The purpose of this glossary is three-fold:

First, it is for you, the reader, if you are unsure as to the meaning of a term in this manual.

Second, the technical writer in your organization can use it as a reference/style guide when writing documentation. For that reason, some terms are included in this glossary that haven't been discussed within the main body of this book. The capitalization, spelling and definitions given here agree (when applicable) with Commodore's Release 2 User's Guide, Using the System Software. If you follow this style, your manual will better agree with the main user manual for Release 2 of the Amiga system software. For instance, the definition for serial may be obvious to you, but by consulting this guide you can see that Commodore's Release 2 user's manual did not capitalize it.

Third, it is for you, the developer, to let you know where certain functions are found in the system and what version of the system software contains that function. For instance, the concept of AppIcons first appeared with Release 2 of the system software and is supported by workbench.library. If you look at the glossary entry for AppIcon you'll see it suffixed with Release 2 workbench.library.

Note: the codes (v) and (n) refer to verb and noun, respectively. A word may have different spellings and/or meanings depending on whether it is being used as a verb or a noun.

absolute pathname
The explicit identification of a file or directory - one that includes the device or partition name and any directories that lead to the file.
action gadget
A box in a window that lets you choose an operation to be performed by selecting the box. Common action gadgets are Continue, Save and Cancel. Also called buttons.
Currently selected; such as "the active window".
The disk operating system (DOS) used by Amiga computers.
Ap icon on Workbench that allows the user to pass arguments to an application. For instance, if a text processor has an AppIcon on Workbench, the user could drag the icon for a text file onto the AppIcon and that file would be loaded into the application. Release 2 workbench.library
application gadget
Any of a number of programmed graphic images that appear within programs and can be manipulated with the mouse to perform a certain function. Under Release 2 of the operating system, standard application gadgets are available to the developer through GadTools. Previously, you would have to create application gadgets within your program.
An AppMenu allows the user to add a custom menu item to the Workbench Tools menu. Release 2 workbench.library
A window on Workbench that allows the user to pass arguments to an application. For example, if a text processor has an AppWindow, the user can drag the icon for a text file into the AppWindow and that file would be loaded into the application. Release 2 workbench.library
1. (n) A backup copy of a file or files.
2. (v) To copy files to disk or tape for backup purposes.
A text-based language that, along with Workbench and the Shell, serves as a built-in user interface for the Amiga. ARexx has two main uses. As a scripting language, it can operate internally with applications. It can also be used to operate two or more applications that may or may not be inherently compatible. In your documentation you should note that ARexx is a trademark of William S. Hawes.
An additional item of information, such as a filename, value or option, included along with a command. This information determines the exact action of the command.
argument passing
Specifying parameters for a program or command to follow. On the Workbench, this can be handled through the Tool Types and Default Tool fields of an icon, or through an AppWindow, AppIcon or AppMenu. More traditionally, arguments can be passed via a command line in the Shell.
To link a directory name to a logical device name, with the ASSIGN command, so that programs which use that directory can look for one device name rather than having to search through several volumes for the directory. For instance, the RAM:T directory is commonly assigned to the device name T:.
A series of flags stored with every file. Attributes indicate file type and control the file operations (read, write, delete, etc.) permissible on the file. Also called protection bits.
To automatically move a screen when the pointer reaches the edges of the currently viewable area.
background process
A program that is started from the Shell with the RUN command. The program does not take over the Shell but is run in the "background".
back up
(v) To make a backup copy.
(n) A copy of a file on disk or tape used to replace lost data.
A specific and non-conflicting name for an application that should be used by the developer when naming accompanying files and ports such as the application's ARexx port and the file where application-specific preferences are stored. In most cases, the basename should be the same as the name of the application's executable.
An image made up of pixels.
Having two possible states: on or off, true or false, yes or no.
An expansion board made by Commodore that allows the Amiga to emulate [IBM-]PC-compatible computers.
An IFF graphics file; usually a section cut out from a full-sized picture.
