The a-z of web development

After working in the online industry since 1996 I think I’ve picked up a few things along the way.
If nothing else than to refresh my memory … here is the complete Point and Stare a – z of web development.

This list certainly doesn’t cover every angle but it does give an overview of the world of web development, the techniques we employ and the tools we use.

A – Accessibility
This needs to be built in from the off, giving functionality and benefit to as wide an audience as possible. if your customers can’t access your site on everything from a desktop browser to a tablet or mobile phone, they will go elsewhere. Go mobile or go home.

B – Brand guidelines
Adherence to these promotes good front-end structure and balance throughout.

C – CSS
A Cascading Style Sheet is used to enable the separation of document content from document presentation, including elements such as the layout, colors, and fonts. it also stands for Can’t Stand Scruffiness – keep your code clean people!

D – Doctype
A declaration at the start of an XML document that identifies the root element and DTD of a document. Essentially this tells the browser how to render the page content and has nothing to do with what level NHS treatment you get.

E – Everywhere
Gone are the days of simply making sure your website works in IE6 IE7, IE8, IE9, IE10. Now they need to work across many platforms and devices, from small mobile phones to tablets, laptops and even TV screens.

F – Formats
Ensure all files are produced and named correctly. Best practice is to use all lower case and no spaces giving each file a descriptive name.

G – GIF
Extensively used format best used for displaying images primarily comprised of solid areas of colour.
Animated gifs are making a comeback seem to have taken over the world again – oh lordy!

H – HTML
HTML elements are the basic components for HTML markup. Validating HTML is produced by Point and Stare on all projects.

I – Internet Explorer
The browser from Microsoft. Yeah, that one. The one that gives most development companies the shivers. On every project we test across all major browsers, devices and OS where relevant. Thankfully IE is now gone – replaced with the much more developer friendly Microsoft Edge.

J – JavaScript
JavaScript has become one of the most popular programming languages on the web and can be used, as an element of AJAX, to add motion, dynamics and depth to a website.

K – Keywords
Keywords are essential within the main content to define the message as well as meta information used by some search engines.

L – Layout
Proportional, liquid, hybrid, responsive – many words to explain the methods and many units of measure exist with the most popular being pixel, em and percentage.

M – Metadata
Metadata is included in the page header allowing for the inclusion of elements such as simple descriptive text, dates or keywords but, please, don’t add a ton of references about Britney, unless, of course, you’re selling Britney stuff.

N – Naming conventions
Name files with relevance and consistency. latest_news_button.gif is more screen reader and SEO friendly than Untitled 24.gif

O – Open source
We strongly believe in both producing, and using, open source code allowing others to share our knowledge and saving clients time and money.

P – Pixels v Points v percentages
A Pixel is a single dot on the computer screen offering significant design control whereas a Point corresponded to a physical size of printed text on paper. Percentages are what we tend to use to create websites as this allows more flexibility across devices.

Q – Query String
A query string is the part of a URL that contains data to be passed to the web applications. Where possible we use URL encoding to turn these strings into English.

R – RSS
An RSS feed can benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically and also benefit readers who want to subscribe to up-to-the-minute information.

S – Socialising
Using social tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc are paramount to achieving maximum reach for your information or content.

T – Tips and Tricks
Learning new tips and tricks helps keep our minds active and your projects fresh. Learn something new everyday.

U – Usability
The elegance and clarity with which users interact with a website. For obvious reasons, high on our list of priorities.

V – Validation
All Point and Stare projects go through stringent tests to ensure W3C validation specification compliance where necessary and relevant.

W – WordPress
WordPress is an open source Content Management System that was born around 2003 and for many years has been a major component in the growth of Point and Stare.

X – XHTML
XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) is a family of XML markup languages that extend HTML, the language in which web pages are written. The essential difference between XHTML and HTML is that XHTML must be well-formed, while HTML need not be. XHTML also has an X in it, where HTML doesn’t. It’s the little things.

Y – Yahoo! Site Explorer
A service once provided by Yahoo! now merged into Bing Webmaster Tools, now … mehh .. who cares.

Z – z-index
z-index is a CSS property that sets the stack order of specific elements. This allows elements to be overlaid on top of each other giving a faux 3d effect.

FURTHER READING