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App jargon buster

Operating Systems


The OS is the Operating System which you use to create your app.


iOS is the Operating System created by Apple that supports the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc. In order to create an app, the developer will use Swift or Objective-C languages.


Android is Google’s flagship Operating System. Building for Android usually means using Java. Java is generally considered an accessible programming language. Many developers will have at least some experience with this language.

Windows phone

Third, in popularity, this technology is strongly supported by Microsoft via it’s dedicated tool called Visual Studio.

Key design terms


UX standing for User Experience refers to how a user perceives, reacts, or feels when interacting with your mobile app.


UI standing for User Interface is the design of the mobile app with a focus on the experience of the user, keeping in mind the overall interaction. It’s arguably the most important part of your app since it determines how easily a user can make the program do what he or she wants. Even a powerful idea with great technical execution has little value with a poorly designed UI.

Mockups and wireframes

A critical part of the design process is creating mockups, which show the end user what the app will look like without having to actually build the app or its underlying functionality.

Software UI mockups can range from very simple, hand-drawn screen layouts to realistic bitmaps and even semi-functional user interfaces. They are comparable to an architects’ blueprints.

Wireframes are drafts used to present the proposed functions, structure, and content of an app. A wireframe separates the graphic elements of the app from the functional elements in such a way that developers can easily explain how users will interact with the app. 

Key development terms


The majority of apps require a backend. The front end is the part that the user can see and interact with, but if the app needs to store information remotely (e.g. not on the phone itself) and all that information later then it needs a backend. A backend usually consists of one or many databases as well as application code that sits on the server. The ‘smarts’ of your application will mostly be driven by your backend & is usually underestimated by clients as it is less visible.

Push notifications

A push notification is a short message that developers can send to app users even when users don’t have their mobile applications open. The messages are displayed on the home screen of the device (even when locked).


SDK stands for Software Development Kit, which is a programming package that enables developers to create apps for a particular software platform or framework.

An SDK typically includes one or many APIs, programming tools, and documentation.


An APK is an Android Application Package. It is a file format that is used to deliver mobile apps to Android devices.


To fork means to split source code into different development directions (referred to as branches).

Forking leads to the development of different versions of a program. The central place where said data is stored and maintained is called a repository.


UDID is the Unique Device Identifier, a one-and-only alphanumeric that identifies a specific apple device.

Your developer may ask you to provide this when sharing a progress or test build with you. When the developer creates the test iOS build, he has to include your UDID in the build process for your phone to be able to install the app.


XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language, HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. XML and HTML were designed with different goals:

XML was designed to carry data – with focus on what data is.

HTML was designed to display data – with focus on how data looks.

XML tags are not predefined like HTML tags are.

Key connection terms


API stands for Application Programming Interface. Together with backend databases, APIs provide a set of fixed rules and specifications that define interactions between software components.

An API can be created for libraries, operating systems, and applications. A good API makes it easier and faster to develop an app by providing all of the “building blocks” for it.


JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. It is a lightweight data-interchange format that is easy for humans to read and write and for machines to parse and generate.

Although it was originally derived from the JavaScript language, JSON is a language-independent data format. Code for parsing and generating JSON data is readily available in many programming languages.


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.

Companies and other Internet users often provide files and general-interest materials to be downloaded from an FTP server. To access this FTP server, users need access to the Internet and an FTP client program (such as Filezilla).

Users are advised to use the SFTP protocol to ensure that the file transmission will be secure. This protocol encrypts the data transferred to the FTP server and prevents unauthorized access during the operation.


REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is an architectural style, and an approach to communications that is often used in the development of Web services. The use of REST is often preferred over the more heavyweight SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) style because REST does not leverage as much bandwidth, which makes it a better fit for use over the Internet.


The SOAP approach requires writing or using a provided server program (to serve data) and a client program (to request data).