The dictionary of web app development

This is a guide with web app development terms and definitions to understand your developers. There are so many definitions and terminology out there that we understand it’s easy to get caught up in. In this guide, we’ll start with the basics so you have an understanding of the most used terminology. We’ll also be updating this list frequently to build an extensive list of web app development terms and definitions.

Anchor text

A text that holds a link that refers to your website. This is most often the name of the company or business owning the website. Ideally, it should be descriptive and relevant.

Picture by MOZ

Picture by MOZ


Application Program Interface. How various applications can cooperate with a set of software components. Communication between computers and applications.


The combination of automatically and magically. Something that has a complex technical process which is hidden from users, so it seems like it’s working by magic.

Back end

The opposite of front end. The part of the website that is hidden for website visitors: information structure, applications and the CMS controlling content on the website. “Behind the scenes”.


Referrals. Links on other websites that refer to your website. Backlinks on high-ranking sites can create better search engine results.

Picture by MOZ, backlinks

Picture by MOZ


Temporary storage. Files that are saved or downloaded by a web browser, so the page loads faster the next time you visit the website.


Content Management System. A backend tool to manage the content of the website. For example Wordpress.

Picture by DomainDignity

Picture by DomainDignity


Customer Relationship Management. The software and applications that gather, analyze and maintain information of customers and prospects.


Cascading Style Sheets. A simplification of a website’s HTML files. The language for describing the presentation of Web pages, including colors, layout, and fonts. It allows the website to be responsive, meaning it scales to different devices and screen sizes.

CSS framework

Cascading Style Sheets framework. A collection of CSS files used to easily and quickly create a website. Usually has to do with typography and layout (design) of the website. Two widely used frameworks are Bootstrap and Foundation.


Call To Action. Buttons on your website that lead to certain conversions like signing up for a newsletter or registering as a user. Getting your users to perform the desired action.

CTA: Schedule a call

CTA: Schedule a call


The name identification of a website. It is associated with an IP address. For example ‘’. An area of territory on the internet owned and controlled by you. In this case, the domain name consists of


Domain Name System. A system and network protocol on the internet that translates Internet domain and host names into IP addresses or the other way around. It’s like a phone book for the internet, only this one can be quickly updated.


Favorite icon. Little, customizable icons displayed in the web address bar next to the web address. They are usually 16x16 pixels, but sometimes 32x32 pixels, 8-bit or 24-bit in color debt and saved as .ico, .gif or .png files. In the example below, it is the Google logo.




The bottom part of a webpage, containing information listed at the bottom of the page. It is treated as its own section of the Web page, separate from the header and content.



Front end

The opposite of back-end. Everything of a website that visitors can see. What the visitors use to access the website’s content. (User Interface).


A free and open source distributed version control system designed for tracking changes in any set of files. Our developers use it mainly for…


A web host is needed to publish a website online. It stores all the pages of your website online and makes them available to computers. You might look at your website like a store. To open a store you need a piece of land. A web host is the provider of that piece of land, hosting you property so people can access your ‘store’ via the internet.


Hyper Text Markup Language. Together with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), they are the most basic building blocks of web coding. Without these two things, you can’t create a website design. HTML is a standardized system to show fonts, colors, graphics, and hyperlinks to web pages.

Landing page

The first page where a visitor enters a website. It serves as the entry point for a website or a particular section.


Data that describes other data; its characteristics and other aspects. It’s essentially information about data, used to summarize basic information about data which can make tracking and working with specific data easier. For example file size, the source of the data or the time and date of creation. Let’s say you have a customer ID, metadata can tell you on which date that person became a customer.

Meta tag

An HTML tag used to include metadata within the header of your website. These are snippets of text that describe a page’s content which does not appear on the page itself but only in the page’s code. For a great article on how metatags impact SEO, click here.


The system that allows visitors to move around the website. Menu and any other links that refer visitors from one page to another.

Open source

The source code of a computer program available to the public, both web-based and desktop applications. The original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. The advantage is that programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly.


A third party code that extends the capabilities of a website. Modules or software that can be added to a system to provide extra functions or features. We’ve created one ourselves to enable iDEAL payments (among other payment forms) on websites that use MINDBODY software. Here you can read how we did this.


Automatic forwards from one URL to another. For example, when you use Bitly to shorten a URL for use in a social media post, that shortened URL redirects to a longer URL.

Responsive design

This suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation. Switching from a laptop to iPad should result in the website automatically adapting to the new device.

Web Server

A program that serves the files that form web pages to users, in response to their requests. The files stored on web servers are read by internet browsers which convert these files into images and text for you to view. Your browser communicates with web servers to bring you information from the internet.


An outline (framework) of all website pages, organized in a hierarchical order.


User interface. The visual content of a website or application. This is the part where an excellent design team makes your website looks visually stunning.


User experience. The interaction of a user with the interface. You know that feeling where you navigate an app or website and you have no idea where to click? Next thing happening is you leaving. That is exactly what a potential customer does as well. That’s why good UX makes sure your website is intuitive and simple to use.


Domain. The full name identification of a website. It is associated with an IP address. For example ‘


Applications for interactive functions on a website.


The plain structure, foundation, of a website, without fonts, colors, content.

That’s it for now! We will keep updating and adding definitions to this list so keep an eye on us.