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Web coding guide for marketers

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

See our quick beginners guide to coding terms that may help you through the jargon often used when working on a website with us.

API (application programming interface)
An API allows one piece of software to interact with another. It defines a set of rules about how the software should interact to get specific information.

For example, if you are pulling data from an open weather data set, the API will tell you how to order your code to display different bits of information such as location, temperature or wind chill.

A small program, often one that runs within a larger program to perform a specific task.

An application is a piece of software that, when accessed by the user, enables the computer to carry out specific instructions. There are both desktop and mobile applications and these are often accessed by the application icon or logo

Bootstrap is the most popular framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web and our choice of framework. It makes front-end web development faster and easier. It's made for all devices of all shapes, and projects of all sizes.

A temporary space for storing information. Examples include memory on a computer processor, or web caches that store previously loaded content including web pages and images – the purpose of which is to speed up run times and load times.

Code library
A bank of prewritten, tried and tested code for programmers to draw from, saving them the time and effort of recreating pages and pages of script.

Computer program
A computer program gives the computer step by step instructions on the activity the user needs it to execute. These instructions are written in code by a software developer.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
You may have heard of dedicated CRM systems such Salesforce or Infusionsoft, however all of our Business Catalyst sites include this as standard. 
It allows your website to capture and store customer details so that you can fully understand who is interacting with your site and lets you update status and other details. It will also allow you to schedule appointments and reminders with your CRM contacts and run targetted email campaigns through the site.

CSS (cascading style sheet)
A programming language that manipulates HTML elements on all webpages on a website, allowing consistent design and styling. For example, it may be written to format background colours and text font styles.

Generally, a debug refers to the process of searching for and removing or amending errors in a program’s source code.

DNS (Domain name servers)
Because domain names are alphabetic, they're easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address.

HTML (hypertext markup language)
HTML is the standard underlying language that shapes the world wide web as we see it. It forms the skeleton of web pages which is then fleshed out by other languages such as CSS and Javascript.

Java is a programming language that can create applications that run in a virtual machine or browser. It is not the same as Javascript.

JavaScript manipulates HTML elements on a webpage to create interactivity, such as window pop ups or changing the colour or size of text changes when you hover your mouse over it.

It does not create applets or stand-alone applications like Java.

An open-source operating system that is available for many hardware platforms. Development teams commonly use this because, among other reasons, it has high interoperability, meaning it will run on Windows and Mac OS X and easily share files between them. Its development tools are free and there is a large community behind it to help.

An app or web page that combines data or functionality from different sources, including APIs.

When an application or script has been developed for use on a particular platform or device. For instance, an app that has been designed specifically for use only on iPhones rather than all operating systems and PCs.

Open source
Software that is developed and released publicly so a community of developers can use it for free, build on it and improve it.

Run time
Run time is a measure of how long it takes a software program to execute its instructions. You’ll want to aim for the shortest run time possible to improve your customer experience.

A sequence of instructions in code (such as HTML, Javascript or CSS) that is carried out by a program rather than the central processing unit (CPU).

The programs and other operating information used by a computer.

Source code
This refers to the code used to create the program or application. Usually the source code is not released to others outside of the developer company unless it is open source.

The set of rules for spelling and grammar for programming. Getting the syntax right is crucial as even the smallest mistake might mean the program won't be able to make sense of the entire script.

Errors of syntax are commonly known as bugs (although they can take many other forms too) and are a prevalent and unavoidable hurdle in the programming world. This is partly why programmers create code libraries of tried and tested code.

Virtual machine
A virtual machine allows the user to run an operating system emulated within another operating system. For example, you may use Windows as your primary operating system but also be able to access Ubuntu OS through your desktop.

Web app
An app that runs on a web browser and is stored on a remote server rather than being stored locally on a user's computer.

Widgets are small programs, such as a calendar, that run on both desktop and mobile. These are primarily written in a combination of HTML, CSS and Javascript, as well as Swift for iOS.


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