Glossary

Click one of the letters below to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.

a

Agile

A development methodology involving incremental development and testing, and processes known as scrums and sprints – rather than scoping the whole of a project at the outset - setting broad objectives and progressing by a series of iterations.

Acceptance

The process by which software, after testing, is signed off by a customer as acceptable.

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b

Bespoke

In the context of software, code which is written specifically and exclusively for a single customer rather than being part of a general product set.

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c

Copyright

An intellectual property right in creative work – writing, music, film, computer code – this applies by virtue of its creation rather than registration, and in most cases lasts for 70 years from the end of the year in which the work is created.

Copyleft

A concept which can apply to open source software, where the opposite of copyright applies - ownership is relinquished and anyone may use code provided that the same freedom from proprietary rights apply.

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d

Design Right

An intellectual property in design – the aesthetic rather than functional look of an object. Design rights can be registered or unregistered.

Deliverable

An item of development which a supplier has contracted to deliver to a customer.

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e

Escrow

The process whereby material – usually source code – is placed with a trusted third party by a software developer so that it would be available for a customer to maintain the code in the event of the failure of the developer.

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i

Intellectual Property Rights

A wide range of rights – mainly patents, copyright, trade marks, design rights and database rights – which can have substantial value and provide the key components particularly of design led and digital businesses.

IPO

The Intellectual Property office, which maintains registers of trade marks, patents, and designs, and which allows for those registrations. Each country has its own equivalent office, as does the European Union, because most Intellectual Property Rights are national unless registered internationally.

Information Commissioner

The official responsible for monitoring and enforcing data protection legislation in the UK.

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n

NCC

The National Computing Centre – on Oxford Road in Manchester, one of the principal escrow agents in the UK (and internationally).

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o

Open source

Software created on the basis that the source code can be freely distributed and used.

Object code

Also known as machine code, or binary code – the ones and noughts into which source code is translated, or complied, so as to be readable by computers.

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p

Patents

An intellectual property rights in innovative items capable of industrial manufacture – this does not apply to software code as such, or business or mathematical models. Patents are a monopoly right which have to be registered and which last for 20 years.

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s

Source code

The human readable code in which software is written – and which can therefore be readily copied. Other than for Open source software, this is where the proprietary core lies.

Safe Harbor

The concept by which personal data, protected under European law, can exceptional y be processed in the United States by businesses which sigh up to the European privacy principle.

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t

Trade mark

An intellectual property right in a mark – which can be registered or unregistered; typically a word or group of words, a logo, and sometimes a slogan, a sound or even a shape or colour. Trade Marks can be registered for initial periods of 10 years and for successive periods after that.

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w

Waterfall

The traditional software scoping process where the objective is closely scoped at the outset, and intended to be followed; this is said to have a high failure rate because both sides change what they wants as they go along, leading to project and scope creep.

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