If you are new to the world of web development, then you might be confused by all of the terms floating around, and the seemingly endless list of acronyms, shortened words, and codes you need to know to be an effective developer. As web development has increased, so have the number of terms you need to know in order to keep up with the rapid change occuring in the world of technology.
This list is in no way comprehensive, but it is a good place to start learning.
1: DNS records:
DNS refers to the Domain Name System, and it is basically the “address” for a website. It is used to correlate the website domain to the IP address of the server on which it is hosted. This allows the records to fetch the IP address of a site, and sends you there. The DNS records pair the IP address to the domain name, so the users do not have to remember the numeric line. DNS records store all of this information. They hold the domain name and IP address of every site on the internet. There are 5 common types of DNS records: A Record, CNAME, MX entry, TXT Records, and AAAA Records. You can modify the type of DNS record at your domain registration.
- An A Record points domain names to IP addresses. The “A” stands for address. This is the simplest version of the DNS. An A record system allows users to type a domain name and get pointed to the IP address.
- CNAME (Canonical name) redirects domains to other domains, which allows you to update one A record every time you change your information. CNAME allows you to call to a domain name without typing “www” every time.
- MX Entry stands for “mail exchanger entry”. This DNS record is specific to email. It directs email to a different server, even if it is a subdomain.
- TXT records are the catch-all types. They are not used to direct traffic, but provide information to external sources.
- AAAA records is the same as an A Record, but allows you to point your domain to an IPv6 address rather than an IPv4 (IPv6 being the more modern iteration of the IP system).
Even if you are using a system like WordPress or WebFlow for your site development, it is very likely you have come across the term HTML. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is considered the common language of the web. It is how the designer tells your browser to treat a piece of content. It contains a number of tags that allow designers to mark up their content with semantic meaning. This allows paragraphs to identify as text, images as images, etc. HTML is standard for describing the internet. It may seem silly to define this term in 2020, but going back to basics is important, especially if you are a new developer. Even though other systems of development and code have since been implemented, HTML still remains at the core of web development.
HTML is only the beginning of creating web pages. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) provide methods for designers to create visual “rules” that determine how the elements of a web page will show up on a screen. This allows the color of text and images, size, as well as their shape, position, and other features to be set in stone. This tool is used as a more dynamic addition to HTML, as it allows users to create uniform looks across the pages of a website. The user can define common styles for multiple pages in one CSS document. Once the style for the page is defined, it can be used in any page that references the CSS file. CSS gives developers additional control over the appearance of their website that was not previously available with HTML.
5: Semantic Markup
This is an approach to coding in HTML. It is used to describe content and provide metadata about the content. If there is information relevant to the main content of the page, but not the subject of the page, it will be marked as being <aside> to show that it is not crucial to the page information. Semantic markup helps give clearer meaning to the content between the tags in HTML. One thing to keep in mind with semantic markup is that it requires the HTML elements be used according to their designated purpose. It also requires that content and presentation are separate. This form of coding was developed in response to the limited number of HTML tags in the early days of the Internet.
SaaS means “Software as a Service.” It refers to any service that provides a software platform, delivered via the cloud. This includes Google docs, Microsoft office online, or Photoshop Express. These services are very similar to the desktop services provided from installing software, but are available on the web, and do not require downloading software.
According to this article from 101domain, URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is as simple as it sounds: a uniform way to find and type a web address. There are many different parts that make up a URL. For example, in https://www.twitter.com, there are 4 parts to the URL: protocol, which is “https://,” the subdomain, or the “www” portion of the address, and the term, which is “twitter”. Finally, there is the top level domain, which is the .COM portion of the address. All of these features come together to make a URL.
ARIA stands for Accessible Rich Internet Application. This refers to the idea that web applications are used by a wide variety of people, who all need differing levels of assistive technology and layout. ARIA describes the technologies used to bridge the gap between user needs and a website or application. This can refer to screen-reading software, various layout approaches, and different user-focused interface designs. These are all designed to help the user access the website more easily.
9: Protocol: HTTP versus HTTPS
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. The protocol is the way the information is shared between user and website. The difference between HTTPS and HTTP comes down to website security. HTTPS indicates that the site has an SSL certificate, and can operate using secure encryption methods, unlike HTTP, which does not guarantee user security while browsing or shopping.
10: Information architecture.
Information architecture (IA) is a generic term, and it is used to describe the semantic layout of content and information on a site. It refers to how the site is organized, where pages go in the site’s structure, and how content is stored on the page. It also refers to how the pages interact with each other on the site. The main purpose of IA is to make websites user friendly, as it allows them to find the information they are looking for. The goal of IA is to increase conversion, revenue, and user satisfaction.