30 web development terms we wish everyone knew in 2024

Picture this: You’re in a meeting with clients about a web development project, buzzing with updates and progress reviews. 

You’re dropping words like ‘PHP,’ plugins, and meta tags’ like they’re hot. Then you glance across the table and see your clients’ faces twisting into expressions of pure, unadulterated confusion. 

GIF Source: Giphy

Yeah, that’s the look. 😵‍ 

You didn’t mean to turn their brains into alphabet soup, but let’s face it– those tech terms are the best way to describe what you do.

If only your clients could speak fluent ‘dev geek’…

Well, today’s their lucky day, and yours too! Because you’ve stumbled upon this little gem of an article, that’s decoded all the web development terms your clients ought to know. 

So grab a comfy seat, and let’s get this show on the road!

Table of contents

Term #1: 404

You know that awkward moment when you dial a wrong number and a stranger picks up? Or worse, you get an automated voice telling you that the number doesn’t exist? 

That’s the digital equivalent of a 404 error. It’s the internet’s way of telling you that the web page you’re looking for is playing hide-and-seek (AKA, it no  longer exists in the site’s database). 

But a good 404 page doesn’t just leave you hanging. It’s like a tour guide that points you back to the homepage or another part of the site, making sure you don’t wander off.

It should serve two purposes: communicate that a page is non-existent and give users a compelling call-to-action (cta).

Just like this 404 page from Wood Street Journal:

Screenshot of a 404 page from Wood Street Journal.
Image Source: Wood Street

Term #2: 301 redirect

Sounds like a fancy college course, doesn’t it? 

But in the land of website development, a 301 redirect is like a change of address card for a URL. It’s what happens when a URL moves permanently to a new home. 

It’s like Google Maps for search engine crawlers, ensuring they can find content after links change. 

Term #3: API

API, short for application programming interface, is like a digital middleman where the API helps a ‘giving software’ communicate and interact with a recipient. 

When API comes up in web development, it’s usually about connecting two different tools for a purpose. Developers can also use APIs to build tools and widgets using the code from the ‘giving software’ to simplify users’ interactions with the receiving tool. Think of it as the reason you can sign into multiple services with your Google account.

Term #4: Cacheable

We’ve all seen the word ‘cache’ pop up now and then. It’s like a little storage box in your computer that saves data temporarily. 

When something is cacheable, it means a web resource like a webpage can be stored and retrieved from this box.

Put somewhat simply, it’s being able to store resources close to the web user on their browser or server to limit the number of requests made to the original server. This way, the website’s content is delivered more quickly to the user when they request it.

It’s like borrowing a book from the library.

You don’t have to go back to the library every time you want to read the book. It’s right there in your backpack (or, in this case, original web server), ready whenever you need it.

Term #5: Buffer

Ever been to a buffet where they keep the food warm under hot lamps for who knows how long? 

A buffer is sort of like that, but for data. 

It’s a temporary storage spot that holds data while it’s being transferred from one part of a system to another. This helps speed things up by reducing delays and making data handling more efficient.

Term #6: Alt tag

You know those texts that appear within an image placeholder while a web page is loading? 

That’s alt tag or alternative descriptive text if you prefer. To provide you with a visual representation, here’s a screenshot of what alt tags look like:

A screenshot showing what alt tags look like.
Image Source: Unsplash

Simply put, alt tag represents the textual information of an image and they can help:

  • Improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) ranking.
  • Make it accessible to visually impaired people.

Term #7: Bootstrap

Think of bootstrap as a working-man’s toolkit specifically designed for web development. It offers a collection of customizable templates you can wield to transform static visuals into functional, responsive designs.

Bootstrap is a developer’s work buddy, helping them save time and effort when building web applications. 

You get to leverage pre-made codes, eliminating the need to write them from scratch. 

Picture Canva with several design templates but this time, for codes.

It’s an ideal addition to your tech stack if you’re still learning the ropes of web development. 

You won’t have to bore yourself with coding languages like hypertext markup language (HTML) or even cascading style sheets (CSS).

For a start at least.

Term #8: MySQL

Wondering how to handle data storage and retrieval for your sites or web apps? 

MySQL is your go-to technology! 

To help you understand better, let’s circle back to the library analogy. 

In this scenario, MySQL is a university library filled with all kinds of books that can be retrieved whenever they’re needed. 

