A big part of our lives is spent online. We browse through websites to look for information; we scroll through Facebook and Instagram when we’re bored; we even look for job opportunities and new education prospects online. In short, websites have become a crucial part of our lives.

Web development refers to the building and the maintenance of these websites. Web developers use coding languages to create a website. But does it ever happen that you visit a website, and it shows Error 404 on the web page? Or have you overheard people using terms like “CSS,” “301 redirect,” or “CTA,” in their conversation, and you have no idea what they’re talking about?

Turns out, it’s a common problem. Even though we use different websites every day, we’re unfamiliar with the technical jargon associated with web development.

Having knowledge of technical terms can help you understand web development better. For example, if you’re getting a website created for your business, knowing terms and terminologies associated with web development can help you give better inputs, understand the web developer, and work with the site more easily.

Here are some of the commonly used terms in web development:

Error 404 – A user sees this message when the link to the website is either broken or doesn’t exist. It also shows up if the visitor has typed an incorrect URL or when a webpage has been deleted. A 404-error page should ideally inform the visitor about why the page doesn’t exist.

301 redirect – This is a permanent redirect from an old website to the new one. Often, a business might want to redirect traffic from the old web pages to more updated versions.

API – Application Program Interface or API enables how different computers, apps, and programs interact and communicate with each other. For example, the Facebook API enables another application like Facebook Messenger to connect with it.

Application – Applications or apps are software programs designed to perform different functions and tasks, ranging from setting an alarm to reading and typing documents.

Attribute – Attributes are additional information about elements like the width and height of an image in the design of the website.

Algorithm – An algorithm refers to a programming solution to a problem. Just like an instruction manual, it’s a set of steps to perform certain tasks. When web developers create an algorithm, they document all the key steps they had taken to solve a problem and what each of these steps involved.

ALT Tag – Sometimes when we visit a webpage, a text is displayed inside the image placeholder. This text is called an alternate descriptive text tag, or ALT tag. It’s displayed when the web page is loading. It plays an important role in web accessibility and SEO rankings.

Agile – Agile web development refers to a way of working. It’s a mindset with which the project is approached. It involves streamlining the project in a way that more time is spent on tasks that add value to the project instead of spending time on less important tasks. In an agile team, web developers work in weekly or biweekly sprints. Using this approach enables the team to achieve the same goals in much less time.

Bug – A bug is an error on the website or app that stops it from running in the way it should.

Browser – Browsers are programs like Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox that you use to access the internet.

Back End – The tasks that take place behind the scenes or on the server-side of the process of web development come under the back end. Back-end development has four main components: the server, the database, the operating system, and the software.

Cache – This is a temporary storage space for data that helps increase the speed of the website. This is done by storing important data on the computer whenever the user visits a website for the first time. The next time the user visits the same website, the browser will recover the relevant data from the cache instead of the original server. This helps a webpage load more quickly. The cache must be cleared from time to time when changes are made to the website.

Call to Action (CTA) – A CTA is a certain text, image, or button on a website that urges the user to take an action. For example, “Sign up”, “Learn more”, and “Buy now” all prompt the customer to take a specific next step.

Cookies – Every time a browser accesses the same server, it tracks certain information. Cookies are the data on your computer that are saved by the browser that you use. They contain information like the parts of the site you visited, your preferences, and the frequency of your visits to the site. Advertisers use cookies to aim specific advertisements to you because your cookies tell them your interests.

Content Management Systems (CMS) – These are programs or software systems that are used to create, maintain, and edit your website’s content. Some popular CMSs are WordPress and Drupal. Using a CMS doesn’t require technical knowledge of coding. They are usually used by non-developers.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – CSS is a markup language used to design the visual elements of a site. Those elements could include the text color, fonts, styles, images, menus, buttons, background, shape, and size of different parts of the page. CSS is used with HTML, another markup language. HTML determines the content and structure of the webpage, and CSS is used to style the content.

Domain Name – The domain is the website name that you enter in the  browser to visit that website.

Debugging – This is the process of identifying issues or “bugs” and fixing the problem.

Favicon – Short for Favorite Icon, this is a visual graphic that’s used as a website icon, shortcut icon, and bookmark icon. A website displays this icon in the browser tab.

Front End – The front end is the side of the website that the end-user sees. User interaction with the website happens on the front end.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) – This is a visual method that uses elements like windows, icons, buttons, and menus to interact with a computer.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) – HTTP is used to transfer data between a browser and a website.

Information Architecture (IA) – IA refers to the practice of organizing complex data in a logical and easy-to-understand manner so that it’s easy for the user to navigate the website. The navigation, metadata, categorizations, hierarchies, and site maps are a part of Information architecture.

Meta Tag – Used by search engines to index a website, this is an HTML tag that stores data like the description, author, and copyright of a webpage. It’s important for SEO rankings.

Navigation – Visitors use navigational elements like the menu bar and text-based links to navigate to different parts of a website. Easy navigation is an important part of user experience.

Registrar – This is the company that you use to register domains. Examples of registrars include GoDaddy and Network Solutions.

Responsive Design – Since we visit websites on multiple devices like our mobile phones and tablets along with traditional desktops, responsive design is used to design websites so that they automatically adjust their display according to the device and screen size.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is the process of growing traffic on a website by increasing its ranking in search results. Your website should have information like tags, ALT tags, and meta descriptions that will help the search engine understand your website information.

User Interface (UI) – The interactive elements of a website or app, like the screen, touchscreen, sounds, and keyboard, make up the UI. A user uses these elements to interact with the website.

User Experience (UX) – Similar to UI, UX refers to the experience a user has while using a website or application.

Wireframe – This is the basic skeletal structure or the blueprint of a website. It helps the web developers understand the outline of a website, which includes elements like the page layout, content arrangement, and interface elements. It also helps them decide how these elements will work together.

What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) – This is the visual content editor inside a Content Management System that allows the user to see how the content will appear on the front end. You don’t need to know HTML or coding to change the content on your website if you use WYSIWYG.

Now that you’re familiar with some important web development terms, you can further expand your understanding by delving deeper into web development careers. And if you’re interested in working as a web developer long-term, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know before making the leap to become a software engineer.



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