Computer Terminology and Software Testing.

Terminology and abbreviations that is necessary to know during the interview. (Including some historical information on PC, Programming Languages and other media)

  1. Regular expressions are patterns of characters that match, or fail to match, sequences of characters in text. Regular expressions, at the most basic level, allow computer users and developers to find desired pieces of text and, often, to replace those pieces of text with something that is preferred.
  2. ASCII The American Standard Code for Information Interchange defines the code assignments for text in nearly all computers today. It was first defined in 1967. ASCII defines code positions 0-127.
  3. adaptive software development A software development process created by Jim Highsmith and Sam Bayer. Continuous adaptation of the iteration software delivery process is done using speculate, collaborate, and learn phases.
  4. agile An iterative and incremental approach to developing software that adheres to the Agile Manifesto and its associated principles. Ideally this is done using small, dedicated, co-located, self-organizing teams who work in close collaboration with a business customer. Agile is value-driven both in the focus on delivering the most important features first and in the ways the teams choose to work together to develop the software.
  5. agile manifesto A statement of principles and values that define agile software development.
  6. algorithm as a tool for solving a well-specified computational problem. The statement of the problem specifies in general terms the desired input/output relationship. The algorithm describes a specific computational procedure for achieving that input/output relationship.
  7. ATAPI (ATA Packet Interface) ATA or AT Attachment was the successor to the ST506 and ESDI hard disk interfaces for small hard drives. This was extended in the early 1990’s to allow CD-ROM drives to be connected to the same parallel data bus as hard drives thus eliminating the requirement for a separate interface card.
  8. BSD Berkley Software Distribution. This is one of the original contributors to the UNIX operating system.
  9. BIOS The software in a Windows computer which controls the startup.
  10. BMP The most basic, uncompressed bitmap representation used by Microsoft Windows.
  11. checksum errors If data structures in a UDF file system are not constructed properly or are corrupted it is likely that the checksum will be incorrect. This is detected and reported on in the Analysis report.
  12. Cluster A group of sectors allocated to a file together to reduce fragmentation.
  13. cryptography The branch of cryptology dealing with the design of algorithms for encryption and decryption, intended to ensure the secrecy and/or authenticity of messages.
  14. decryption The translation of encrypted text or data (called ciphertext) into original text or data (called plaintext). Also called deciphering.
  15. digital signature An authentication mechanism that enables the creator of a message to attach a code that acts as a signature. The signature is formed by taking the hash of the message and encrypting the message with the creator's private key. The signature guarantees the source and integrity of the message.
  16. DMA Direct Memory Access, a technique which allows devices to directly write to the computer’s memory without requiring the processor to be involved. This significantly speeds up data transfer to and from CD and DVD devices.
  17. DVD Originally,“DVD” was an acronym for Digital Video Disc and then later Digital Versatile Disc. Today it is generally agreed that DVD is not an acronym for anything.
  18. ECMA Ecma International is an industry association founded in 1961 and dedicated to the standardization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Consumer Electronics(CE). They can be found at
  19. encryption The conversion of plaintext or data into unintelligible form by means of a reversible translation, based on a translation table or algorithm. Also called enciphering.
  20. extreme programming (also referred to as eXtreme Programming and abbreviated as XP) A software engineering methodology that focuses on a set of specific engineering practices that lead to a higher quality of software and the ability to be more responsive to the customer's needs.
  21. FTP Acronym for File Transfer Protocol, a common technique for transferring files over the Internet.
  22. FAT Generically, the format of the original file system used on the IBM PC.
  23. firewall A dedicated computer that interfaces with computers outside a network and has special security precautions built into it in order to protect sensitive files on computers within the network. It is used to service outside network, especially Internet, connections and dial-in lines.
  24. GIF A graphics file format defined by CompuServe in the 1980s. It is restricted to a total of 256 separate colors in an image. It is used today primarily for non-photographic web graphics and can include animation.
  25. HFS file system The file system which was used on the first Macintosh computers, later replaced by HFS+. CDs and DVDs can be written with either HFS or HFS+ file systems.
  26. IMAPI Acronym for Image Mastering API, a component of Windows XP. This is the writing software that comes with Windows XP.