Like a library, this management system helps in creating, editing, and querying databases so you can store and retrieve data for your web development projects

Basically, MySQL is the system of choice for developers  who want an easy way to manage the back-end development of their projects.

Term #9: Agile

Agile is one of the trending words in the tech world. Everywhere you turn, there’s some ‘agile something’ popping up. 

But, what does it really mean?

Agile. Yep, that word again. It’s like the tech world’s version of ‘fetch’ – and it’s definitely happening.

GIF Source: Giphy

But what does it actually mean in the land of web development?

Here, the term ‘agile’ is simply a fancier and more direct approach to building websites.

Now you’re probably wondering if there used to be a different approach to building websites. You probably know the answer to that question!

Once upon a time, we had the ‘waterfall model.’ During this approach, the client says ‘jump,’ and the web development team says ‘how high?’ They build the site, dust their hands off, and it’s done. 

End of story.

Agile development, on the other hand, follows an iterative and flexible way of building a site. 

It’s more like a choose-your-own-adventure book. It splices the development process into small, manageable tasks known as ‘sprints’ and keeps evolving based on user feedback.

In a nutshell, Agile is web development’s answer to the Rolling Stones – it’s the continuous process of developing and deploying websites while adding upgrades as needed.

Term #10: Code splitting

Picture this: You’re working on the patio in your backyard. You’ure using a jam-packed toolbox filled with every tool you could ever dream of. 

That’s a good thing, right? But then you realize you’ve got to haul that hefty thing around and rummage through it every time you need something. 

That’s a workout you didn’t sign up for.

Now, imagine having a super helpful assistant who hands you just the right tool at the right moment. 

Welcome to the world of code splitting!

Much like your handy assistant, code splitting gives your web page a break from trying to lift the entire code all at once. It’s like having a buffet where you only load up your plate with the goodies you’re going to eat right then and there. This means less stuff to download and faster load times (AKA the building blocks of a happy user experience).

With code splitting, your web pages aren’t trying to gobble everything up in one go. They take it slow, loading additional code chunks as needed while users navigate. 

Think of it as the smarter way to buffet. 😋

Term #11: Attribute

In the web dev world, they are also known as  additional pieces of information that can be added to HTML elements.

Attributes are the unsung heroes behind every satisfying browser experience. They act as special instructors to browsers, telling them exactly how visual elements should appear on your website.

These digital wizards don’t just control how things look. They’ve got their hands on everything from accessibility to functionality to controlling how elements behave in your site’s ecosystem!

In the buzzing hive of web development, they’re akin to those sly notes we used to pass around in class. But instead of nudging Stacy to circle “yes” or “no” about her feelings for you, these are additional snippets of information that you can sneak into HTML elements.

So, the next time you see a website absolutely killing it, remember: there’s probably an attribute (or ten) working their magic behind the scenes.

Term #12: Bug

Not the creepy crawlies that make your camping trips … interesting. This one’s a critter of the digital kind.

GIF Source: Giphy

Bugs are errors that mess with your website or app by stopping it from functioning as it should. Developers are always on the hunt for bugs, which can slip through the net during initial testing.

Bugs are behind those broken links, wonky data displays, or features refusing to work right. Pesky little things, aren’t they?

Term #13: Debugging

Bugs just love raining on a dev’s parade. Luckily, debugging is devs’ secret weapon against them. It’s basically the developer’s version of a bug zapper. ⚡

The developer finds the problem, rolls up their sleeves, and gets to work squashing that bug. Once they’re done, they test the site to make sure the bug’s not just playing dead. 

Term #14: Domain name

Ever heard of domain names? 

Sure you have! 

Think of them as personalized internet addresses that guide users to someone’s virtual doorstep. 

A domain includes the web address and a generic top-level domain (like .com or .org). Together, they create the string you type into web browsers like Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Put simply, a domain name is a website’s ID. For example, the domain name for the site you’re browsing right now is MarkUp.io. 😉

Term #15: CMS

Think of a content management system (CMS) as the backstage crew of your website. 

It lets you 

  • Easily tweak and edit your website content.
  • Add images with your personal flair.
  • Publish content directly to your website.

Ever wonder how blogs magically appear on websites? That’s the work of a CMS, like WordPress.

The best part? You don’t need to be a tech whiz to use it. All you need is access to the site’s backend and you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll with your written content.