A temporary storage area.
check box
An application gadget used to let a user turn an option on or off. When a check mark appears in the box, the selection is considered to be "on". Release 2 GadTools
Chip RAM
The area of RAM accessible to the Amiga's custom chip set used for graphics and sound data.
In terms of using the mouse, choose is what the user does with menu items. Select is what he does with icons.
1. To change a bit or flag to 0, off or disabled state. Opposite of set.
2. To erase a screen or window display.
CLI (Command Line Interface)
A means of communicating with a computer by issuing commands from the keyboard. The program that allows this on the Amiga is called the Shell and, along with Workbench and ARexx, is one of the three built-in interfaces. Before the Shell was available, the program used was called the CLI.
To press and release a mouse button.
To remove a window from the screen.
close gadget
A system gadget used to close windows. It appears in the upper left corner of the window.
cold reboot
To reset the Amiga by turning the power off, waiting 20 seconds, then restoring power.
colour correction
A printing option, selected through Prefs' PrinterGfx editor, that tries to better match the colours of a printout to the colours on the screen.
colour selection gadget
A gadget from which you can choose one of several displayed colours. Also referred to as the palette gadget. Release 2 GadTools
command history
A feature of the Shell that allows you to recall previously entered command lines by using the cursor keys.
command template
A line of text showing how a command and its arguments should be used. When a user types "<command> ?" in the Shell, he should be shown the template for that command. Release 2 dos.library ReadArgs()
Commodities Exchange
A system that simplifies the process of writing programs which monitor the input handler system - these programs can respond to hot keys, take actions based on mouse action or inactivity, or even modify the input stream as it goes by.
condition flag
A variable that contains a return code value indicating the success or failure of command execution.
console window
A window used for the input and output of text.
context cue
A graphical hint to the user that where he is in the system or application has changed. When a user chooses New from a Project menu, for example, a new window opens. The new window is a context cue.
Continuous; consisting of a series of adjacent items. Contiguous memory is a block of memory.
Control-key combination
A key combination that performs a special function, entered by holding down Ctrl while pressing another key on the keyboard. Some Control-key combinations are executed as soon as they are pressed, such as when Ctrl-C is used to abort the execution of an AmigaDOS command. Some produce a reversed character image and have no immediate effect.
A highlighted rectangle used in the Shell and some applications to indicate text position.
cursor keys
The four keys with directional arrows on them found below Del and Help on the keyboard.
custom icon
An application-specific gadget that can be moved and manipulated. Example: the note object in some music applications.
cycle gadget
An application gadget that allows the user to select one of several options. One option is displayed at a time and, as the gadget is selected, the other options become visible. The displayed option is the selected option. Similar to radio buttons but this takes up less space in a window or requester. Release 2 GadTools
dead key
A key, or key combination, that modifies the output of the next key to be pressed. For instance, on an American keyboard, Alt-H will superimpose a caret (^) symbol over the next applicable key to be pressed.
A value or action assumed if the user has not specified anything else.
Default Tool
An argument passing device used with project icons on the Workbench. When a project icon is double-clicked, the application specified in the Default Tool field of that icon's Information window will automatically load and run.
To erase or discard a file, buffer or other stored item.
A character that marks the beginning and end of a string.
depth gadget
A system gadget for moving a window or screen in front of or behind other windows or screens. It appears in the upper right corner of the window or screen.
This term was used in the Release 2 user documentation rather than unselect.
The device, directory or file that is receiving information. For instance, in EDIT, the file that the revised text is being sent to is the destination file.
A physical mechanism, such as a printer or disk drive, or a software entity (logical device), such as CON: or NIL:, used as a source or destination for information. In the Release 2 user manual, hard disk and disk drive designations such as DF0: were capitalized.
device handler
Files that act as intermediate stages between AmigaDOS and physical devices, such as the Port-handler file in the L: directory which handles the interface for the PAR:, SER: and PRT: devices.
A subdivision in a computer's filing system. Directories are represented on the Workbench as drawer icons.
