Web Technology Cheat Sheet for Marketers

When working in internet marketing chances are you are going to talk to a developer or technical client at one time or another. Here is a basic guide of the big web technologies/languages so you don’t put your foot in your mouth.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language

HTML is the main language for web pages and any information that can be seen in a browser. It’s the basic building block and mostly anything you see on the internet is going to be built with some kind of HTML.


CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

The best way I’ve heard CSS explained is this: CSS is the make-up of the web page. CSS creates styles (colors, fonts, sizing) that you can reference to make things look prettier. It doesn’t really hold or store information like HTML it just makes it look nice.


FTP – File Transfer Protocol

FTP is just a way to send files to your servers, which put your files on the internet. For example, I can use FTP to put a HTML file on my GoDaddy servers and then it will be come accessible from a URL (basically just put a web page online).



JavaScript is not Java! They are not related at all. Do not shorten JavaScript to Java in front of clients or programmers because it will make you look dumb.

JavaScript is a front-end web programming language that creates scripts to interact with the user. For example, the Google Analytics Code you put on your site is JavaScript.

If you look on a website and see anything in between the follow two tags is javascript.

<script type=”text/javascript”></script>


AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript and XML

AJAX is not just one technology or language but a group of them containing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and XML. AJAX can load in parts of a website with you asking for it. For example, when you go to a blog and scroll down to the bottom and posts keep loading in. That’s AJAX!



JQuery is a JavaScript library. So jQuery IS javascript. It is a library written by some great people to make it easier to build really pretty web things. Some examples of jQuery is content sliders, cool tab views, and photo galleries. You can do everything in JavaScript that you can do in jQuery. But, personally, besides the shorter code I like jQuery more – it’s more intuitive.



PHP is a backend programming language which means we don’t really see it but we know it’s there. For example, this blog is built on WordPress and WordPress is built using PHP but if view the source of this page you won’t see any PHP. PHP creates the framework for blogs and sites to add additional pages and posts.



Ruby is a backend language that is used to build web pages and web based apps among other things. You can load other libraries (or in other words prebuilt code) into Ruby and they are called Gems.


Ruby on Rails – AKA RoR AKA ‘Rails’

Ruby on Rails is used a lot right now in web development and is just a framework of Ruby. Rails is not it’s own language, Ruby on Rails is Ruby.


API – Application Programming Interface

API’s tell programs how to work with each other. There are two main kinds of them, read & write. For example if you want to pull data from Google Analytics you can use their API.


SQL – Structured Query Language

SQL is said as letters and could be pronounced ‘Sequel’. It is a backend programming language designed to pull information from a database and hand it off to get displayed on the web or in a program. If you ever use the =query formula in gdocs, that is basically SQL.

There are a ton of more web technologies but these are just a couple ones I hear all the time and have discussed with my co-workers. Do you have any additional ones that you think marketers should know? If so, leaving them in the comments.

Also, if you liked this post check out my other ones on the SEER’s blog. I’m on twitter @nicomiceli and Google+ if you want to connect or send anything my way.