Term #16: Cookies

Who doesn’t love those sweet little treats? 🍪

But, alas, we’re not talking about sugar cookies. Instead, we’re referring to internet cookies – those little pop-ups that show up when you visit a site, nudging you to accept them.

While they’re not as tasty as the cookie you’re picturing, they’re still pretty important. 

They’re little text files that a website creates and stores on your PC or mobile devices while you’re browsing. Sometimes, they might even take up permanent residence on your hard drive. 

So, what’s their function?

Cookies are basically how a website remembers you. They keep track of your journey on the site so they can become familiar with what you like. They’re also the reason you don’t have to enter the same data on a site every time you visit.

Overall, virtual cookies help improve your experience on the site. Trust us, they’re a sweet deal.

Term #17: Git

Git is a magical (not literally) open-source virtual vault where developers can stash their codes. 

Every time they tweak their project, Git snaps a pic and jots down the changes. This way, they can go back to see an earlier version of their code. 

It’s kinda like Google Docs for code, keeping track of the project even when you’re not around.

But wait, there’s more! Git also functions as a collaboration tool, letting other pros contribute to a project without tripping over each other’s codes. 

It’s like a well-choreographed dance, but for coding! 💃

Term #18: GitHub

GitHub is like the penthouse suite for Git, the system we’ve just explored. It’s a digital ‘special place’ where source codes hang out.

Imagine Git’s version control, but with some extra party guests – bug tracking, project wikis, and task management.

In a nutshell, GitHub is the ultimate hotspot for developers seeking open-source code repositories. It’s like an open-source code library where they can peek at the work of their peers or mentors and pick up some neat tricks.

Term #19: Hex

For fans of spooky movies, the term ‘hex’ might ring some alarm bells. But fear not! In the world of web development, hex is our friend. 🤝

Hex is a popular color code system, where each hue is represented by a unique combo of numbers and letters. A hex code is a six-character blend of numbers (0-9) and letters (A-F).

Each character signifies a portion of red, green, and blue. When mixed together, they create a rainbow of colors. Think of it as a color recipe, like #FC2310.

You’ve likely bumped into this when whipping up custom colors for your web development projects. 

See, no scary charms here – just color magic!

Term #20: Redirects

Ever typed a domain name into your browser, all set to land on the website’s homepage, but you ended up somewhere totally different? 

You’ve just encountered the magic of redirects! Here’s when they really shine:

  • When a website has packed up and moved to a new location, redirects are like the signposts guiding you to the right place.
  • When dealing with outdated or expired content, redirects whisk you away to the updated info.
  • When there’s a shiny new version of a site waiting to be explored.

Redirects are your personal tour guide. They automatically steer your browser to the new URL, ensuring your user experience is as smooth as butter. So next time you’re redirected, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Term #21: WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG might sound like some sort of secret handshake, but it’s not (pinky promise). It stands for “What You See is What You Get,” and it’s a handy little editor tucked within a CMS that helps you tweak your content.

Fancy changing styles? Adjusting fonts? Or dabbling in graphic design? WYSIWYG is your go-to tool. The real beauty of this editor is its honesty – what you craft inside it is exactly what you’ll see when it’s published. It’s like the mirror image of your creativity!

Term #22: DNS

What if, instead of typing Facebook.com into your browser, you had to remember and input a string of numbers every time you wanted to visit the site? 

Sounds like a nightmare.

Fortunately, every domain name has an IP address (like that’s designed for machines to read. While we humans find it easier to remember a website name, computers prefer these numerical addresses.

But don’t worry, you won’t need to memorize any numbers, and that’s all thanks to the hero of the story – DNS.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is like the internet’s phonebook. It stores all the domain names and knows their corresponding IP addresses. So when you type in a domain name, DNS does a quick translation into the numerical address. This way, your device knows exactly where to find the server and load the website for you. 

It’s a seamless behind-the-scenes operation for a stress-free browsing experience.

Term #23: GUI

Ever heard of GUI? It stands for Graphical User Interface, and makes your digital interactions a breeze.

GUI is a handy collection of visual goodies – think symbols, icons, menus, windows, and buttons. These snazzy visual elements make browsing the internet and using electronic devices, well, fun.

Just picture how dull things would be without these icons, menus, or other visual elements. It’d be like a party without music. But thanks to GUI, the digital world is a much more vibrant and accessible place for all of us.

