E-business: Jargon buster


(Application Programming Interface)
An interface that enables programs written by users or third parties to communicate with certain software.

Software program that performs specific tasks such as accounting and database management.

Structure of specific components (such as hardware and database platforms) and the way they interact, that forms a computer system.

(American Standard Code for Information Language)
Standard code used by all computers to represent letters, numerals and punctuation.

(Application Service Provider)
Supplier that manages and delivers software applications to organisations or individuals over the internet.

Part two


A ‘catch-all’ term often misused and misunderstood. In lay terms, client/server describes a system where the ‘client’ (PC on a user’s desk) handles tasks such as displaying information, checking validity of data input and formatting reports. Meanwhile the ‘server’ (another computer, usually mainframe or midrange) is dedicated to storing information and serving required information to the client(s); e.g. bank cash machines.


The process of moving files from a web server to your computer.

EDI (electronic data interchange)

The electronic exchange of trading documents (e.g. invoices and orders) used for e-commerce.

EFT/POS (electronic funds transfer/point-of-sale)

System that allows direct transfer of funds during a retail, payroll or banking transaction.

EIS/MEIS (management/executive information system)

Sophisticated reporting and analysis tool for the manipulation of large volumes of data (usually financial).

Part three


A secure internal network where access is limited to members or employees of an organisation.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

A company that supplies your internet connection, such as Freeserve or AOL. They have permanent connections to one of the many backbone links of the Internet.

ISV (Independent Software Vendor)

A software producer that is limited to producing applications for a single hardware manufacturer, eg Microsoft.


A programming language capable of running on a variety of platforms used to incorporate a variety of features in a web page.

LAN (Local Area Network)

Geographically limited communication network that connects users within a defined area (generally within a building or small group of buildings). Managed and owned by a single enterprise, giving faster communications at a lower cost to WANs (Wide Area Networks).

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