Written by Caz Houghton
Sep 27, 2016

Glossary of terms

A glossary of terms for beginners to the world of development

Lost whilst onboarding?

Struggling to distinguish between the UI and the UX? Confused as to where to find the toolbar? Wondering whether you need to actually build the wireframe or merely find it on the carousel? Hopefully, this glossary should help you decode some of the jargon.

We've included all the most common abbreviations, words and turns of phrase you may hear during your interactions with Brightec (or elsewhere in the development industry). If you come across something we've missed, let us know so we can explain and it to the list.

The Brightec Glossary

Agile An agile approach to developing means we break down the whole process into smaller features (user stories) which we work on one step at a time, rather than building the entire app at once. We've written a few articles about agile which should explain it a little more.

API (Application Program Interface) This is a code that specifies how software components interact eg. it communicates what the user wants to do (in UI) with the data in the backend, to enable the capability. There will be lots of APIs in one app

App A mobile app is a software application designed for use on mobile devices (such a smartphones and tablets). Unlike a mobile site which is opened in a browser, an app is downloaded and installed on the device

Backend The behind the scenes part of your app. It consists of a server, an application and a database that all have to communicate so the frontend functions work

Cardview A widget for Android which displays a card view layout

Carousel A rotating image banner

Client If we aren’t talking about you, we’ll be meaning the device for which the app is intended eg. iPad, Apple Watch.

CMS (Content Management System) This supports modifications of digital content by different users working on the same project (eg. our developers building your app)

Deep linking A link which takes the user to a specific location within the app

Frontend The bit of the app the user sees, eg. the screen. The user’s actions on the frontend interact with the data hidden in the backend via the API

Lean A lean approach means we keep things simple by working together to continually improve

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) The basic product which has enough features to aid continued development by testing

Native A native app is built on a specific platform which means the developer has access to all the support and functionality of its operating system. In translation this means as much as possible can be achieved when developing the app

Navigation How the user makes their way around the app, guided by a menu button in the Navigation bar

Onboarding The process of getting users to engage with your app

OS (Operating System) The software that enables the app to function e.g. iOS, Android

Parse Server One of the servers we use for developing your app backend

Platform A platform doesn’t directly serve the user but it provides an infrastructure that makes developing the app easier by providing useful data and functions

Push notifications An alert or message that pops up to notify you of an activity within an app

Server This is a program that manages the functionality of the app

SDK (Software Development Kit) A set of tools used to create applications for a specific software, platform or framework

Tab bar Usually this bar is permanently seen at the bottom of the screen. It contains the primary navigation options for an app to enable the user to easily switch between screens

Toolbar The horizontal block at the top of the screen which displays the title of the screen, menu options and any necessary navigation prompts. It lets the user know where they are in the app

UI (User interface) In the instance of an app, this is the device screen. Think of UI design as technical graphic design; the look and feel of your app is tailored specifically to transfer the brand and UX knowledge into an intuitive and responsive app, that looks great too

User story The definition of a function requirement of your app. Read about how we go about writing user stories.

UX (User experience) This type of design requires lots and lots of research and testing to understand how the user will interact with the app. From this, the app journey (or flow) can be developed and tested to enhance usability and enjoyment

Widget A mini app view which in embedded in an app

Wireframe A rough visual representation of what you will see on a screen without textures, colours, typography or graphic

Anything missing?

Let us know if we’ve missed anything or you’re still not sure, we’ll be happy to help!