A medium for storage of computer data. This term was used in the Release 2 documentation rather than diskette.
display box
An application gadget, usually under a scroll gadget or next to a selection gadget, that displays the current selection but doesn't allow the user to edit it.
To press and release the mouse's selection button twice.
To move an icon, window, gadget or screen across the display by pointing to the object, holding down the selection button and moving the mouse.
drag selection
The process of selecting several icons at once by holding down the selection button and using the mouse to draw a dash-rule box (marquee) around the icons to be selected. When the button is released, all the icons in the marquee will be selected.
A subdivision of a disk storage area. A drawer corresponds to an AmigaDOS directory.
drive name
The name assigned to a floppy disk drive or hard disk such as FH1: or DF0:. It's the same as the device name.
A printout of the image displayed on the screen.
ECS (Enhanced Chip Set)
The upgraded versions of the Amiga's Agnus and Denise coprocessor chips. The ECS offered new display modes and expanded existing graphics capabilities. Many of the benefits of the ECS are available only in conjunction with Release 2 of the operating system.
A directory where environment variables and user preferences are temporarily stored. Short for "environment".
Similar to ENV: but it will survive a reboot. Short for "environment archive".
environment variable
A variable used by AmigaDOS to represent a string or a value.
error code
A number identifying an error that has occurred during execution of a command or program.
The name for an application which the user types into the Shell in order to run the program. The executable should be one word - short, but long enough to prevent it from conflicting with the executables of other programs.
extended selection
The process of selecting several icons at once by holding down Shift whileselecting each icon with the mouse.
FastFileSystem (FFS)
An enhanced Amiga file system usable with both floppy and hard disks. A volume is formatted as either FFS or OldFileSystem (OFS).
Fast RAM
General memory used by programs and data; as opposed to Chip RAM.
fatal error
Describes an error serious enough to halt the process that caused it.
1. The screen area behind the text under a Workbench icon. The colour of the field can be changed with the Font editor.
2. An area in a requester where a text string can be inserted. A database, for example, will often have multi-field requesters.
Use one word in your documentation. Note: use [angled] brackets when information should be substituted. In this example, <filename> is just a placeholder for the actual filename.
A status indicator variable with a limited number of possible states.
To prepare a disk for use with the Amiga. Use this term instead of initialize when referring to disks.
function keys
Keys at the top of the Amiga keyboard, labelled F1 to F10, that can be programmed to perform special tasks.
Any of various programmed graphic images that may appear in a window, requester or screen, that can be manipulated with the mouse to perform a certain function.
A toolkit, available to developers under Release 2 of the operating system, that supplies pre-programmed, standard application gadgets for use within applications.
Superimposing a pattern of dots in the shadow colour over disabled menu items or gadgets. This gives the user a visual cue that the item is unavailable. Intuition will do this automatically to all standard menu items and gadgets that your program disables.
graphic user interface (GUI)
A visually oriented system allowing you to tell a computer what to do by manipulating graphic symbols rather than by typing in commands. Often, the GUI employs a metaphor for ease of understanding. The Workbench is the Amiga GUI.
hard disk
Use this term rather than hard drive.
history buffer
A section of memory that stores the most recent commands for a given Shell.
hold down
To continually press a mouse button until instructed to release it.
hot key
A key or key combination used by Commodities Exchange programs to open a hidden window.
An image appearing on the screen to represent a disk, drawer, project or tool. Icons can be moved and selected with the mouse to allow you to work with the items they represent.
icon drop box gadget
The drop box glyph in an AppWindow. Release 2 workbench.library
IFF (Interchange File Format)
The standardized format in which the Amiga stores data for such things as text, graphics and sound. Such a standard is useful for data sharing between applications. iffparse.library (can be used with Release 1.3 and Release 2)
.info file
A file containing the image and position data for an icon.
Information window
The window presented on Workbench when a user selects (clicks once on) an icon and chooses "Information..." from the Icons menu.
