The Web Development Glossary (More Than 2,000 Key Terms for Developers)

Post from April 7, 2020 (↻ December 10, 2022), filed under (feed).

If you want to learn or master Web Development, perhaps you’ll enjoy the most comprehensive glossary the field may have to offer.

I would recommend this not just for developers, but for anyone working in a software development team because everyone in the team needs to be aware of the concepts. This will help come up with better solutions and follow best practices.

…say readers at Reedsy.

Format Ebook (EPUB and PDF)
Price $11.99 (minimum $9.99)
Preview Select chapters (PDF, 451 KB)
Length 340 pages (PDF)
Sellers Apple Books
Google Play Books
License CC BY-SA 4.0 (Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)
Latest Version 1.4.41 (2022)

The cover of “The Web Development Glossary.”

Web Development is a large field. It takes a lot of time, practice, and discipline to master even part of it. Web Development is so large that many abstractions are being used, with design frameworks, HTML/CSS frameworks, JavaScript frameworks, and DevOps tooling making it possible to write complex applications without understanding the mechanics. This has always been like that—only the abstractions have changed from WYSIWYG editors to the “one size fits all” frameworks we’re surrounded by now.

The situation it presents us with is as interesting as it is challenging, for while it has traditionally been easy to become a web developer, it has also been hard—requiring much studying, practicing, and learning—to become a good web developer. Nowadays, with Web Development consisting of many subdisciplines—HTML and CSS and their optimizations, JavaScript, accessibility, security, performance, code maintainability and quality, internationalization and localization and much more—it may even be impossible to become a good web developer, that is, a good web developer in all the subdisciplines.

These are observations, however, and no judgment: It’s a quality of the field to wield so much power, to have so much depth, and still be so inviting. And inviting it really is, for there are many ways to enter Web Development. There are tons of introductions, tutorials, how-tos, and articles, fora and communities, courses and classes and videos and webinars and anything anyone with any learning preference could ever need.

What has been missing, however, is a comprehensive glossary. Not an index of different HTML elements and CSS properties and JavaScript methods, but a glossary of all the major, the key terms used. In Web Development, but also the relevant neighboring fields. The Web Development Glossary is filling this void: a living book that maps the entire landscape, that helps define and explain it.

If you don’t know me, I’m Jens, and I’m a web developer of 21 years experience who loves and hates (but mostly loves) the field. What I love are its power and all the possibilities it gives us, as well as the challenges of its never-ending depth and complexity. That’s why at the end of last year, I started working on The Web Development Glossary. I collected a few hundred terms. I reached 800 swiftly. Then 1,000. 1,600. 1,900. And now, for release, almost 2,000. Almost 2,000 explanations, some drawing from my own knowledge and research, a good part from the MDN Web Docs, and a great number from Wikipedia, which then meant a great investment to check, normalize, and improve, leading to a slightly better MDN Web Docs Glossary, a slightly better Wikipedia, and a certainly better (and just as generously licensed) glossary.

It was a lot of work to prepare, it will require more work to update and grow, but it’s finally available, so please enjoy: The Web Development Glossary.


The Web Development Glossary is probably the largest of its kind. With more than 2,000 terms and explanations it acquaints and reunites you with the major standards and concepts of the Web, with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, accessibility, security, performance, code quality, internationalization, localization, editors and tooling and more.

The glossary then goes beyond web development, touching on computer science, design, typography, usability and user experience, information as well as project management, other disciplines of interest and relevance to the modern developer. It goes beyond, inspiring the curiosity to learn more about the Web and the people creating and using it. And still it is a glossary, of a couple of thousand terms for developers, leaning on (and giving back to) Wikipedia and the MDN Web Docs.

→ This is the book if you choose to extend and validate your web and software development knowledge.

EPUB and PDF, with updates, at Leanpub.

❧ I thank Wikipedia, the MDN Web Docs, and all their contributors for the great foundation they have laid that made it a lot more efficient to build the glossary. I then thank Gabriele Kretzschmar for review of the manuscript, and Ganesh Subramanian and Yaroslav Kiyenko for advice on book details. This has been a very special project for me, one which I now hope contributes to making the field, the field of Web Development, a tiny little more accessible.

Please have a look and check out the first edition of The Web Development Glossary!

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on I share some of my views and experiences.

If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!