Webmaster Jargon for Website Owners

I wrote to a site owner last week and I thought I was writing to a webmaster. The site owner complained about some of the jargon and, while explaining who I thought I was writing for, I explained some of it because I think more website owners might benefit from these three explanations:-

“Expat-like terms” – made available in a way that is freely sharable, modifiable and redistributable, similar to the Expat software package, whose terms are published at http://www.jclark.com/xml/copying.txt – this is often used as a clear, simple example for encouraging wide distribution of electronic resources (software).

“clandestine Google Analytics” – Google Analytics is a service from Google, Inc for tracking users through a website in various ways. I believe the Data Protection Act means that English websites should obtain informed consent from users by publishing a Privacy Policy on their site which discloses what the GA service will be used for and linking through to GA’s own Privacy Policy. Some websites attempt to run Google Analytics on users’ computers without explaining why and without any Privacy Policy. That is what I mean by “clandestine”.

“valid xhtml” – validating against the eXtensible HyperText Markup Language standards published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – the underlying language of the web. There is a test service provided at http://validator.w3.org/ and passing it is a key stepping stone towards making an accessible website. There’s not really such a thing as “invalid xhtml” – if it doesn’t pass validation, it’s not xhtml. So I guess I’m guilty of using a tautology sometimes – sorry about that.

Is it worthwhile knowing those three phrases? Are there other key technical phrases which you think site owners should know?

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