Inter-Process Communication (IPC)
The means by which two or more applications can operate in conjunction with one another regardless of whether they are inherently compatible. On the Amiga, this can be accomplished with ARexx.
Internal command
Refers to an AmigaDOS command that is built into the Shell, rather than loaded from disk.
The collective term for the GUI toolkit and function libraries that contain the elements necessary for you to build graphic interfaces for your Amiga applications.
K (Kilobyte)
1024 bytes. The abbreviation used in the Release 2 user's manual; eg. "512K".
A file that determines the arrangement of characters on the keyboard and determines the meaning of each key. Different languages have different keymaps.
In the Release 2 user's manual, alphabetical keys are specified with an upper-case letter and the word key is not used. Example: Press Q and then press Return. Non-alphanumeric keys appear in the manual as they do on the keyboard (Esc, Del, Alt, Ctrl, Caps Lock, Help) with the exceptions of Backspace, Return, Shift and the cursor keys. Key combinations are separated by a hyphen and upper-case letters are specified by the Shift combination. Example: Ctrl-O will move the cursor to the end of the line, but Ctrl-Shift-O will move the cursor to the end of the file.
A word recognized by a command as identifying an argument or specifying an option. If the user needs to type the keyword on the command line along with its argument, "/K" should follow the keyword in the command template.
Software that is read from disk and used to boot the Amiga. Also refers to the portion of the OS that is in ROM.
A related set of functions and collections of data that can be shared by various programs. For instance, the commodities.library in the LIBS: directory is used by all the Commodities Exchange programs.
A file that is a pointer to another file. When the original file is called, the linked file will be used.
A single command that represents a sequence of commands. ARexx should be the macro language used by applications on the Amiga.
MB [(Megabyte)]
The abbreviation for megabyte (1,048,576 bytes) used in the Release 2 System Software manual.
The Amiga has both Chip (graphics) and Fast (normal) RAM, as well as 512K of ROM memory.
A list of on-screen options, displayed by using the menu button, from which users can choose commands that control a program.
menu bar
The list of headings that appears across the top of the screen when the menu button is held down. When the menu button is not depressed, the visible bar is called the title bar.
menu button
The right mouse button.
menu item
An option that appears in a menu.
modified project requester
A requester that prompts the user to save the project before continuing. It should be presented when the user chooses an action (such as Quit Program) that would cause his currently unsaved work to be lost.
Moniterm Viking
A high-resolution monitor with a paper-white display especially useful with CAD or DTP applications. A similar monitor sold by Commodore is the A2024. When used with the Amiga, these monitors work in a special mode that tiles a number of high-resolution screens together to make one large, high-resolution display.
monospaced font
A font in which each character takes up an equal amount of space.
A text file in the DEVS: directory that contains information about devices that have been attached to or installed in the Amiga.
A type of video monitor that can accept several different scan rates.
The ability to perform more than one operation, or task, at a time.
mutually exclusive
Only one option can be chosen from a given group of options. For example, in a group of radio buttons, one and only one is always selected. When a user clicks on an unselected radio button, the one that had been highlighted becomes unselected.
A means by which an application can receive a message whenever a specified file is modified. Release 2 dos.library
null string
An empty string. Null strings are commonly used in text editors to delete information. If the user replaces a word with a null string, the word is deleted.
To shift or move over.
To make the selected object available for use. When the user opens a disk or drawer icon, its contents are displayed. When the user opens a project or tool icon, a program is started.
overscan area
The normally unused area surrounding a standard-size screen. The Overscan Preferences editor allows the user to expand his screen to fill this area. Release 2 intuition.library QueryOScan()
To write information to a file or disk, replacing any information that previously was stored there.
An interface port that transfers data one complete byte (8 bits) at a time, contrasted to a serial interface which sends a single bit at a time. The Amiga has an extended parallel port to which a printer is often connected.
The window or directory from which another window, directory or file was generated.
When the system examines and interprets arguments so [that] the appropriate operation can be performed. Release 2 dos.library ReadArgs()
A distinct section of a hard disk.
