50 App Development Acronyms You Need To Know

By Jennifer Shambroom, August 27, 2014

App Development Acronyms

The world of application development is always changing. With such a volatile landscape, some developers ignore the so-called “buzzwords” of the moment in hopes that they will soon pass without impacting their development process.

However, many terms in mobile app development are with us for better or for worse. Knowing, understanding, and using these terms and process will not only make you a better developer, but will make what you develop even better.

While some of these acronyms will be familiar to you (see GPS), many will not be quite as widely known. Making it even more imperative for you to understand and utilize them.  Below, you’ll find acronyms for every phase of app development, from conceptualization to measurement.

Acronyms in App Development 

ADB – Android Device Bridge

Command line tool that’s used to communicate with an emulator instance or connected Android-powered device.

AIDL – Android Interface Definition Language

An Interface Description Language that generates code which enables two processes on Android devices to talk to each other.

API – Application Programming Interface

Application Programming Interfaces determine the operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types of a component of software.

ARM – ARM Architecture

RISC microprocessors produced by British-based firm, ARM Holdings. The majority of the microprocessors used in smartphones are ARM based.

ARPU – Average Revenue Per User

Very common financial benchmark used to determine the average revenue generated by one mobile app user. Generally, the best ARPU is a high ARPU.

ARPU = Total Revenue / Number of Subscribers

ASO – App Store Optimization

App Store Optimization is the process of improving the ranking, and visibility, of your mobile app in any of the app stores.

AVD – Android Virtual Device

Emulator configuration that lets developers model an actual device by defining the hardware and software options.

CDN – Content Delivery Network

In the mobile app world, a Content Delivery Network is a collection of servers in varying locations that store files awaiting use by mobile app users.

CMS – Content Management System

A Content Management System is an application that facilitates the uploading, editing, and managing of content in a mobile app.

COBRA – Common Object Request Broker Architecture

COBRA is a technology standard implemented by the Object Management Group that enables collaboration between systems on different devices, operating systems, and programming languages.

CSR – Certificate Signing Request

Certificate Signing Requests are blocks of encrypted text that generate on the server on which the certificate will be used.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

CSS is used for describing the formatting and aesthetics of an item described in markup language.

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

CPA allows mobile app developers to predetermine how many mobile apps will need to be downloaded in order to create revenue.

Average CPA = Average Cost Per User / Conversion Rate

CPM – Cost Per Mille (Thousand)

The cost for each 1000 impressions for your mobile application or advertisement.

CPM = Total Cost / (Impressions/1000)

CPC – Cost Per Click

CPC is how much you pay for each person who clicks on an advertisement.

CPC = Total Cost / Total Clicks

CTR – Click-Through Rate

Click-Through Rate is how many users followed (clicked) a specific link via an advertising campaign.

CTR = Clicks / Impressions

DSP – Demand Side Platform

Demand Side Platform (DSP) is a system which permits digital advertising buyers ad management and data exchange interactions to occur through one central interface.

eCPM – Effective Cost Per Mille

For mobile apps, the eCPM is the advertising revenue generated for each 1,000 impressions.

eCPM = (Total Earnings / Total Impressions) x 1,000

FTP – File Transfer Protocol

The File Transfer Protocol is a standard protocol used to transfer files between two computers via the Internet.

GUI – Graphical User Interface

GUI is the way that the majority of users interact with computers. It uses image-based operations (windows, icons, menus) to facilitate an easier and pleasant experience for users.

GPS – Global Positioning System

GPS is a system of satellites that provide positional data anywhere on or near the earth.

HTML5 – HyperText Markup Language 5

HTML5 is the markup language of the Internet, and is used for preparing and presenting content for the World Wide Web.

IDL – Interface Description Language

The Interface Description Language specifies procedures, functions, parameters, and data types.

IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

While the IEEE isn’t a specific app development acronym, it does bare much weight in this space. The IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers whose goal is to advance technological innovation and excellence. The community is a great resource for trends, research, and other industry professionals.

