We try (!) to explain our world (the terms, languages and platforms that we use)...


Term Description
Agile A modern project management approach to quickly and efficiently implement complicated development products. Project members are given specific tasks, such as "Scrum Master" and project deliverables are broken in to lots of "Sprints", each with their own clear deliverables.
Android Google's open source operating system that is used by pretty much all smartphones other than Apple including Samsung, Huawei, HTC, Nokia, Sony, LG etc.
API A term often used by developers to impress and confuse clients! It stands for "Application Processing Interface" and is essentially the set of rules one system requires to work with another system. For example "if you want the answer to this question, you need to ask me in this way and I will answer it in this way".
APK The file format of compiled Android apps, so APK files are effectively Android apps. To install APK files outside of Google Play users have to grant additional permissions in their phone settings.
ASO App Store Optimsation. Like SEO but for the App Stores. The science of making sure your app ranks as highly as possible on the app stores by using things like app name, keywords, description, screenshots, preview videos.
AR (or Augmented Reality) Using software (such as a smartphone app) to add layers, for example 3D or interactivity, on top of the "real world" as seen through the phone's camera. For example Snapchat's animated photo effects or Pokemon Go. Increasingly popular. Similar to and often confused with Virtual Reality.
BitBucket A cloud-based solution developers use to store, manage and update code and code versions. Similar to GitHub
Cross-Platform See hybrid.
Freemium The approach of offering a free, "lite" version of the app that the user needs to pay (see IAP) to normally access additional content, value-added services or to remove adverts.
Flutter A relatively new development language built by Google to work across Android and iOS (Apple) devices. Pretty much combines the best of hybrid (simplicity, cost, time) with the best of native (performance and UI). We're using a lot now and are big fans but many hybrid platforms have come and gone so only time will tell.
GitHub A cloud-based solution developers use to store, manage and update code and code versions. Similar to BitBucket.
Hybrid A broad term to cover programming languages that are designed to work across iOS (Apple), Android and often web. It's a great idea - one code base means reduced time, cost, chance for errors to both build and maintain. But the downside is often reduced stability, performance and security and there are many hybrid languages and some are better than others. Popular hybrid languages include Flutter, Cordova, React Native, Xamarin and PhoneGap.
IAP (or In-App Purchase) A paid product (once off or subscription) that is made from within a free app through the App Stores using the payment the user loaded with the store. The App Stores will take a 30% commission.
iOS Apple's operating system for iPhone and iPad. Major updates usually once a year.
MVP (or Minimum Viable Product) An initial version of the app with just enough core features to appeal to early adopters and gain feedback on priorities for future development.
Native Code built in the phone's own operating language. For iOS (Apple) this is Swift and Android it is Java or Kotlin.
Prototype A pretty but dumb version of your app. So it looks great with the right designs, colour scheme, font, menus etc. but it doesn't actually do anything, although they can install on a phone with an icon and buttons etc. can be tappable to navigate around it. A very important step we do before we started to code (the clever but ugly bit!)
Push Notifications Those pop-up notifications that smartphone users receive on some apps, for example when new WhatsApp's are received.
PWA Progressive Web Apps are somewhere between websites and native apps. They should work offline and be able to do some things native apps can do, for example receive push notifications, use GPS and interact with the camera. But exactly what they can do differs between Apple and Android, as well as between for example Android 10 and 6. The nice thing about them is they can be downloaded outside of the App Stores so users can just download from any website. And they avoid that dreaded Apple approval process!
React Native An open source, cross platform mobile framework developed by Facebook that can also be used for web development.
SaaS (or Software as a Service) Increasingly popular business model for software development companies where you don't own or control the code but pay a montly or annual fee typically based on the number of users or amount of usage. Used in particular for common apps that are based on third party platforms
SDK Software Development Kit that companies provide that is typically embedded in the code of an app to allow your app to access their services.
SEO Search Engine Optimisation. The science of making sure your site ranks as highly as possible in organic search on search engines, in particular Google, using key words, tags, load speed, mobile-friendliness, descriptions and minimising errors. Ultimately the quality and interest of the content to users (shown by low bounce rates, time spend on site, pages visit) are the most important factors over time.
Shopify A cloud-based platform used by over 800,000 businesses to quickly and easily develop world-class eCommerce websites. The Shopify ecosystem, with its own third party apps makes running a store simple, including payment and courier integration.
Slack A popular project communication platform used by developers with different project chats and useful integrations. Think "WhatsApp" for desktop and geeks.
Stack The combination of technologies, languages, tools and libraries that the project will be built on.
Test Flight Apple's app that allows developers to distribue test versions of apps that are not yet available to the public.
UI/ UX Beloved by designers with over-sized glasses and questionable facial hair, these terms actually stand for User Interface and User Experience. Used almost interchangeably but in theory UI is the actual design of the screens/ pages users will be interacting with and UX is their overall experience (e.g. journey or flow) through the app. Very, very important in creating successful apps.
VR (or Virtual Reality) Using software (like AR) but also hardware (such as headsets) to create a completely immersive experience that replaces rather than builds on top of the "real world".
Web App Well, wouldn't we like to know! It is often used as a fancy term by developers to cover up the fact that they've only built you a website designed for phones. In theory web apps should have some offline functionality and better performance and be able work with the hardware of the phone (e.g. photo upload, GPS). See PWA.