30 Acronyms All Web Developers Should Know

The jargon of the web development industry contains so many acronyms we are using day in and day out, that it’s not only daunting for novices, but sometimes also hard for practicing developers to follow. Most of us safely use more common acronyms such as HTML, CSS, or HTTP, but what about the less widely used or newer ones?

In this glossary, we have collected 30 acronyms that are frequently used in today’s web development articles and discussions in order to help our readers keep up with the contemporary industry lingo.


Accessible Rich Internet Applications: sometimes also used as WAI-ARIA.

Web standards published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The ARIA specification defines different front-end methodologies that make web content accessible for disabled people who access the web with assistive technologies (AT), such as screen readers.


Atomic Cascading Style Sheets: a CSS writing methodology developed by Yahoo.

ACSS is based on reusable, single-purpose (Atomic) classes and short, predictable class names that make it possible to style directly the HTML. Atomizer is a tool that can help generate Atomic classes for web projects.

3. AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages: a mobile web standard initiated by Google with the purpose of making mobile sites faster.

AMP restricts how we can use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in order to improve performance, and it provides us with Components we can use to load external resources and run scripts via the AMP runtime.

4. API

Application Programming Interface: a set of pre-written code features (properties, methods, classes, etc.) specified by the publisher of the API, that help us use best practices and write consistent code.

We can choose from many web APIs, but social media and technology sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google also publish their own APIs.

5. BEM

Block, Element, Modifier: a naming convention for writing readable, consistent, and maintainable CSS classes.

When using the BEM methodology, we create classes throughout the whole project that follows the block__element--modifier syntax.

  • Blocks are the names of standalone entities, such as menu or button.
  • Elements are different parts or functionalities of the blocks, such as success or alert.
  • Modifiers change the style of blocks, such as large or small. For instance, .button__alert--large would be a valid BEM class name.

6. CDN

Content Delivery Network: a network of distributed servers that store duplicate copies of our web content.

CDNs allow us to deliver content to each user from a server that is closer to their location or less overloaded. This way we can achieve better performance and reduce server downtime.

7. CMS

Content Management System: a software that allows us to publish, modify, and organize different kind of digital content.

Most CMSs are used for web publishing, such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. CMSs separate content from presentation and functionality, therefore make it possible to manage web content without any coding knowledge.

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Create, Read, Update, Delete: a term used in database management, it contains the four basic functions of a persistent database.

In SQL, the four related commands are: INSERT (for Create), SELECT (for Read), UPDATE (for Update), and DELETE (for Delete).

CRUD functions describe the typical data life cycle on dynamic websites.


Cascading Style Sheets Object Model: a set of APIs used by browsers to properly render CSS styles on a web page.

The CSSOM represents all CSS styles (selectors and their properties) on a web page as a map of nodes. CSSOM has a similar tree structure to DOM, but it’s a separate data model.

10. CTA

Call-To-Action: a marketing term frequently used in web design.

A CTA is a message directed to users or prospective customers to take an immediate action. In web design, CTAs are usually dressed-up links that aim to entice users to click a button, banner, advertisement, etc.

11. DOM

Document Object Model: an API for HTML and XML documents, used by browsers to render these documents.

The DOM specifies the logical structure of a document, and represents it as a node tree in which nodes are objects that represent different parts of the document. Nodes can be created, modified, and removed.

12. ECMAScript (ES)

European Computer Manufacturers Association Script: a scripting language specification on which the syntax of JavaScript – along with JScript and ActionScript – is based.

ECMAScript got its name from the European Computer Manufacturers Association, the organization that standardized it.

13. FOSS

Free and Open-Source Software: a software that is free in the sense that it doesn’t have any constraints on copyrights, and open-source in the sense that anyone can access and modify the source code of the software.

Sometimes also referred to as FLOSS. See GNU‘s stance on the FOSS vs. FLOSS terminology.

14. FTU

First Time Use: the first time a user loads a software after installation.

FTU is a crucial part of the app adoption process. User retention rates can be improved if user onboarding is properly designed. During FTU we can show how an app works, or make users set important options (time zone, language, preferences, etc.).

