26 Other Web Development Terms You May Not Have Heard Of

Published on December 12, 2023, filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

Web development comes with literally thousands of terms and concepts. In this new episode of “Web Development Terms You May Not Have Heard Of,” are you familiar with all of them *?

ActionScript
An object-oriented programming language developed by Macromedia (later acquired by Adobe). Though it arose as a sibling, it is now an implementation of ECMAScript, both of which were influenced by the scripting language for HyperCard, HyperTalk. ActionScript is used primarily for the development of websites and software targeting the Adobe Flash Player platform, originally finding use on web pages in the form of embedded SWF files. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Bidirectional isolation
The isolating of text from its surroundings, where 1) the content inside the bidi isolate has no effect on the ordering of the content surrounding it; 2) the content outside the isolate has no effect on the ordering inside the isolate; and 3) the element by itself has the effect of a neutral character. The bdi element in HTML serves bidi isolation. (More information, WebGlossary.info)
Change list
A set of changes made in a single commit. This can also represent a sequential view of the source code, allowing the examination of source as of any particular changelist ID. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
DNS spoofing
A form of computer security hacking in which corrupt Domain Name System data is introduced into the DNS resolver’s cache, causing the name server to return an incorrect result record, e.g., an IP address. This results in traffic being diverted to the attacker’s computer (or any other computer). (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Event-driven architecture
A software architecture paradigm promoting the production, detection, consumption of, and reaction to events. This architectural pattern may be applied by the design and implementation of applications and systems that transmit events among loosely coupled software components and services. An event-driven system typically consists of event emitters (or agents), event consumers (or sinks), and event channels. Building systems around an event-driven architecture simplifies horizontal scalability in distributed computing models and makes them more resilient to failure. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Forward secrecy
A feature of specific key agreement protocols that gives assurances that session keys will not be compromised even if long-term secrets used in the session key exchange are compromised. For HTTPS, the long-term secret is typically the private signing key of the server. The value of forward secrecy is that it protects past communication, yet it also depends on the capabilities of the adversary. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Grapheme
The smallest unit of a writing system of any given language. An individual grapheme may or may not carry meaning by itself, and may or may not correspond to a single phoneme of the spoken language. In other words, a grapheme is a letter or a number (set) of letters that represent a sound (more correctly, phoneme) in a word. Graphemes include alphabetic letters, typographic ligatures, Chinese characters, numerical digits, punctuation marks, and other individual symbols. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Hypervisor
Computer software, firmware, or hardware that creates and runs virtual machines. A computer on which a hypervisor runs one or more virtual machines is called a host machine, and each virtual machine is called a guest machine. The hypervisor presents the guest operating systems with a virtual operating platform and manages the execution of the guest operating systems. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Immediate mode
An API design pattern in computer graphics libraries in which client calls directly cause rendering of graphics objects to the display, or in which the data to describe rendering primitives is inserted frame by frame directly from the client into a command list, without the use of extensive indirection to retained resources (thus immediate). In immediate mode, the scene (a complete object model of the rendering primitives) is retained in the memory space of the client, instead of the graphics library. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
JSON Web Encryption
An IETF standard providing a standardized syntax for the exchange of encrypted data, based on JSON and Base64. It is defined by RFC 7516. Along with JSON Web Signature (JWS), it is one of the two possible formats of a JWT (JSON Web Token). (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
KTLO (keeping the lights on)
An expression referring to keeping IT systems and software running. KTLO work means basic maintenance of such systems and software. (WebGlossary.info)
Linearizability
An attribute of an operation that consists of an ordered list of invocation and response events which may be extended by adding response events so that the extended list can be re-expressed as a sequential history (i.e., is serializable), and that the sequential history is a subset of the original unextended list. Linearizability is important in concurrent systems where objects may be accessed by multiple processes at the same time, and where a programmer needs to be able to reason about the expected results. It was first introduced as a consistency model in 1987 by Maurice Herlihy and Jeannette Wing. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Metadata content
Content that sets up the presentation or behavior of the rest of the content, or that sets up the relationship of a document with other documents, or that conveys other “out of band” information. Metadata content is marked up through the base, link, meta, noscript, script, style, template, and title elements. (Source: HTML, WebGlossary.info)
Naked type
A TypeScript term for a type parameter that is present as is, without being part of another construct (like being wrapped by another type). (WebGlossary.info)
OpenID Connect
