image of laptop with code on screen

Lets de-mystify web development, simplify and explain our jargon to all

A few months ago I was reading an article about something called a pattern library. Being a developer who predominantly builds smaller scale websites, this particular idea isn’t something I’d be likely to use until I was working on a larger project where I could justify it. But I’m using it as an example to illustrate a point.

You possibly┬áhave no idea what I’m talking about.

But if I told you that all a pattern library was, is a collection of re-usable components/modules, such as navigation, sliders, footers, headers etcetera, you’ll probably grasp it quite quickly.

So why didn’t we just call it Component Library or Module Library? Why the word pattern? We never described parts of a web page as patterns before – at least not universally. It’s a little like deciding that a bunch of JavaScript stuff should now be called a Programming Database.

I think as developers, we’re often guilty of coming up with a lot of needless/complex terminology that shrouds our industry in a cloud of mystery, making it more complex and more difficult to grasp than it really needs to be. Of course this is quite a blanket statement, and there are exceptions, but when there’s already an existing term that everybody understands I’m not sure why we need to come up with another.

For 2017 I’m calling on all of us to be as jargon-free and easy to understand as possible. Let’s not make the topic of web development a mass of terminology and acronyms that frighten people away. Let’s use glossaries on our magazine sites to explain common terminology, linking to articles. Make what you write and talk about accessible and helpful for everyone to read and understand, without compromising what we’re trying to say.

If we can do that, we’ll make development richer and more enjoyable for all of us.