All That We Do

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Web Development Dictionary

Have you ever been sandwiched between two Web Developers as they talk about programmes they’ve been using, how to avoid interruptive formats, create microsites and list reels of algorithms? If you have been anywhere near this sort of conversation and have no background in the Web Development field, this jargon can be very exhaustive.
To get clued up on some of the technical terms around web development we have provided a glossary of terms in our Web Development Dictionary:


AJAX is an acronym for Asynchronous Javascript and XML. It’s a method to utilize the abilities of Javascript, the Document Object Model, and XML to create interactivity on the web.

The set of ‘rules’ a search engine may use to determine the relevance of a web page (and therefore ranking) in its organic search results. See also organic search results and Search Engine Optimisation

Alt text
The alt attribute is used to provide text which can be displayed as an alternative to an image or embedded object on a web page. Alt text is read when the image or embedded object is not usable by the user agent.

A picture or cartoon used to represent an individual in chat forums, games or on a website as a help function.

A web server program which is widely used across the internet. The Apache server is Open Source Software, which has greatly helped to spread the use of the server program.

Backlinks is a term that refers existing hyperlinks from other websites to your own. Backlinks are also known as: Inbound links, inlinks and incoming links.


A bookmarklet is a piece of Javascript which is embedded in a browser bookmark and can be used as a shortcut to perform a wide variety of complex tasks.


The process of establishing a single URL as the location of a web document. Ensuring that although you may be able to arrive to a page via multiple paths or addresses, there is only one final address which will be resolved by the server.

Client side
Client side means an action which is performed by the browser on the computer being used to access a web page.


CMS stands for Content Management System. A CMS is a software application designed to store, manage, and format web information. Common CMS applications include blog software like WordPress.


A cookie is a small text file sent to a web user’s computer by a website. A cookie can be used to identify that user to the website on their next visit.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. This is a document format which provides a set of style rules which can then be incorporated in an XHTML or HTML document.

The ability of any feature to be found in the context in which it’s needed.

The Document Object Model is a representation of the structure of a web document which provides a means for scripts such as Javascript to manipulate the content and layout of the page.

Graphical User Interface
A graphical user interface is the visible aspect of a website or program which allows a visual user agent to interact with the site.

HyperText Markup Language is a language used to structure content on a website. Although the HTML specification contains the means to significantly impact the appearance of the page, HTML should be used exclusively for structure, with CSS used to format the page.


A term commonly understood as encompassing the ongoing development of an updated HTML and related new functionality.

Information Architecture
Covers the navigation structure, organization, and labeling of information.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous scripting language on the web, Javascript is a client side programming language which can be used with almost all user agents.

Open Source

Open source software is a licensing model for software which gives free access to the source code of the software to allow interested parties to modify or contribute to the software as they see fit. Commonly created as collaborative projects and shared at no cost.

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a popular general-purpose server side scripting language which can be embedded into HTML to create a wide variety of mini-applications, but can also be used to build large-scale complex applications.

Rich Media
Refers to advanced internet technology involving interactivity, animation, or other special effects.

Variously defined as RDF [Resource Description Framework] Site Summary (a composite acronym), Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary, RSS is an XML format for sharing web content to other programs or web sites.

Search Engine Friendly

A "Search Engine Friendly" web site has taken steps to ensure that no barriers to search engines are blocking access for web crawlers to web content. An accessible web site will always be search engine friendly, although optimization is a separate function.

Tabindex is an HTML attribute which defines the sequence in which anchor links should be followed when using the keyboard "tab" key to navigate a page. Can be problematic unless you have defined a logical order for every focusable item on a page. Without tabindex specified, links will automatically be followed in the order they appear in the page code.

Uniform Resource Indicator or Uniform Resource Locator is a web address.

A correlative to accessibility, usability is the principle that information or applications should not only be possible to access, but should also be easy to understand and use.

User agent
User agent is the generic term used to describe any device which might access a web page.

Web Accessibility

The principle that all web users should have access to information available on the internet.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a set of guidelines intended to help web content authors prepare their content for use by people with disabilities.

XHTML (Extensible HyperText Markup Language) is a combination of XML and HTML which provides developers with a language which uses the HTML specifications within the constraints of the XML format.

XML, or Extensible Markup Language, is a generic format intended for maximum flexibility to provide information in a wide variety of structural formats.