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A specially written PHP callback whose parameters are configured through the web is, in Drupal terminology, an action.

A Drupal action is a specially written PHP function whose parameters are configured through the web. For example, the Send Email action has parameters Recipient, Subject, and Message. You could fill in [email protected] for the recipient, Hi for the subject, and Hello, Joe for the message to create an instance of the Send Email action. This action instance could then be fired by a module at appropriate times when you want Joe to get an email. For example, every time Joe's underling edits a node.