  27. intruder An individual who gains, or attempts to gain, unauthorized access to a computer system or to gain unauthorized privileges on that system.
  28. ISO International Standards Organization, a body which oversees the creation and distribution of standards worldwide.
  29. ISO 9660 The standard that defines the most common CD file system.
  30. ISO image file A quasi-standard format which supports a single session, single track data disc being described by a binary file.
  31. iteration A block of time, typically between one and six weeks long, in which a team plans, implements, and delivers a set of functionality.
  32. JPEG A graphic file format that uses “lossy” compression to achieve greater compression than would otherwise be possible. This is designed for photographic images rather than computer graphics. This is defined by and named for the Joint Photographic Experts Group.
  33. Linux A alternative operating system that was developed by the Finnish professor Linus Torvalds. It is popular in many areas today because it is free and in some respects more reliable than Microsoft Windows.
  34. MS-DOS 2.0 In 1983 Microsoft began distributing MS-DOS 2.0 which defined partition tables for hard disks and the subdirectory structure. This was the operating system that enabled the IBM PC XT to make effective use of the 10MB hard disk it was sold with.
  35. NTFS - Acronym for New Technology File System. This was introduced by Microsoft for Windows NT 3.1 in 1993.
  36. OSX The current operating system for Apple Macintosh computers. This operating system is built on a UNIX-like base.
  37. PERL Acronym for Practical and Easy Reporting Language. This is an interpreted language that has many features for processing strings. It has become the de facto standard for Regular Expression processing.
  38. POSIX A set of application programming interface standards defined by IEEE. This is currently implemented by Linux and other UNIX and UNIX-like system vendors. Windows NT at one time had a POSIX subsystem but this has been abandoned.
  39. private key One of the two keys used in an asymmetric encryption system. For secure communication, the private key should only be known to its creator.
  40. public key One of the two keys used in an asymmetric encryption system. The public key is made public, to be used in conjunction with a corresponding private key.
  41. (PKI) public-key infrastructure The set of hardware, software, people, policies, and procedures needed to create, manage, store, distribute, and revoke digital certificates based on asymmetric cryptography.
  42. RSA algorithm A public-key encryption algorithm based on exponentiation in modular arithmetic. It is the only algorithm generally accepted as practical and secure for public-key encryption.
  43. TIFF Acronym for Tagged Image File Format. This graphic file format is a generic container for a variety of formats with and without compression.
  44. Trojan horse A computer program that appears to have a useful function, but also has a hidden and potentially malicious function that evades security mechanisms, sometimes by exploiting legitimate authorizations of a system entity that invokes the program.
  45. UDF file system A file system derived from the ISO 13346/ECMA 167 specification. UDF is capable of storing files larger than 2GB and is therefore often used with DVD media. UDF is required for DVD Video and DVD Audio discs.
  46. UNIX An operating system developed at Bell Laboratories in the early 1970s. It serves as the basis for most microcomputer and minicomputer operating systems today. For example, Linux and Solaris are both derived from UNIX.
  47. UNIX file names UNIX file names are allowed to be any length and in general restricted to printable ASCII characters.
  48. virus Code embedded within a program that causes a copy of itself to be inserted in one or more other programs. In addition to propagation, the virus usually performs some unwanted function.
  49. wiki An editable intranet site where details of stories and tracking information may be recorded during development.
  50. worm Program that can replicate itself and send copies from computer to computer across network connections. Upon arrival, the worm may be activated to replicate and propagate again. In addition to propagation, the worm usually performs some unwanted function.
  51. .ZIP The file extension for a ZIP archive. The ZIP archive format was originally defined by PKWare but is now supported by various libraries.
  52. zombie A program that secretly takes over another Internet-attached computer and then uses that computer to launch attacks that are difficult to trace to the zombie's creator.

On this page I put some Computer Terminology for QA and testers. These PC and General Terminology are very simple and mainly were used for interviewing software testers who is involved in any type of testing. The Computer Terminology found above are listed in the alphabetical order. However all new Computer Terminology (regardless of there difficulty) will be added to the bottom of the list. You can find more PC and Computer Terminology searching the WEB. END Computer Terminology.

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© January 2006 Alex Samurin