15. GUI

Graphical User Interface: a type of user interface, as opposed to command-driven interfaces.

A GUI makes it possible for users without technical knowledge to interact with a software without learning command languages, such as MS-DOS. GUIs use graphical icons and a visual language to enable users to give commands to the application, and to take inputs.

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16. IDE

Integrated Development Environment: Aa software application that provides us with a programming environment that integrates different tools needed for development & testing, such as a source code editor, build automation tools, a compiler or interpreter, and a debugger. Xcode, Eclipse, and Visual Studio are examples of IDEs.

17. IIFE

Immediately Invoked Function Expression: a popular JavaScript design pattern that creates a lexical scope.

An IIFE is a function expression that is executed immediately after it’s evaluated. It can be used for storing code that needs to be executed only once, namespacing, and creating private variables and closures.

An IIFE uses the following syntax:

    // code


Inverted Triangle Cascading Style Sheets: a scalable CSS architecture for reusable CSS code.

ITCSS splits CSS properties into levels based on their specifity and importance. The levels are represented as an inverted triangle in which specifity increases from the flat top to the tip at the bottom.

19. JSON

JavaScript Object Notation: a language-independent, human-readable data format for interchanging data.

JSON can store objects as collections of name-value pairs, and arrays as ordered collections of values. Its syntax is similar to JavaScript’s, that’s why it’s the most common data format in JavaScript-based applications.

20. LAMP

Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl: a popular web stack for creating dynamic websites.

The LAMP stack consists of Linux as operating system, Apache as web server, MySQL as database management software, and PHP, Perl or Python as scripting language. Its Windows variant is called WAMP, while its OS X variant is MAMP.


Left To Right / Right To Left: terms used in internationalization

LTR and RTL are locale properties of the language or country settings of a UI. LTR stands for Left To Right, RTL stands for Right to Left. They indicate the direction of the text.

Most languages are LTR and interfaces are usually designed for them, but you can easily add RTL support to most CMSs, such as to WordPress with the rtl.css file.

22. MEAN

MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js: a JavaScript-only web stack for creating dynamic websites and web applications.

The MEAN stack consists of the MongoDB NoSQL database, the Express.js web application framework, the Angular.js frontend framework, and the Node JavaScript runtime, and it runs on any operating system.

23. MVC

Model-View-Controller: An architectural pattern used in object-oriented programming.

The MVC pattern keeps the data logic separate from the user interface by grouping objects into three groups: Model Objects for the underlying data structure and logic, View Objects for the user interface, and Controller Objects for acting as intermediary between other objects and for task coordination.

24. OAuth

Open Authentication: An open protocol that makes secure authorization possible in a safe and standardized way.

OAuth is frequently used as a method for enabling users to log in to a site using third-party services, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google – this way removing the barrier of registration.

25. OOP

Object-Oriented Programming: A programming paradigm as opposed to procedural programming.

In OOP, we create models similar to the real-world environment by making use of four major principles: abstraction, encapsulation, inheritance & polymorphism. At the centre of OOP, there are objects that hold encapsulated data in the form of properties and methods.


Regular Expression: A text pattern used for matching character combinations in different strings.

Regex makes it possible to easily search certain sequences of characters in a text, and to validate user input. Regex is part of many popular programming languages, such as JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, and others.

27. REST

Representational State Transfer: A set of software design architectural guidelines for data transmission between client and server. Following the principles of the REST architecture, we can create RESTful APIs for our web applications.

28. SCM

Source Control Management: a system for managing multiple versions of the same document, application, code, or other kind of information. Also called version or revision control management.

SCM makes it possible to keep track of changes, and prevent information loss. The most popular SCM systems are Git and SVN.


Scalable and Modular Architecture for Cascading Style Sheets: A CSS writing methodology that allows us to modularize CSS code, and make it more readable and maintainable.

SMACSS defines 5 types of style rules (base, layout, module, state, theme), and identifies them with different selector prefixes.


What You See Is What You Get: A type of content editor that allows users to edit text, images, and other content types without writing any markup.

In a WYSIWYG editor, users can see how the end result will look like while they create the content. The post editor interface of WordPress and most blogging platforms are good examples of WYSIWYG systems.