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Your cheatsheet to website building!!


As you delve into the world of the web developer, the amount of terms and labels you are familiar with will play a crucial role. Too much of what sounds like mumbojumbo can throw one off. After all, even the best secret agents are briefed before a mission. This chapter is aimed at making you, the reader, familiar with the terrain. Consider this a survey highlighting the lay of the land, in case you ever get lost. Treat it like a glossary: if ever you read something and draw a blank, refer back to this chapter and you should be good to go.

The more you know..

Consider the following a compendium of beginners’ essential web terminology, literally anything that has anything to do with websites, in alphabetical order.

Accessibility - This term refers to how easy it is to use a website, across different situations, say, on the various screen sizes of different devices, and for visually or otherwise technologically challenged users. This is an important component of a website emerging from the design choices.

ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is a code that assigns values to symbols and actions (of the keyboard) so that it can be mapped to what is displayed on the screen.

Attribute - Attributes are additional properties that can be specified inside the html tags of an element. They specify information about the element that can be crucial to its functioning, which are given by values following an ‘=’ sign. For example, the href attribute specifies the target address when using the tag, as in Digit Home .

Backend - The backend refers to everything that is server-side, i.e- the database and server-side code that integrates the data from the database into the web pages. For example, everybody’s Facebook profile page will have the same code making up the page, however the backend code returns different content from the database depending on who is logged in.

Backlinks - Backlinks refer to hyperlinks that point back to your website. Increasing the number of backlinks from other websites gives you more traffic, and may also increase your ranking in the search algorithms.

Bandwidth - Building on the metaphor of the internet as interlinked highways, bandwidth is equivalent to the width of the roads. It is the amount of data that can be exchanged in unit time with the web server. Low bandwidth limits the amount of traffic that your website can handle.

Banner - Banners are wide graphics usually found in the top half of the home page, and also sometimes at the bottom, in the footer. They often contain artistically emphasized text, and are meant to be eye-catching. At times, a banner may also be a hyperlinked advertisement.

Binary - Binary is a number system. It has base 2, and two digits, 0 and 1, which are also called bits (binary digits). This is the most basic language which computers understand on a hardware level, represented by on and off states, or high and low states in transistors.

Bounce Rate - The bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors to a website who leave the site (by navigating to another domain) after viewing only one page. In other words, this is the percentage of people whose attention your website probably didn’t grab.

Browser - A browser is the application software that you use to view and interact with websites and web pages. It is your metaphorical surfboard for surfing the internet. When talking about communication with the server, the browser may also be referred to as the ‘client’

CSS - Cascading Style Sheets are the files that control how the content of a page looks. This can be accomplished by specifying the values of appropriate element attributes in the CSS files. CSS can even be used for transitions, to create some cool simple animations.

CMS - CMS stands for Content Management Software. They allow not-so-tech-savvy individuals who want to build their own website to do so easily, and with as less to do with coding as possible. Many CMSs are in fact meta-websites, websites that build websites. For details, see Chapter 6.

Conversion Rate - If your website or landing page has a specific purpose, like getting users to subscribe to your mailing list, the conversion rate refers to the number of users that subscribe divided by the total number of visitors to the page (multiplied by 100% if you like percentages).

Cookies - Cookies are files stored by a website locally on your computer or phone, in the cache of your browser. They record information about your usage of the website and can be very convenient at times. At other times, they can be a breach of privacy.

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September 2016