The series of device, directory and subdirectory names that defines the location of a file.
pattern matching
An AmigaDOS feature that lets the user specify file and directory names by using wildcards and other tokens. Release 2 dos.library MatchFirst() MatchNext() MatchPattern()
An external hardware device.
The number of characters printed in a horizontal inch.
The dots of light that make up the Amiga screen display. A pixel is the smallest unit of display information on a given screen.
An image on the screen that moves as the user moves the mouse. A default pointer, which can be redefined by the user, is included in the system. The pointer often changes to reflect processes and tools.
Preferences (Prefs)
A Workbench drawer containing editors that let the user configure and customize his Amiga environment.
The term used in Release 2 documentation when telling the user to hit a key. Example: Press F6 for your new macro.
A variable determining the proportion of the Amiga's processing time thatwill be allotted to a given task. Each task has an independent priority. Task priority is set automatically but can be changed with the CHANGETASKPRI command.
A task that can communicate with AmigaDOS. Each process has a unique process number. Shell process numbers are usually displayed as part of the Shell prompt.
A file in which information created or used by a tool is stored.
A message or symbol, such as 1>, that indicates that text input to the computer is possible.
protection bits
Use attributes instead.
An icon that is displayed, when the Show All Files item is chosen from Workbench's Window menu, for an object that does not have a .info file.
public screen
A screen that can be used by any application. Workbench is a public screen. Release 2 allows an application to create its own custom public screen which can then be used by other applications. Release 2 intuition.library
Describes a command or program that can be made resident.
A key, such as Shift, Ctrl or Alt, that changes the Amiga's interpretation of a simultaneous or subsequent keystroke or mouse click.
radio buttons
A group of circular gadgets used to offer mutually exclusive choices. Release 2 GadTools
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Part of the Amiga's internal memory that can be used for data storage and is directly accessible by the CPU. Data in RAM is lost when the Amiga is rebooted or powered down.
Ram Disk
A section of RAM set aside to function as if it were a disk drive. Also known by its logical device name of RAM:.
In ARexx, the field where numerical returns are placed. String values are placed in the RESULT field.
To retrieve stored information.
Read Only
If disk status is Read Only, the user can only look at the contents.
If disk status is Read/Write, the user can look at and alter the contents.
To reset the Amiga by pressing Ctrl, Left-Amiga and Right-Amiga simultaneously. Also called a warm boot.
To change the source or destination of a command's input or output from the default by using the special characters < or > [or >>].
relative pathname
The path to a file or directory that does not include the device or partition name that leads to the file.
Release 2
Use this term instead of Version 2.0 or just 2.0, unless in the future you are referring to a specific version of Release 2 of the operating system.
A window that allows the user to control options, access files and confirm actions. Many requesters function just like other windows but others, called modal requesters, block input to the system until the user responds to it.
Describes a command or program that has been copied into memory, with the RESIDENT command, for quicker execution. Only pure files can be made resident.
The number of pixels associated with a particular display mode. For example, a normal NTSC Hires screen has a resolution of 640 (horizontal) by 200 (vertical) pixels.
In ARexx, the field where string values are returned. Numerical values go in the RC field.
return code
A numerical value, generated upon execution of a command, to indicate its level of success. The number is 0 if the command was successful and usually 5, 10 or 20 if there was a problem in executing the command. The return code value is assigned to the condition flag.
RGB (Red-Green-Blue)
A type of video signal in which the three primary colour signals are sent separately. Standard Amiga output uses an RGB monitor.
ROM (Read Only Memory)
Permanent memory that is pre-programmed with system instructions and does not change. The contents of ROM are not affected by user commands or program operation.
root directory
The main directory on a volume. The root directory is at the top of the filing hierarchy and created when a volume is formatted. The root directory is specified by the volume name followed by a colon.
To write the current version of a file to disk. In many settings requesters the user is given the choices Save, Use and Cancel. Save, in this case, would cause the program to use those settings each time it opens.
An area of the display that shares the same video attributes, such as resolution and palette.
