When talking to techies, can you speak their language?
If you've ever talked to a programmer you've probably been left wondering what language they're speaking. It sounds a lot like English, but when you put the words all together, what comes out makes as much sense as if it were in Greek. We get that. We do actually have our own language (several of them, in fact), and we know there are times when it just doesn't make sense to other people. So that's why we've put together this primer on tech talk.
If you want to test your Tech IQ, here are some common terms in the software development industry. These are words or phrases you'll likely run into any time you're looking to have a custom solution developed for you. Don't worry, we'll give you the answers at the end, with more details to help you navigate the world of custom software.
1. A wireframe is:
a) An old fashioned clothes hanger
b) A pair of glasses
c) A physical model of a software solution
d) An outline of what your app will look like, with components spelled out
2. API stands for:
a) A Piece of Information
b) Application Programming Interface
c) Anterior Postulate Interface
d) Application Particular Information
3. Which of these best describes a "dev environment":
a) The ideal atmosphere for developing software
b) Where the programmer sits to work on a software solution
c) The server location where software is being developed and tested
d) The computer software used to write code
4. What does "Device Agnostic" mean?
a) Software that is not specific to an operating system or device
b) Software that works on older phones
c) Software that looks like an app
d) Software that can be used by multiple companies at once
5. When we talk about "Unit Testing" what are we referring to?
a) Making sure a device is operational
b) Testing portions of the code for function and logic
c) Final testing of the entire software solution
d) Using teams to test during development
6. What do we mean by "deploying" software?
a) Transfer software to multiple server locations
b) Sending software out for testing
c) Utilizing other programmers for help building software
d) Making a completed software solution available for use
Think you've got the right answers? Let's see how you did:
1: D, 2: B, 3: C, 4: A, 5: B, 6: D
These are just a few of the standard terms you might run into when developing a custom software solution. It's definitely not an exhaustive list. Other terminology that is important to understand when you're looking to have custom software built include:
DNS: This stands for Domain Name Service and is essentially the system that allows computers, websites and servers to talk to one another. The DNS is what directs users to your website or application and is usually managed where the domain name is registered and/or the site is hosted.
Dev vs. Production Environments: As mentioned above, a Dev environment is where the code behind your software solution is being developed. The Production environment is where the final product will be deployed, allowing users to access your software.
API: While the quiz gives you the correct definition, there's a little more to the story of APIs. An API is a system by which your software solution talks directly to a partner solution and requests data from that other software solution. Your system receives the data, processes it, and displays the information within your interface.
User Interface: The User Interface, or Front End, includes every part of your software that the user can manipulate or interact with. It's important that the user interface is optimized for all intended devices and easy to navigate to improve the overall user experience.
Software Back End: The Back End of your software solution is usually the area that is restricted from public viewing. In most cases, only your developer or programmer will ever see the back end and they use it to manage various aspects of the system.
Native vs. Hybrid vs. Web App: If you're looking to have an App developed, it's important to know whether you want it to be Native, Hybrid, or Web based. So what's the difference? A native app is developed for a specific platform and only runs on that platform. So a native app built for iOS will only run on Apple devices while an app built for Android will only run on those devices. Web apps are websites that look and feel like an app, but are not native to any environment and can be accessed on any device. A Hybrid app is a combination of the two. It involves a native app that is stored locally on your device that pulls in information via a web app.
If you find yourself in a conversation with a programmer (and we hope you do!), understanding these terms should help you feel a little more confident in the conversation. After all, when you're having custom software built, it's important that you are actively involved in the process, because the software is being built for you and your needs. If you're contemplating having a custom solution built, or you just want to know more about how custom software can complement your company and its processes, feel free to give us a call. We promise we won't overwhelm you with a lot of Techie Talk right off the bat, but by building your Tech IQ, you'll find the entire process even more rewarding.