The Web Development Words You Need to Know

Posted on in Blog

When it comes to website development, there are a lot of terms that get thrown around. If you’re new to the field, it can be pretty daunting trying to keep up with all the lingo.

Whether you’re a new developer, a content marketer who just wants to understand what the heck your colleagues are talking about, or a client who wants to make sure your agency knows its stuff, we’ve put together a glossary of some of the most commonly used web development words.

So, without further ado, here’s our web development glossary:

ADA compliance: When it comes to web development, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance refers to making sure that website content is accessible to everyone regardless of any disability they may have. This can be accomplished through a variety of means, such as using alternate text for images, providing transcripts for audio/video content, and ensuring that navigation is easy to use for those with impaired vision or mobility.

AJAX: AJAX stands for asynchronous JavaScript and XML. AJAX allows web pages to be updated asynchronously by exchanging data with a web server behind the scenes. It updates parts of the website without having to reload the page.

API: An application programming interface. APIs enable multiple sources of data to exchange information with one another.

Back-end web development: This deals with everything that happens behind the scenes of a website or app. This includes things like database management and server administration. The back-end developer needs to make sure that all of the data is stored securely and efficiently. They also need to ensure that the website can handle a large amount of traffic without crashing. Back-end developers are also in charge of how your website, app or game interacts with the database and performs actions based on the result.

Cookies: Cookies are essentially little pieces of data that a web server can store on a user’s computer. They can be used to track user activity on a website or to save login information so that the user doesn’t have to enter it every time they visit the site. Cookies can also be used to target ads, by collecting data about what websites users visit and then using that data to create targeted ads.

Content management system (CMS): A content management system is a software application that enables you to create and manage the content of your website. A CMS typically provides a user interface (UI) that allows you to easily add, edit and delete content from your website. It also often provides tools for managing the layout and design of your website, as well as features for publishing your content online.

Continuous deployment (CD): Continuous deployment is a software development practice in which code changes are automatically deployed to production without the need for manual testing or approval. This means that every time a developer makes a change, it’s immediately reflected in the live site.

Continuous integration (CI): Continuous integration is the practice of merging all code changes that are made to a project into a single source branch as often as possible. This allows developers to detect and fix problems with their code early on, before they have a chance to cause too much damage.

Core web vitals:  Core web vitals are a set of specific benchmarks that search engines consider important for the most optimized experience for the user visiting the site. Speed, interactivity and visual stability are all key components of the best user experience. Having good core web vitals gives your website user a pleasant experience; search engines will also promote your website over competitors’ websites with poor core web vitals.

Learn to thrive after the Google Page Experience Update

CSS: CSS stands for cascading style sheets. It’s a style sheet language used for describing the look and feel of a document written in HTML or XML.

Database: A collection of data that can be accessed by computers. Websites use databases to store information such as user accounts, blog posts and comments.

DOM: The DOM, or document object model, is a tree-like structure that represents the HTML document. It enables web developers to manipulate the document’s structure, style and content.

Domain: A domain is a unique identifier for a website. It allows web developers to create virtual spaces on the internet where they can host their content. Domains are typically registered with a domain name registrar, which provides a centralized way to manage them. Domains can be thought of as the address of a website, and they’re used to direct users to specific content. For example, when you type “” into your web browser, you’re telling the browser to go to that website’s domain.

Front-end web development: Front-end developers practice responsive development techniques that ensure the website or web app looks great on all devices, regardless of screen size. Everything you see, interact with and engage with is built by front-end developers using three primary languages: HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Full stack web development: a term used to describe developers who are proficient in both front-end and back-end development. These developers are rare and highly sought after!

Hosting: Hosting refers to the process of making a website accessible to users on the internet. This involves providing servers that can store and deliver web pages and associated content (such as images, videos and other media files) to visitors. Web hosting providers also typically offer additional services such as email hosting, domain name registration, website security and more.

HTML: HTML stands for hypertext markup language. It’s a markup language used for creating web documents.

JavaScript: JavaScript is a programming language that enables web developers to create interactive web applications.

jQuery: jQuery is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to use JavaScript on websites.

Nameserver: A nameserver is a computer server that stores the Domain Name System (DNS) database and answers DNS queries from computers on the internet. When you type a domain name into your web browser, your computer sends a DNS query to a nameserver, which returns the IP address of the web server hosting the website.

PHP: PHP is a server-side scripting language used for creating dynamic web pages.

Production environment: Many developers refer to the production environment as the live website. These developers will use their local environment to do work, then they will push that work to a staging environment (which is a replica of the live site and where their peer-reviewed new code lives). When features or updates are completed, the developers will then push the code to the production environment / live site.

Staging environment: A staging environment is an exact replica of your live website, except it’s on a separate server (or computers) and it’s used for testing before you launch changes to your live website.

Version control: Version control is a system that allows you to keep track of changes to a software project. In the context of web development, it can be used to keep track of changes to your website’s code. For example, if you make a change to your site’s CSS file, you can use version control to revert back to an earlier version of the file if necessary. There are many different version control systems available, but the most popular one for web development is Git. Git is a free and open-source system that’s widely used by developers around the world.

Web server: A computer that hosts websites and makes them accessible to computers connected to the Internet.

WordPress: WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that enables you to create a website or blog from scratch or improve an existing website. WordPress powers nearly one-third of the internet because it’s reliable, easy to use and provides hundreds of customizable themes and plugins to give websites virtually any look or functionality.

See surprising examples of WordPress websites.

XML: XML stands for extensible markup language. It’s a markup language similar to HTML, but with stricter rules.

If you’re just starting out in web development or want to understand more about what your colleagues do, don’t worry about memorizing all these terms just yet. You’ll learn them as you go along. Just focus on understanding the basics for now, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a web development pro (or at least a much better pretend pro).

If you’re interested in learning more about our website development services, reach out to us today.

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