Like any industry, Web development has its own lexicon of terms and acronyms. Working with the Web everyday, our team passes these words around the office all day. It's only when we talk to friends and family about these things that we're reminded the majority of people have no clue what we're talking about.
Image by rooneyjohn.
In the company of friends, this might not be a big deal; but when it comes to our clients, it's a bit of a different story. Generally our clients are not Web experts -- if they were, they wouldn't need us. When conversing with them about their project, we may use terminology that is so familiar to us, we fail to realize that the client is probably not familiar with the term. This can sometimes lead to the client being confused or misled, which doesn't benefit anyone.
Has this happened to you? I would love to hear comments on how others have noticed or addressed this issue themselves. I'm thinking of posting a glossary on the site -- a CP to English dictionary, if you will. Here's what I've come up with so far. Suggestions for additions? Leave a comment.
Analytics - Generally speaking, analytics refers to the traffic statistics for your site. More often than not, though, we're using Analytics with a capital "A," that is, Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free offering from Google that compiles useful information about the traffic that comes to your site, including where they came from, how long they stayed, what pages they looked at, even where they are located geographically. It's truly a marketer's dream.
PPC - This stands for Pay Per Click, a popular method of online advertising offered by Google AdWords and other ad servers. As the name states, you pay when and only when your ad is clicked; the cost for each click varies, but is determined by the 'value' of the keyword for which your ad appears.
Sandbox - We often tell our clients that our engineers 'play' in sandboxes. Sometimes I wonder exactly what they're envisioning when we say this. Sandbox is our term for a copy of a website on our servers that we can make changes to without affecting the actual site. This is how we develop and test new functionality, working out any bugs before we launch it.
Social Media - The term social media describes user-generated content on the Web, and the technologies people use to create and publish that content. Blogs, forum discussions, or any other content that people use to express their thoughts, feelings, or experiences on the Web falls within the definition of social media.
Content Management System - A CMS is a software that manages content; in our case, on a website. The biggest benefit of a CMS is that they make it easy for users to add, edit, remove, and distribute content. This content could be blogs, images, videos, podcasts, or all of the above. Drupal is a popular content management system, WordPress and eZ Publish are two others.
Open Source - Stated simply, open source software is software for which the source code is made freely available to anyone interested. Why do we like open source? There is a financial savings, certainly, but we have other, better reasons than that one. We firmly beleive that open source software has the potential to be much better than propietary solutions. Open source projects that develop a large community of followers (like Drupal!) are tested and continually improved by some the best minds in the business. What more could you ask for?
Drupal - Drupal is an open source, Web content management system. Drupal is highly customizable, and much of the functionality that our clients want can be easily added with the addition of the appropriate modules. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Drupal allows us to efficiently add features such as blogging, forums, polls, and other common functionality to your site, leaving us ample time to customize the site to your specific needs.