered to be the creator of the World-Wide-Web at CERN in
Switzerland. He did not become wealthy from his creation, but neither did Guttenberg.
- Originally this term was applied to two-tiered applications that
put the user interface on one machine, a database on another, and divided processing
between the two. Now it's applied more broadly to distributed applications which may
include multiple databases, multiple processing and transaction centers, and a client
which holds the user interface. In modern multi-tiered Client/Server
applications processing may move between client, server, and middleware
- Common Gateway Interface (CGI)
- A standard way to for a web browser to communicate with a script or other application
which may in turn manage databases or other system resources. CGI is character based and
has a lot of overhead, but it is simple and robust.
- Connection and State
- See HTTP.
- Common Object Request Broker Architecture. CORBA on the web is mostly defined by three
components: the IDL, IIOP, and CORBA services. The Object Request
Broker (ORB) is the software that uses these components. CORBA is a
standard for producing Client/Server middleware.
- CORBA services
- A suite of (currently 16) services that CORBA applications can (theoretically) use.
Typical services include a naming service (names objects and stores their
addresses, can connect up with LDAP directories as well), a persistence
service (interface to persistent storage in databases), and a security service.
CORBA services are still more theoretical than real.
- EMR, CPR, CBPR,
- These are all acronyms which refer to more or less the same thing. EMR stands for
electronic medical record, CPR for computerized patient record, CBPR for computer-based
patient record, ACIS for ambulatory care information system. In each case the terms refer
to computerized systems that assist at least in documenting clinical care and often in
supporting clinical work.
- HyperText Markup Language. The standard used to create documents that web
browsers (Netscape, Internet Explorer) can interpret. Standard HTML is defined by the W3
Consortium. Netscape and Microsoft have created proprietary extensions to HTML.
- HyperText Transfer Protocol. The standard for sending HTML and other
web content between a web browser (Netscape) and a Web Server. HTTP 1.0 is a stateless protocol; the web
server has no simple way to know the status of the client (web browser). HTTP is also
sometimes (confusingly) called connectionless, meaning that it the client browser
is only connected to the server for brief intervals. HTTP 1.0 connections also require
quite a bit of overhead, consuming server resources. Displaying a single web page may
require many of these transactions. HTTP 1.1 addresses many of these problems. See W3C Recommendations Reduce
World Wide Wait.
- Interface Definition Language. A CORBA standard for describing an
object -- what it does and how to use it.
- Internet, Intranet,
- The Internet is the set of all computers and other devices that have IP
addresses from the Internet naming authority, and that communicate with one another using
"IP packets". Many people use the word Internet to refer to the collection of
web information that is maintained on some of these machines.
- An intranet is a private network that uses the same technology as the public Internet;
but the machine addresses (IP) are private and the machines cannot directly communicate
with the public Internet. An intranet may communicate with the Internet
through a "firewall" machine.
- Internet Protocol (IP)
- The most basic (defining) foundation of the Internet. A way of
naming things that are a part of the Internet, and the definition of an Internet packet
(unit of transmitted information). IP is going to be replaced in time by IPv6 (also called
IPNG). IPv6 will provide better security, a vastly increased ability to name things, and
the ability to differentiate between high priority and lower priority network traffic.
- Internet Inter-ORB Protocol (IIOP)
- The standard way for ORBs to talk to one-another over the Internet.
It's basically TCP/IP with some additional message exchanges.
- An interpreted programming language developed by Sun, paired with a platform-specific
execution environment (Java Virtual Machine). Java resembles C, with some additions from
C++ and Smalltalk. It's strengths as an Internet language come from its security model,
class library, and its support across many platforms from a digital TV controller to a top
level IBM mainframe.
- An emerging specification for Java based components that can be
assembled to create applications.
- Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
- A standard way to create a directory of things, people,and services. LDAP is a
simplified version of the x500 directory service. LDAP is one of those things that seems
simple, but may be profoundly important. For references see LDAP references.