IAP – In-App Purchase

IAP is simply the term used for any purchase that is made from within a mobile application after that application has been downloaded.

IPC – Inter-process Communication

Inter-process Communication is the set of methods for exchanging data among multiple threads, in one or more processes.

IR – Install Rate

IR is the measure of how many users actually download and install an app, after clicking on an advertisement.

JSON – JavaScript Object Notation

JSON is a standard data exchange format that is text-based, lightweight, and considered easily read and easily written.

JVM – Java Virtual Machine

The Java Virtual Machine allows any program written in Java to run on any computer/device that has a Java Virtual Machine.

JNI – Java Native Interface

Working with JVM, Java Native Interface enables Java code to call and be called by native applications and libraries that are written in other languages.

JDK – Java Development Kit

The Java Development Kit runs atop of Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X, or a Windows operating system and allows developers to compile, debug, and run applets and applications written in Java.

LBS – Location-Based Services

The term Location-Based Services refers to a wide range of services based on or enhanced by information about the physical location of the device.

MEAP – Mobile Enterprise Application Platform

MEAPs are comprehensive collection of products and services that aide in mobile app development.

NDK – Native Development Kit

Specifically for Android, the NDK is a tool that allows you to program in C/C++.

NFC – Near Field Communications

Near Field Communication includes a set of standards for devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) to establish a radio connection with each other by either physically touching or bringing them near each other.

OS – Operating System

The software that runs a computer’s basic functions.

OTA – Over The Air Update

An OTA Update is a software update that is distributed via Wi-Fi or broadband network, utilizing functions built into the operating system itself.

POSIX – Portable Operating System Interface

The POSIX Standards were implemented by IEEE and aim to provide a framework for continuity and compatibility between operating systems.

QA – Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is a pivotal step in developing mobile apps, as it serves as a way to mitigate mistakes and defects while avoiding problems. QA testing can and should be done at all steps in the mobile app development process.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication Feeds

Put most simply, an RSS feed is a content delivery vehicle. You’ll use this format for syndicating news and other content for your application.

SSP – Supply Side Platform

Supply Side Platforms (SSP) are the suppliers version of DSPs. Essentially, SSPs help publishers achieve the best prices for their inventory and maintain a steady supply of targeted ads.

SUP – Sybase Unwired Platform

SUP is a product of MEAP, and aims to optimizes the mobile development for internal and enterprise applications.

SDK – Software Development Kit

SDKs are also known as “devkits” and are what you expect from the namesake: a set of development tools that allow for the creation of applications on the specific platforms.

SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol

SOAP is a protocol for exchanging structured information among web services.

SRS – Systems Requirement Specification

Ideally, an SRS will minimize time, effort, and costs of developers by comprehensively describing the intended purpose and environment for software that is still under development.

TTS – Text To Speech

TTS uses speech synthesis applications to create a text version of spoken sound, and spoken sound versions of text.

UX – User Experience

User Experience is the whole of the end-user’s interaction with the completed application.

UI – User Interface

User Interface is more focused than User Experience, and refers to the interaction itself between the user and the computer software or application itself.

UDID – Unique Device Identifier

UDID’s are 40-character text strings assigned to Apple devices that allow app vendors to track subscriber/downloader behavior.

VPN – Virtual Private Network

VPNs create private and fiercely protected data networks over public infrastructure.

WAP – Wireless Application Protocol

The Wireless Application Protocol ensures that smartphones and other devices have secure access to e-mail and text-based web pages.

XHTML – eXternsible HyperText Markup Language

XHTML is in the XML family of markup languages, and is a hybrid of both HTML and XML.

XML – eXtensible Markup Language

eXtensible Markup Language defines sets of rules for encoding documents to be read by both humans and machines.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our small glossary of terms! What would you add? Share it with us in the comments! As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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