Web Developer Jargon You Should Know

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  • Web developers use technical jargon in their day-to-day work.
  • Mastering web development jargon can take time.
  • Those just starting out in tech should try to become familiar with web development terms.

Just entering the tech world and wondering what web developer jargon you should know? Even for established tech professionals, mastering web development terminology can take some time. Web developers regularly use terms such as 301 redirect, data structure, and propagation. Knowing web developer jargon can help you better navigate the tech world when just starting out.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 2 million professionals worked as software developers, web developers, quality assurance analysts and testers, and digital designers in 2020. All of these professionals use technical jargon in their daily work.

Web developers and professionals in similar roles must communicate with clients and colleagues in the process of creating and maintaining websites. Get to know the terms used in web development to ensure that you can communicate with your team. Below, you can find some of the most commonly used web developer jargon.

Glossary of Web Development Terms

In the tech industry, professionals use the web development terms listed below on a daily basis.

  • 301 Redirect: Implementing a 301 HTTP status code redirect sends traffic to a new URL. Web developers implement 301 redirects for numerous reasons, including when websites move to a new domain, to protect alternative domains, and when a URL undergoes redesign. Implementing a 301 redirect prevents people from being rerouted to a 404 page, which tells the user that the page they're looking for cannot be found.
  • Agile: Web developers and designers often use the Agile project management methodology to develop software. The 2001 Agile Manifesto outlines Agile's set of values and principles that emphasize collaboration and responding quickly to change.
  • API: Devices and applications communicate by using application programming interfaces (APIs). Essentially, APIs serve as a messenger by taking a request to the system and then relaying it back to the user or software that made the request. People use APIs when they make an online order or send a message using a web application.
  • Cache: A cache works as data storage to enable websites and apps to process faster. A cache temporarily stores data to allow for quicker future access. Web developers use caches on the client side and server side to prevent delays and save money. Types of caches include site caches, browser caches, server caches, and micro caches.
  • CSS: Web developers often use HTML and cascading style sheets (CSS) to create websites, along with other programming languages like JavaScript. CSS determines the visual elements on a website, including fonts, layouts, object positioning, and colors.
  • Data Structure: Computers store, organize, and retrieve data elements using data structures. Web developers need data structures to solve algorithms. Data structures like arrays, linked lists, stacks, trees, and queues help computers retrieve stored series of values.
  • Deployment: Software and web developers use the term deployment to refer to the stage in a development process before a website or app goes live. Before deployment, web developers plan and code. In the deployment stage, web developers and users test and monitor a site or app. Deployment also occurs when updates and changes are made to a website's code.
  • DNS: A domain name system (DNS) allows users to search for a domain name and use URLs in internet browsers rather than having to type in a server's IP address.
  • Favicon: When users log on to a website they see the favicon, an image that represents the website's brand. The favicon appears by the website name or by the browser's address bar. The placement of the favicon allows users to find a web page when they have many tabs open or locate a site in their bookmarks bar.
  • Framework: Developers use different front-end and back-end web frameworks to save time in creating websites and apps. Each framework comes with preset tools and resources that give web developers a structure to build an application or website. Examples of frameworks include React, Express, Ruby on Rails, and Angular.
  • HTML: Scientist and academic Tim Berners-Lee developed hypertext markup language (HTML) in 1990. Web pages use HTML to tell browsers how to organize text, images, and tables. HTML consists of markup tags that classify elements. The hypertext allows users to click on what they see on webpages.
  • Minification: Web developers use minification to improve performance with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Minification reduces download times by minimizing code. It can also lower bandwidth costs for businesses. The minification process removes all unnecessary code from a code file without having to use compression. Web frameworks automatically implement minification before an application is deployed.
  • Open Source: Web developers can use, tweak, and redistribute open source software products and tools which copyright holders make available to the public. Common open source products include web browsers Mozilla Firefox and Chromium.
  • PHP: Web developers can use hypertext preprocessor (PHP), an open source scripted programming language, for free when creating server-side web pages and apps. Originally called personal home page, PHP works across many platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS servers.
  • Propagation: In web development, propagation means spreading a website's information on the internet. When a website moves to a new web hosting service, the registrar will direct users to the updated domain name. Propagation can take minutes or up to two days, depending on the network and internet provider.
  • Schema Markup: Schema markup boosts a website's search engine optimization. Web developers add schema markup, or microdata, to HTML to improve a web page's standing in the search engine results. Adding schema markup creates rich snippets that improve the visibility of websites in the search results.
  • Server-Side Scripting: Websites that need user login data often use server-side script. Web servers process server-side code when users request information. This technique allows web developers to run scripts on a web server. Popular server-side scripting languages include Java, Python, and Ruby.
  • SSL: Secure sockets layer (SSL) offers an encrypted security protocol to protect internet or network communications between two devices. SSL protects data transmissions, ensures users connect to the correct server, and protects data integrity. Users know a website has a SSL when a padlock appears near the URL.
  • Text Editor: Text editors help web developers write and edit HTML and CSS code for websites and programs. Most computers come with a text editor. Web developers can use open source text editors like Atom for free. Other text editors, like Sublime, charge licensing fees.
  • Widget: Widgets function independently of the host webpage. Web developers can incorporate these self-contained blocks of code into a website without altering the site's features. Web developers use widgets, also called HTML embeds and plug-ins, to add features to their website and improve functionality. Widgets include contact forms, social media icons, and live chat popups.

Frequently Asked Questions About Web Developer Jargon

What is a slider?

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Developers refer to slideshows on websites as sliders. Developers may use them to call attention to important content and save space. Sliders typically display products or photos in a rotating galley on the homepage. Visitors can interact with sliders and toggle to different images to navigate a website.

How much overlap does web development have with web design?

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Web developers handle the performance and functionality of a website. They write, edit, and test the code that allows a website to work.

Web designers work on the appearance of a website. Designers choose fronts, colors, and create storyboards and wireframes. They may also handle the user interface and user experience design. The two occupations overlap in some ways, especially among front-end web developers who write the code that determines how a website looks.

Do I need to understand SEO terminology as a web developer?

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Yes. Web developers should understand the basics of SEO to optimize a website and be able to communicate with clients. The importance of SEO depends on the company. Not every business relies on web traffic from search engines.

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Portrait of Brian Nichols

Brian Nichols

Born and raised in upstate New York, Brian Nichols began his IT education through a vocational high school where he focused on computer science, IT fundamentals, and networking. Brian then went to his local community college, where he received his associate of science in computer information science. He then received his bachelor of science in applied networking and system administration from a private college. Brian now lives in Kansas City, where he works full-time as a DevOps engineer. Brian is also a part-time instructor in cybersecurity. He's passionate about cybersecurity and helping students succeed.

Brian Nichols is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.