- Loose Coupling
- A way of describing systems that can be taken apart or revised without damaging the
entire system. A human being is "tightly coupled", the human genome is
"loosely coupled". Loose coupling permits adaptation, evolution, and extension.
- Everything that lies between the Client computer (ie. a Windows 95
workstation running Netscape) and the Server (ie. a UNIX server
running Oracle). The original Internet middleware was a Web Server
and some CGI programs (often written in Perl; a programming language
that excels at handling the strings that CGI uses).
- Network Computer
- A computer which relies upon the network for its functionality and uses Internet
technologies, especially including Java and HTML. Current Network
Computers typically run a web browser and support Java. Major backers of Network Computing
include Sun, Oracle (Network Computer Inc.), IBM
and Netscape and all CPU vendors who are not Intel. Microsoft has been a bit less
enthusiastic. The NC Reference
Profile provides more detail. (See also Network
Computers.) Despite the Microsoft vs. The World conflict, a Network Computer could in
fact use Windows NT as its operating system, though it would not run Windows software
other than a web browser.
- Object Request Broker (ORB)
- A component of the CORBA specification. The ORB does the work of
establishing communications channels between objects (application components). Leading ORB
vendors today include Visigenic's Caffeine (Netscape 4.0 includes Visigenic's ORB), Iona's
Orbix and Sun's JOE (JOE is written in Java).
- A programming language that is exceptionally good at parsing and managing strings and
streams. It has been heavily used in industrial web applications.
- Sutton's Law
- Willie Sutton was an unsuccessful bank robber. It is said he was asked why he robbed
banks. He replied: "Because that's where the money is". The story is apocryphal,
but it's a classic nonetheless.
- The language spoken by the computers that make up the Internet. TCP/IP is the
"roadway" upon which email, web exchanges (http), and other net traffic travels.
Its components are IP and TCP (error correction). "I don't know
what protocol the network of the future will use, but it will be called TCP/IP."
- Thin Client
- Term given to computer platforms (hardware and software) that hold a minimal set of
software and data locally. These platforms get their software and data from network
servers as needed. The central storage and automated distribution of data and applications
dramatically decreases the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). It also
allows a one or more users to work with multiple devices at many locations with one set of
data and applications. A thin client is typically one tier of a Multi-Tier
architecture. The Network Computer is one type of thin
- Tiered, Multi-Tier, Three-Tier
- Client/Server computing can be described in
terms of the division of labor between the user's computer at one end, and one or more
databases at the other. Two tiered systems have two levels -- client and server. Three
tiered have client, server, and middleware. Sometimes other
tiers are added in, but, practically speaking, three-tiered is often taken to mean
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- TCO refers to the total cost of owning and operating a computing platform. This is
typically much higher than the purchase cost of hardware and software; it includes the
cost of training, upgrades, maintenance, software distribution and installation, and
- Uniform Resource Locator. A standard way of identifying and locating something on the
Internet. http://jfhomepage is a URL that
identifies and locates my web page.
- W3C or W3 Consortium.
- The standards body for the World Wide Web. Specifies what
is standard HTML based on its own work and on adjudicating Microsoft
and Netscape extensions to HTML. Berners-Lee is an active
- Web Server
- A networked computer and software that can receive HTTP requests
(typically from a web client/browser, like Netscape) and return HTML
(web pages). Web servers usually also support CGI connections to
databases and other Server software. Next generation Web Servers
support IIOP requests and can handle CORBA
- World Wide Web (WWW)
- A term applied to a number of things which all together produce the Web.
- a collection of documents (web pages) written in a standard language with hyperlinks (HTML)
- a standard way to send messages (HTTP)
- a standard way to address web pages (URL)
- software/hardware that "serves" those documents (web servers)
- a network on which everything exists (Internet)
- XML (Extended Markup Language)
- A rapidly emerging specification for encoding machine-readable information. XML shares
common roots with HTML, but it can encode information for both human
and computer use.
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