An authentication layer on top of the OAuth 2.0 authorization framework. OIDC allows computing clients to verify the identity of an end user based on the authentication performed by an authorization server, as well as to obtain the basic profile information about the end user in an interoperable and REST-like manner. (Source: Wikipedia, more information, WebGlossary.info)
Plane
In the Unicode standard, a continuous group of 65,536 (216) code points. There are 17 planes, identified by the numbers 0 to 16, which corresponds with the possible values 00–10~16~ of the first two positions in six-position hexadecimal format (U+hhhhhh). Plane 0 is the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP), which contains the most commonly used characters. The higher planes 1 through 16 are called supplementary planes. The last code point in Unicode is the last code point in plane 16, U+10FFFF. As of Unicode version 12.1, six of the planes have assigned code points (characters), and four are named. The limit of 17 planes is due to UTF-16, which can encode 220 code points (16 planes) as pairs of words, plus the BMP as a single word. UTF-8 was designed with a much larger limit of 231 (2,147,483,648) code points (32,768 planes), and can encode 221 (2,097,152) code points (32 planes) even under the current limit of 4 bytes. The 17 planes can accommodate 1,114,112 code points. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Quirks mode
A web browser compatibility mode in which layout emulates behavior from Netscape Navigator 4 and Internet Explorer 5. Quirks mode has been essential in order to support websites that were built before the widespread adoption of web standards. (Source: MDN Web Docs, WebGlossary.info)
Recidivism
As an Agile metric, the total number of user stories completed in a sprint that entered development for the second time divided by the total number of completed stories. (WebGlossary.info)
Screen magnifier
Software that interfaces with a computer’s graphical output to present enlarged screen content. By enlarging part (or all) of a screen, people with visual impairments can better see words and images. This type of assistive technology is useful for people with some functional vision; people with visual impairments and little or no functional vision usually use a screen reader. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Transcreation
A concept used in the field of translation studies to describe the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context. A successfully transcreated message evokes the same emotions and carries the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language. Transcreation is related to the concept of localization, which similarly involves comprehensively adapting a translated text for the target audience. Transcreation highlights the translator’s creative role. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Uninitialized variable
A variable that is declared but is not set to a definite known value before it is used. It will have some value, but not a predictable one. As such, an uninitialized variable is a programming error and a common source of bugs in software. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
von Neumann architecture
A computer architecture based on a 1945 description by John von Neumann and others in the First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC. The document features a design architecture for an electronic digital computer with a processing unit with both an arithmetic logic unit and processor registers, a control unit that includes an instruction register and a program counter, memory that stores data and instructions, external mass storage, and input and output mechanisms. The term “von Neumann architecture” has evolved to refer to any stored-program computer in which an instruction fetch and a data operation cannot occur at the same time (since they share a common bus), which is in turn referred to as the von Neumann bottleneck. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Webalizer
A particular web log analysis software generating web pages from access and usage logs. Webalizer is one of the most commonly used web server administration tools. It was released in 1997 by Bradford L. Barrett. Statistics commonly reported by Webalizer include hits, visits, referrers, visitor countries, and the amount of data downloaded. (Source: Wikipedia, more information, WebGlossary.info)
XML Schema Definition
A specification for how to formally describe the elements in an Extensible Markup Language (XML) document. XSD can be used by programmers to verify each piece of item content in a document, and to check if it adheres to the description of the element it is placed in. (Source: Wikipedia, more information, WebGlossary.info)
Year 2000 problem
Anticipated and manifested problems related to the formatting and storage of calendar data for dates beginning in the year 2000, due to programs representing four-digit years with only the final two digits, thereby making the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. The assumption of a twentieth-century date in such programs could cause various errors, such as the incorrect display of dates and the inaccurate ordering of automated dated records or real-time events. Companies and organisations in some countries, but not all, checked, fixed, and upgraded their computer systems to address the anticipated problem. Few computer failures were reported when the clocks rolled over into 2000. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)
Z shell
A Unix shell that can be used as an interactive login shell and as a command interpreter for shell scripting. Zsh is an extended Bourne shell with many improvements, including features of Bash, ksh, and tcsh. (Source: Wikipedia, WebGlossary.info)

The cover of “The Web Development Glossary 3K.”

How many terms did you know? How many were new to you?

Web Development is a great field. If you decide to follow the field’s development through the The Web Development Glossary, you get book updates automatically when obtaining your copy at Google Play Books or Leanpub (other options). Since earlier this year you can also consult WebGlossary.info—the online version of the book which is not as up-to-date, but also continuously updated.

* Some explanations are based on Wikipedia, the MDN Web Docs, or the HTML Living Standard, as noted (licenses). This post is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International).

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!