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Jens Oliver Meiert
Jens Oliver Meiert

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

The Web Development Glossary, My New Book Covering About 2,000 Key Terms for Developers

If you want to learn or master Web Development, perhaps you’ll enjoy the most comprehensive glossary the field may have to offer.

Web Development is a large field. It takes a lot of time, practice, and discipline to master even part of it. Web Development is so large that many abstractions are being used, with design frameworks, HTML/CSS frameworks, JavaScript frameworks, and DevOps tooling making it possible to write complex applications without understanding the mechanics. This has always been like that—only the abstractions have changed from WYSIWYG editors to the “one size fits all” frameworks we’re surrounded by now.

The cover of “The Web Development Glossary.”

The situation it presents us with is as interesting as it is challenging, for while it has traditionally been easy to become a web developer, it has also been hard—requiring much studying, practicing, and learning—to become a good web developer. Nowadays, with Web Development consisting of many subdisciplines—HTML and CSS and their optimizations, JavaScript, accessibility, security, performance, code maintainability and quality, internationalization and localization and much more—it may even be impossible to become a good web developer, that is, a good web developer in all the subdisciplines.

These are observations, however, and no judgement: It’s a quality of the field to wield so much power, to have so much depth, and still be so inviting. And inviting it really is, for there are many ways to enter Web Development. There are tons of introductions, tutorials, how-tos, and articles, fora and communities, courses and classes and videos and webinars and anything anyone with any learning preference could ever need.

What has been missing, however, is a comprehensive glossary. Not an index of different HTML elements and CSS properties and JavaScript methods, but a glossary of all the major, the key terms used. In Web Development, but also the relevant neighboring fields. The Web Development Glossary is filling this void: a living book that maps the entire landscape, that helps define and explain it.

If you don’t know me, I’m Jens, and I’m a web developer of 21 years experience who loves and hates (but mostly loves) the field. What I love are its power and all the possibilities it gives us, as well as the challenges of its never-ending depth and complexity. That’s why at the end of last year, I started working on The Web Development Glossary. I collected a few hundred terms. I reached 800 swiftly. Then 1,000. 1,600. 1,900. And now, for release, almost 2,000. Almost 2,000 explanations, some drawing from my own knowledge and research, a good part from the MDN Web Docs, and a great number from Wikipedia, which then required a great investment to check, normalize, and improve, leading to a slightly better MDN Web Docs Glossary, a slightly better Wikipedia, and a certainly better (and just as generously licensed) glossary.

It was a lot of work to prepare, it will invite more work to update and grow, but it’s finally available, so please enjoy: The Web Development Glossary.

Format Ebook (EPUB, MOBI, PDF)
Price $4.99 (suggested: $9.99)
Preview Selected chapters (PDF, 382 KB)
Length 255 pages (PDF)
Language English
License CC BY-SA 4.0 (Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)
All vendors Google Play Books

Update (May 19, 2021): The information above is not up-to-date anymore. The book has been updated, the price has changed, and it’s also available at more vendors. Check for the latest.


What is a BHO? Goanna? Hooking? How about a principal box? Or the Ten-Second Rule?

Covering about 2,000 terms ranging from A11Y to Zsh, and including explanations from Wikipedia and the MDN Web Docs, The Web Development Glossary is a comprehensive compendium rich in information for both novice and expert developers.

❧ I thank Wikipedia, the MDN Web Docs, and all their contributors for the great foundation they have laid that made it a lot more efficient to build the glossary. I then thank Gabriele Kretzschmar for review of the manuscript, and Ganesh Subramanian and Yaroslav Kiyenko for advice on book details. This has been a very special project for me, one which I now hope contributes to making the field, the field of Web Development, a tiny little more accessible.

Please have a look and check out the first edition of The Web Development Glossary.

Top comments (3)

perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

Not sure if our message went through in 'listings'

We bought your books and we really like them. We don't often hear people making sense. It's really nice. We only fully read the Upgrade your HTML so far - but really excited to read the others. : ) Great job.

perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

How many pages? Trying to guess how much it'll cost to print!

j9t profile image
Jens Oliver Meiert

The PDF version currently has 279 pages 🙂 (“Currently” because the book is receiving updates on most platforms.)