Term #24: jQuery

jQuery is a developer’s best buddy, always ready to lend a hand with code writing.

This digital cheat sheet offers a whole library of pre-written JavaScript code that developers can tap into for their web development projects. And before you ask, yes, JavaScript is the programming language that brings interactive elements to life.

But there’s more to jQuery than just code writing. It’s a multitasker that can help developers:

  • Whip up some snazzy animations.
  • Tackle user interactions.
  • Sprinkle in some interactive elements.

So, it’s not just about writing code, it’s about bringing it to life in the most interactive and dynamic way possible!

Term #25: DevOps

DevOps is the dynamic duo of the web development world. It’s where the development and operations teams join forces, all with one mission: to build software that runs as smoothly as a well-oiled machine.

On one side, you have the devs, crafting code like artisans. On the other, you have the operations team, keeping a close eye on the server side, making sure the website runs like a dream. Together, they’re an unstoppable force in the realm of web development!

Term #26: Minification

You know how a garden looks all tidy and Insta-worthy after a good weeding session? 

That’s the vibe minification brings to code.

Minification is like a digital pruning process. It trims away all the excess in your code, leaving it leaner, meaner, and more compact.

That means it zaps out all the unnecessary spaces, surplus characters, and comments in a site’s code. The result? A code that’s sleeker, lighter, and quicker to load. It’s all about making your code the best it can be, without any of the fluff!

Term #27: XML

Think of XML, or Extensible Markup Language, as the digital interpreter for computer systems. It’s like the United Nations of the digital world. It uses tags to label and organize data, making it easier for different systems to chat and share info.

But XML isn’t a one-trick pony. Here’s what else it can do:

  • It’s a storage locker and courier for data.
  • It offers a neat way to stash self-describing data.

See, XML isn’t just about structuring data. It’s about making sure it’s understood, wherever it goes!

Term #28: Algorithm

When you hear a developer drop the word ‘algorithm,’ imagine that they’re talking about the digital recipe they’ll use solve a problem. It’s a step-by-step set of instructions for performing a specific task.

But, creating an algorithm isn’t just about listing steps. It’s got to have:

  • Precision: Each step should be as well-defined as a line in a blueprint.
  • Uniqueness: Every step’s result should be unique – no copycats allowed!
  • Finiteness: The algorithm needs to know when to take a bow and exit the stage.
  • Input: The instructions that fuel the algorithm.
  • Output: The end result, the ‘ta-da!’ moment when the instructions have done their job.

An algorithm isn’t just a set of instructions. It’s a meticulously crafted guide that knows exactly where it’s going and how to get there.

Term #29: SSL

Think of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) as the internet’s top-notch bodyguard for your data. 

It’s a security protocol that stands guard over the info you share between your browser and any website.

How do you know if a site has this super-secure SSL badge? Easy! Just look for “hypertext transfer protocol secure” (HTTPS) in the browser’s URL and a little padlock icon. If they’re there, you’re in safe hands. 

Term #30: Information architecture

Ever heard of architecture in web development? No, we’re not talking about building skyscrapers. We’re referring to Information Architecture (IA), the art of organizing information in a clear and logical manner, suitable for all screen sizes.

In plain English, it’s all about structuring a website so it’s a breeze for users to navigate. The development team is all about making sure everything – from wireframes, metadata, and sitemaps to simple website design – is neatly organized.

So, who wears the architect’s hat in this scenario? 

Well, in the web development world, web designers and developers step into the shoes of information architects. They’re the masterminds behind your favorite websites’ seamless and intuitive structure!


And just like that, we’ve reached the end of our web dev term journey. Give yourself a round of applause for hanging in there! 👏

But wait, don’t dash off just yet. We’ve got some good news to share before you go.

Curtains down

Got a hankering for more web development knowledge? Well, you’re in luck!

MarkUp.io’s blog has an endless buffet of useful resources. Swing by today to level up your web dev lingo, transforming those baffling dev chats into friendly banter. But why stop there?

How about adding a snazzy new tool to your arsenal?

Enter MarkUp.io – your virtual roundtable for feedback, brainstorming, and making your workflow feel like a breeze.

Ready to kick your collaboration up a notch? Sign up for a free trial and take it for a whirl! Trust us, it’s a game-changer.