Heard at Smartplan – a guide to expressions used in the world of IT

A few months ago, the three of us communication students started our internship at Smartplan. Since Smartplan is a company that provides SaaS and we would be working alongside three programmers we knew from the beginning, that we would come across some unknown expressions – and so we did! Now and then we still laugh when the programmers discuss their work at the office, as we still quite don’t follow it all. We imagine that many non-IT-specialists are in the a similar situation. Therefore, we have created a list of five funny and misunderstood phrases that we’ve come across in our short time at Smartplan. They’re silly examples of what we were thinking when we heard the phrases and what the phrases actually mean.

“Is your iframe right?”

Comm interns: “Hmm, something with an eye, maybe it’s a frame that’s in focus, something like that?”

Programmers: (With a big laugh) Even though it sounds like “eye”, the phrase is actually “iframe”. It doesn’t have anything to do with focus, but it is in fact a frame, as the name indicates. An iframe is used when you want to put something from another site or domain into your code; e.g. when you want to integrate content from another site.

“The back-end is all wrong”

Comm interns: “It cannot mean, what I think it means, can it?”

Programmers: In classic web apps, there’s a front-end and a back-end. The front-end is the code that lives in the browser, also called ‘client-side-code’. It consists of HTML (boxes, headlines, keys, lists, tables, layout, etc.), CSS (colour, position, animation, etc.) and JavaScript (which makes the front-end speak to the back-end). The back-end or ‘server-site-code’ does multiple things. One is that it stores data in a database and sends correct data to the front-end. This means, that when a user enters www.trysmartplan.com, the back-end sends HTML to the user’s browser containing HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In a split second, the browser is then able to decode and project the HTML, so that it looks like a website. Consequently, the user only sees the front-end.

“I’m working with Django today”

Comm interns: “Isn’t that a Tarantino-movie?”

Programmers: It is a movie, but it’s also a so-called web framework which is used to build a back-end. Django has a lot of tools designed to manage users, passwords, security, database handling, etc. It makes it faster and easier to make and run a web app (like Smartplan) without having to reinvent the wheel every time you want to make a new feature.

“Arhg another bug!”

Comm interns: “Oh how annoying! It’s that time of year though – where do you keep the fly-swatter?”

Programmers: It’s not an insect. It’s an old expression for a sudden error in a program. A bug is never sudden, as the error has been there all along, but some errors only appear when the program is used in a certain way. This makes them difficult to spot.

“There’s a problem is with the Get’er”

Comm interns: “It must be something that gets things for you – but gets what? Codes?”

Programmers: With this one you’re actually not that far off! A GET’er is really a request for content. You can say, it’s the GET’er that retrieves the content the user wants to see on the screen.

We hope that you got something out of our “vocabulary”, whether it’s actual knowledge or a good laugh. Are you a part of a collaboration between IT- and communication professionals (or another different profession), you’re more than welcome to share our experience with IT expressions – we’ll take them with us!

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