When you put a group of web developers in a room together and let them start talking about what they’re working on, it can suddenly sound like we’re speaking another language. 

Having worked in web development for my whole career, I’ve seen many people’s eyes glaze over as they get lost in a series of acronyms and tech terms that mean nothing to a non-developer. 

If you’re thinking about having a website built or know you want to update your current website,  I completely understand how all of the jargon might make you hesitate before finally jumping in. That’s why we’ve been translating common web development terms into language non-developers can easily understand.

Here are a few more common terms you might come across when diving into the world of web development:

JavaScript Frameworks:

Think of JavaScript as the language of the web, like the guy who speaks the language everyone understands. Now, imagine you’re building a website, and you want it to do cool things like drag-and-drop images or load a page without hitting refresh. You could code it from scratch every single time, but that’s like reinventing the wheel over and over.

Enter JavaScript frameworks – the handy toolkits like React, Angular, and Vue.js. They’re like a developer’s trusty sidekicks, offering a bunch of pre-built functions. Want to create a menu? No worries, just tell the framework, and it magically appears, adjusting itself for desktop or mobile views. These frameworks save developers from the repetitive task of building common website features from scratch. It’s like having a special toolkit that says, “Oh, you need a menu? Here you go, just focus on the fun stuff, and I’ll handle the boring bits.”

Domain and Hosting:

Picture your website as a camper’s tent, and hosting is the camping space. Hosting provides the land, maybe some water and power hookups – the basics for your online tent to exist. No frills, just a place to set up camp. Now, the domain is your tent’s address. Instead of saying, “My tent is at latitude XYZ, longitude ABC,” you just say, “I’m at Alice Lake, Section 3, Campground 4.” That’s your domain, a friendly name that people can remember, making it easy for them to find you in the vast online camping ground. 

Secure Sockets Layer Certificate (SSL):

In an era where online security is paramount, SSL certificates have become indispensable. An SSL certificate encrypts the communication between a user’s browser and the website, safeguarding sensitive information from potential cyber threats. The presence of an SSL certificate is not only a trust indicator for users but also positively impacts a website’s search engine ranking. Websites with SSL encryption are favoured by search engines, contributing to a secure and reputable online environment.

Content Delivery Network (CDN):

This is like a global team of smart delivery folks for websites. Instead of waiting for a single person to bring you stuff from far away, CDNs have multiple carriers positioned worldwide.

When you want to see website content, the CDN sends them from the closest delivery person. It’s like getting your pizza delivered hot because the delivery guy is just around the corner, not across the city.

In tech terms, this means less waiting time (latency) and quick access to website stuff without it travelling too far. CDNs make websites load faster by bringing you content from nearby servers, ensuring a speedy and reliable online experience worldwide. 

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS):

This is the design language of the web. It dictates how your website looks, defining styles such as layout, colours, and fonts. By separating content from presentation, CSS allows developers to create consistent and aesthetically pleasing user interfaces. 

Agile Methodology:

In the realm of web development, the Agile methodology has gained prominence for its collaborative and iterative approach. Agile emphasizes flexibility, adaptability, and customer feedback throughout the development lifecycle. By breaking down projects into smaller, manageable tasks and incorporating continuous improvement, Agile methodology promotes efficiency and client satisfaction. Agile teams prioritize communication, collaboration, and the delivery of incremental, functional software.

Revision Control System:

A revision control system is a tool used by developers to keep track of the history of changes done to their code and who it was done by. In this manner, new developers can join at a later stage and learn the history of the code and why certain parts of the code were implemented in one way or another. Think of it like a logbook for the repairs done to a car. 


Git, a distributed revision control system, has revolutionized how developers manage and collaborate on code. Created by Linus Torvalds, Git allows multiple developers to work on a project simultaneously without conflicts. Its features, such as branching and merging, empower teams to experiment with new features, track changes, and maintain a cohesive codebase. Git’s decentralized nature ensures data integrity, providing a solid foundation for collaborative development.

I hope these ‘translations’ from web developer-speak into everyday language help demystify the process of building a website for you. If you’re about to embark on a web development project, you’ll want to ensure the developer you work with can help explain the process in a way that you understand. This way, you can leave the coding to the experts but still feel confident that your project is in good hands and is progressing as expected.

If you have questions about any of the terms I explained in this post or if you’re interested in learning more about building or updating a website, book a call with the 14 Oranges team today. We’d love to help.

Sylvain Marcotte is CEO and President of 14 Oranges.

From APIs to SEO: Making Sense of Common Web Development Terms (part 2 of 2)