Glossary of geekery

We try to keep things jargon-free at Bookswarm, but occasionally the geek speak creeps in. Below you’ll find a list of terms that might be useful:

A/B testing

A/B testing is a way of working by which two routes are created and tested to establish which is the best to use as part of the final product.


The ability of a website to be used by people with disabilities.


Agile’ is a project management methodology, typically used in software development. It helps teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences, known as sprints.


Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML and is used for creating dynamic web apps allowing for asynchronous data retrieval without having to reload the page – in other words, information can change on the page without the user needing to reload the page. Good examples would be Google Maps and GMail.


Stands for ‘Application Program Interface’. An API is a set of commands, functions, and protocols which programmers can use when building software for a specific operating system. APIs are often used to enable different computer systems to ‘talk’ to another.


The Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier assigned by and its partners for product-identification within the organization. In the case of a physical book, the ASIN is the 10-digit ISBN. For eBooks and audiobooks, it’s generated by Amazon.


The back end of a website is the part hidden from view of regular website visitors. In the case of WordPress it’s another way of referring to the Dashboard.


Browser, or web browser, is the software used to view websites. Common web browsers include Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.


A ‘bug’ is a coding error in a computer program. The process of finding and fixing bugs is called Debugging.


A Content Management System is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organising, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. WordPress is an example of a CMS.

Creative brief

A creative brief is a document created through initial meetings, interviews, readings and discussions between a client and designer before any work begins.


Stands for “Cascading Style Sheet.” Cascading style sheets are used to format the layout of Web pages. They can be used to define text styles, table sizes, and other aspects of Web pages that previously could only be defined in a page’s HTML.


Short for Domain Name Service. The system which translates domain names in to IP addresses. When you type a domain name in to your browser, DNS is used to identify the correct web server and point your browser to it.


An icon associated with a particular website, typically displayed in the address bar of a browser accessing the site or next to the site name in a user’s list of bookmarks.


Opposite of ‘back-end’. The front end of a website is the part visible to your users.


Abbreviation of ‘File Transfer Protocol’ – a common means of uploading and downloading files to web hosting.


The General Data Protection Regulation – see our White Paper on the subject.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.


Hypertext Markup Language is the set of markup symbols or codes inserted in a file intended for display on a World Wide Web browser page.

Infinite scroll

Infinite scroll is a feature that loads the next set of posts automatically when visitors approach the bottom of the home page or posts page. It’s designed to help visitors read through many posts without effort.


JavaScript is used to program the behaviour of web pages.


jQuery is a user interface library for JavaScript. It provides interactions, widgets, effects, and theming for creating richer websites and applications.

Parallax scrolling

Parallax is a technique in web design, where background images scroll slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth in a 2D scene.


PHP or hypertext preprocessor is defined as an HTML-embedded scripting language that is used to write web pages. WordPress is written in PHP.


Pay per click (PPC), also called cost per click, is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner or a host of website) when the ad is clicked. It is defined simply as “the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked.”

Responsive design

Responsive design is an approach to web page creation that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading style sheet media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build web pages that detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.

Social media

Is websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.


The standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. Commonly required for e-commerce sites.


Abbreviation for user interface.


An address that identifies a particular page or file on the Internet, usually consisting of the protocol, as http, followed by the domain name.

User story

A user story is a tool used in Agile software development to capture a description of a software feature from an end-user perspective. The user story describes the type of user, what they want and why.


Abbreviation for User Experience. User Experience is: “All the aspects of how people use an interactive product: the way it feels in their hands, how well they understand how it works, how they feel about it while they’re using it, how well it serves their purposes, and how well it fits into the entire context in which they are using it.” – Alben (1996).


The online tool Bookswarm use to create wireframes.

Web analytics

Web analytics is the process of analyzing the behavior of visitors to a Web site.

Web hosting

In order to publish a website online, you need a Web host. The Web host stores all the pages of your website and makes them available to computers connected to the Internet.


A wireframe is a two-dimensional illustration of a page’s interface that specifically focuses on space allocation and prioritization of content, functionalities available, and intended behaviors. For these reasons, wireframes typically do not include any styling, colour, or graphics.


Popular WordPress plugin that provides e-commerce functionality. Visit the WooCommerce site

WordPress plugin

WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to to extend and expand the functionality of a WordPress site.

Many are listed in the Plugin Directory, but many commercial plugins can be found on sites like Envato.

WordPress theme

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a website or blog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying WordPress software.