Web development is the process of creating and building websites or web apps. However, this field often uses confusing jargon that may be difficult for those unfamiliar with it to understand.
Use these terms and their definitions to help you navigate the world of web development like a pro.
Programs designed to carry out specific functions, whether on desktop, mobile, or web platforms, are commonly referred to as applications. Essentially, they are a type of software that enables users to accomplish various tasks.
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Application Program Interface (API)
APIs serve as a means for two programs to communicate, enabling front-end and back-end developers to collaborate. They allow front-end developers to expose specific design components to be utilized by back-end developers.
Also called responsive design, it refers to the method used to ensure that a website’s layout adjusts seamlessly to different device screen sizes, preventing any layout disruptions. It involves creating multiple website layouts tailored to fit various screen sizes, such as desktop, tablet, and other mobile devices.
An attribute refers to a specific characteristic or property that can be assigned to HTML elements. Attributes provide additional information or instructions to modify an element’s behavior, appearance, or functionality. They are used to customize and enhance the behavior and presentation of web content, allowing developers to control various aspects of the elements on a web page.
Back-end refers to the server side of a website or application where data is processed, stored, and retrieved. It includes the infrastructure, databases, and logic that enable the functionality of the front-end and interactions with the user.
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Bootstrap is a popular, free, and open-source frontend framework utilized in website and web app design. Originally developed on Twitter by Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton, Bootstrap brings uniformity to website designs. It is built on HTML and CSS, offering various design templates and elements such as forms, typography, tables, buttons, modals, and more.
These are specific points in website design where the layout adjusts to fit different screen sizes, ensuring an optimal user experience for viewing the website at each size.
The program you use to browse the Internet like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
A bug is an error or flaw in a website or app that disrupts its expected functionality, preventing it from running correctly.
A cache is a temporary data storage system that improves site speed by storing relevant data on your computer during your initial visit to a website. With cache, your computer doesn’t need to reload all the information since it’s already saved, resulting in faster load times.
CTA are buttons or elements on a website that are designed to prompt and drive specific conversions or goals. These actions may include donating, signing up for newsletters, or registering as a user.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
CSS is a coding language that instructs browsers on how to present web pages to users. It is responsible for formatting visual elements such as fonts, colors, and other stylistic components of a website.
CI/CD, short for continuous integration and continuous delivery, is an approach that enables frequent app delivery to customers through the automation of various stages in app development. It addresses challenges related to integrating new code into existing code bases. By implementing CI/CD, development and operations teams can deploy app updates and features faster.
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Cookies are data sent from an Internet server to a browser, and when the browser accesses the same server, it sends the data back. They are used to track the frequency and manner in which the browser interacts with the server.
Crawling is the process where search engines send bots to websites to gather information on existing and non-existing pages, updating their database accordingly. Websites need to be crawled to get indexed by search engines and increase their chances of being discovered.
Debugging is identifying and resolving issues, errors, or bugs in software code or programs. It involves systematically troubleshooting and analyzing the code to find and fix problems that may cause the software to behave unexpectedly or not function as intended.
Deployment is making a website or app publicly accessible after it has been developed and tested. It involves a series of activities that collectively prepare and make a software system available for use.
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Document Object Model (DOM)
The DOM is a language-independent and cross-platform interface utilized in web and app design. It views XML or HTML documents as a hierarchical tree structure, with each node representing an object that represents a specific section of the document. In simple terms, the DOM organizes an HTML or XML document into a logical tree, enabling browsers to render and manipulate its contents.
A domain refers to the web address entered into a browser. It represents the specific location or URL used to access a website.
A favicon, short for “favorite icon,” is the small icon displayed in the website’s browser tab.
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
FCP is a performance metric that gauges the time it takes for a web page to display the initial piece of DOM content after a user visits it. It is a significant metric evaluated by Google to assess web page performance. In terms of DOM content, FCP includes images, non-white <canvas> elements, and SVGs, while iframe content is categorized as non-DOM content. Web developers often consider FCP a key indicator of user experience and page loading efficiency.
Fields are the fundamental components used for data collection on a website. They serve as storage units where visitors can input and submit their personal information, such as names, email addresses, notes, and more.