A text file containing a series of commands that can be automatically executed to perform a complex or repetitive task. An example of a script is the Startup-sequence that is executed when the Amiga is booted.
To move through the viewing area of a window.
scroll arrows
Parts of a scroll gadget that can be used to move the viewing area continuously.
scroll bar
The highlighted area within the scroll box that can be dragged to display the hidden contents of a window. It changes its size to indicate the portion of the window that is currently visible.
scroll box
The shaded area within which the scroll bar can be dragged. You can click in the scroll box to move the scroll bar.
scroll gadget
A gadget that may appear in a window to let the user move through the viewing area of a window. A scroll gadget is made up of the scroll bar, scroll box and scroll arrows. Release 2 GadTools
scrolling list
A gadget that allows the user to select an object from a variable list of objects. A scrolling list is made up of a scroll gadget, a view box and a text gadget. Release 2 GadTools
SCSI (Small Computer System Interface)
A standard interface protocol for connecting peripherals, usually mass storage devices, to computer equipment.
To choose an item to work with by pointing to it with the mouse, then pressing and releasing the selection button.
selection button
The left mouse button.
An interface port that transfers data one single bit at a time, contrasted to a parallel interface which sends one complex byte (eight bits) at a time.
To change a bit or flag to its on or enabled state. Opposite of clear.
The command line interface used to send typed commands to the Amiga. One of the three interfaces built into the Amiga.
sizing gadget
A system gadget that allows the user to enlarge or shrink the size of the window.
slider gadget
A gadget that allows the user to select a value by dragging a rectangle up or down in a vertical bar. Release 2 GadTools
slider value
A number that appears next to a slider gadget to indicate the currently selected value.
To save the positions of a window and/or the icons in it.
A device, directory or file that is supplying information.
A special area of RAM reserved by a program for temporary storage.
An AmigaDOS script file, executed when the Amiga is booted, that helps set up the hardware and directory systems.
streaming tape
A high-capacity, mass-storage device that uses a magnetic tape cartridge to hold data; generally used to back up large hard disks.
A piece of text treated as a single unit.
A directory that is within another directory.
A secondary menu that appears when some menu items are highlighted. A menu item that produces a submenu should have the symbol ยป at the far right.
A command keyword that turns an option on or off. If the keyword is typed onto the command line, the option is considered to be on.
The rules for the proper arrangement of commands, keywords and punctuation.
A software function spawned by a process.
text gadget
A rectangular box in which the user can type information such as a filename or command. Release 2 GadTools
3-D look
The technique used by Release 2 of the operating system which uses simulated light and shadow to create the illusion of depth and simultaneously give the user context cues. Release 2 GadTools (provides 3-D gadgets)
title bar
The top border of a screen or window that commonly displays the name of the screen or window. On a draggable window, this is sometimes referred to as the drag bar.
A program that creates, uses or displays data.
Tool Types
A method for passing arguments used by the GUI. Tool Types is a field in the Information window of a project or tool icon where optional parameters can be entered.
A directory for storing files the user wants to delete.
In Release 2 documentation, this term was used instead of enter or key in. Example: Type the macro name in the console.
A number that identifies the edition of a program.
virtual screen
A screen that is larger than the actual display area of the monitor.
A floppy disk or hard disk partition.
volume name
The name given to a disk or partition.
wait pointer
An image that appears in place of the normal pointer when an application is busy and cannot accept further input. The Workbench's image of a stopwatch was not accessible by developers at the time this manual was published.
A symbol used in pattern matching to represent a range of possible values.
A rectangular screen area that can accept [and/]or display information.
The Amiga's icon-based GUI.
To record data in memory or on a storage medium such as disk or tape.
To allow information to be written onto a storage device.
To prevent information from being written onto a storage device.
zoom gadget
A gadget that may appear in the upper right corner of a window which allows the window to alternate between two sizes.
The name for the expansion slot specification used by Amiga computers. Amiga 2000 and 3000 families contain Zorro II and Zorro III slots, respectively.