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Web Design Jargon – The Tools

This week’s jargon-busting adventure is going to take us through the tools used in web design and development. Some of these are only tools in the very loosest sense of the word but kind of fit. Chocks away!


CMS stands for Content Management System and the name is relatively self-explanatory. A CMS enables users to easily add, edit and delete content to their website via an admin area. The content is stored in a database and displayed to a site visitor when they want it. A CMS normally places the content from the database into an HTML template or theme to display it.
Examples of a CMS include:

There’s loads of different ones but WordPress is used far more than all the others put together. For more information on WordPress, you can read What is WordPress? from a few weeks ago.

FTP Client

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and refers to a standard protocol used to transfer files over a network like the internet. It is mostly used to transfer files from a computer to an online server or vice versa. There is a more secure version caled SFTP which should be used if available. An FTP client is an application/program that makes this process simpler and easier. I use one called FileZilla.

Text Editor

At its most basic, a text editor is a program used for editing plain text files. You all have one of these on your computer – Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac OS X. Those are the most basic but there are other more advanced text editors.
The difference between text editors and word processors like Microsoft Word is that word processors add formatting to text to make it different sizes, fonts, colours etc. for printing, whereas text editors deal with plain, unformatted text and treats it as data. Some programs do both, however.
Other features provided by the more advanced text editors used by developers (often called source code editors) include:

  • Syntax highlighting – highlights different parts of the code to make it easier to understand. All the code on this blog is syntax highlighted – here’s an example in HTML:
    <a href="" title="Example">Example</a>
  • Auto-complete – you’ve probably come across this on your phone. It’s more effective with code because it’s easier to predict due to limited possibilities based on language and context.
  • Bracket matching – highlights matching opening and closing brackets like (), [] and {} in languages that use them. This make it easier to navigate and understand the code and also spot mis-matched brackets which would otherwise break everything. It doesn’t completely stop the time spent shouting ‘Why won’t you work?!’ followed by ‘Oh I just missed that bracket’ but it helps to cut it down.
  • Built-in FTP client – see above. Saves having to switch to another program to upload files to the server.

If you’re interested, I use Notepad++.


This needs a whole blog post to itself – note to future self: put link here. A browser is the program you use to browse the internet. The most popular ones are:

I personally use Firefox but I have the top five installed for testing purposes.

That’s all for this week folks. To make up for the lack of pictures, here’s a kitten:
Cute grey kitten
As always, please leave comments/questions. I hope you have an amazing week and, in the words of Stephen Fry, ‘be absolutely lovely to one another’. Ciao!

13th April 2013

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