A framework is a collection of programs and tools used in website or software development that provides a foundation for building websites or apps. It simplifies the development process by offering a centralized collection of solutions, tools, and components.
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Full-stack development refers to the ability to work on both the frontend and backend aspects of web development and the database layer. A full-stack developer possesses a broad understanding and experience in all layers of a technology stack, allowing them to handle various aspects of the development process.
Git is a version control system that enables developers to store and effectively manage their code.
GitHub is a cloud-based platform that serves as an interface for Git, providing additional features like bug tracking, task management, and project wikis.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
A GUI refers to a website’s visual representation and layout, designed for user interaction.
The most widely used method of color-coding is through hex color codes, which indicate the amount of color to be displayed on a screen.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
HTML is a coding language used to construct web pages and determine how they are displayed in internet browsers. It involves using tags, elements, and attributes to structure and present content such as text, images, videos, and links on the web.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
HTTP is a protocol for transmitting data across the internet. It facilitates the exchange of information by enabling data transfer from an HTTP server program to an HTTP client program. HTTP is the primary data transfer protocol employed on the World Wide Web.
The “S” in HTTPS signifies security, indicating that all communication between the browser and the website is encrypted. This secure version of HTTP is used for data transmission between a web browser and the connected website. HTTPS is commonly employed to safeguard sensitive online transactions, such as those involving online banking and shopping, ensuring user data’s confidentiality and security.
Information architecture involves the systematic organization and presentation of intricate information in a clear and logical manner. In the realm of website and app design, it pertains to creating a user-friendly navigation structure.
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Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP is a performance metric that quantifies the duration it takes for the largest content element on a webpage to be displayed on the screen.
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Lighthouse is an automated, open-source tool that tests and enhances web page quality.
A meta tag is a significant HTML tag containing web page information. It plays a crucial role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking as search engines utilize this information to categorize websites and display relevant details in search results.
Minification is reducing the file size by minimizing code and markup. During the development of web apps, developers often use spacing, comments, and variables to enhance code readability. However, these elements also contribute to larger file sizes. To optimize web pages’ performance and loading speed, developers remove unnecessary spaces and comments from the code files, resulting in minified versions that have reduced file sizes.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
MVP is the minimalistic version of a product that can be launched in the market. This approach involves prioritizing the essential core features and functionalities. After the release, developers gather user feedback and gradually enhance the product by adding features based on the received input.
Also called a menu, navigation refers to the links on a website that direct users to different pages. Typically located in the top menu or footer, navigation serves as a means for visitors to access various website sections.
Opening/closing tags are angle brackets (< >) used to enclose an HTML element and define the structure of a webpage. Closing tags include a forward slash (</>).
A plugin is an extension or add-on that enhances the functionality of existing software, such as a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.
In the context of CSS, property means the attributes that define the look and feel of a web page, like fonts and color schemes.
Redirects are automatic forwards from one URL to another, typically used to direct users from an old website URL to the corresponding page on a new website.
Resolution refers to the measurement that determines the size at which an image or graphic can be displayed on a screen.
Responsive design refers to the development approach where a website adjusts and adapts its layout and content based on the user’s behavior and screen size. By utilizing breakpoints and media queries in the CSS file, the website automatically responds to different devices, ensuring optimal display and user experience across various platforms.
SaaS is a method of providing application services through the Internet.
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Servers are computers equipped with software that enables users to access websites and provides hosting for them.
Server-side rendering (SSR)
SSR refers to the capability of an application to convert an HTML file to a fully rendered HTML page on the server and deliver it to the client.
A slider is a rotating carousel of images or cards typically featured on a website’s homepage, showcasing different photos, links, and content.
User Experience (UX)
UX refers to the overall satisfaction and success of a user’s interaction with an interface, such as an app or website.
User Interface (UI)
UI is the visual elements that are incorporated into a website or app, serving as the interface of interaction between the user and the computer.
Widgets are software applications or components designed for various software platforms, offering specific interactive functions on a website.
A wireframe is a visual guide that represents the structure and content of a web page devoid of design elements. It is used to focus on content layout and hierarchy without the distraction of visual design.
WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) is a visual content editor on certain CMS platforms. It enables users to apply text styles, insert graphics, and format content as rich text without the need for HTML knowledge.