Common terms used in mobile application development and testing

  • Android application package file (APK) – a file format that is used deliver mobile apps to Android devices
  • App builds – a process of compiling your mobile app code into a finished mobile app product. it’s a packaged/compiled version of your mobile app software.




  • app developer – an individual that creates apps for mobile devices
  • app developer team – a group of people involved in the mobile app development process. can include project managers, product managers, marketers, game producers, mobile app designers, and mobile app engineers.
  • app distribution – a process of getting your mobile app to end users typically through a mobile app store such as the Google Play Market and the Apple App Store
  • app icon – that represents your mobile application in the App store
  • App Store Optimization (ASO) – a process that helps increase your visibility in the app stores with a focus on optimizing your app content
  • app store rank – your position in the app store based on downloads, sales, usage, and
  • app store rating – a numeric measurement mobile app users assign to your mobile application as a quality indicator of your mobile application. These app store ratings are submitted to mobile app stores for future users to use as a screening measurement before downloading your mobile app.
  • app user – a person that downloads and uses your mobile app.
  • beta testing – the process of testing a pre-release version of your mobile app
  • bugs – an unintended behavior in your mobile application.
  • churn rate – how frequently mobile app users abandon your app after a certain period
  • content (in mobile app terms) – anything that is not a design or programming element in your mobile app is content. any text, images, audio, video, HTML, etc. that the mobile app users can see in your app would be considered content.
  • debugging – a process of identifying, tracing, and resolving bugs in a mobile application
  • download velocity – how often a mobile app is downloaded in a certain time frame
  • Enterprise mobile apps – a mobile app that provides functionality primarily to enterprise business and organizations. Typically the app solves user control, role based access, and caters toward the scale of enterprise workplaces.
  • Expedited app review – a review process performed by Apple that gets your iOS app approved for the app store quicker. this review process is reserved for updates with major bugs or releases that are time sensitive. Apple only allows a couple per account and in rare cases.
  • I18n – An abbreviated numeronym of the word internationalization where 18 stands for the number of letters between the first i and last n of the word
  • in app ads – advertisements that display within your mobile app to your mobile app users
  • In App Purchase (IAP) – purchases of items and functionality within your mobile pap
  • in-app messages – any message that originates from inside the app through means other than push notifications
  • Internal mobile apps – mobile apps that are typically built for internal use at companies. Internal apps
  • Internationalization – (See Localization)
  • iterations – a different or updated version of your mobile app
  • Locales – a group of particular users with similar geographic, linguistic, and grammar patterns. Usually used to organize mobile app users in groups for app localization.
  • Localization – the customization of content for different language speakers. Localization can include translating your mobile app content text, images, video, and more for a particular locale market.
  • Location Based Services (LBS) – a service that utilizes a user’s geolocation to provide functionality.
  • minnows – the users that don’t spend much in your mobile app. primarily used to refer to small spenders in freemium apps
  • mobile agile development – coming soon
  • mobile app a/b testing – the process of testing two or more variations of app element like buttons, background colors, fonts, screens, and app content.
  • mobile app analytics – a way to track the actions of mobile app users within your app
  • mobile app API – the interface or set of functions that are available to through developer through the framework or SDK. It’s basically the documentation of things you can do with an SDK. It helps you understand the rules or guidelines that tell you what you can and can’t do within a framework.
  • Mobile app content delivery network (CDN) – an application that helps you deliver your mobile app content.
  • Mobile app content management system (CMS) – an application that helps you publish, deliver, and update mobile app content sent to mobile app users from one central place.
  • mobile app feature switching – aka feature toggle. Feature Flag, Feature Flipper, Conditional Feature, etc the capability to turn on and off specific functionality in your mobile app remotely, without coding and breaking other parts of your mobile app
  • mobile app sdk – a self-contained library or framework which allows developers to extend the functionality of the library into their mobile application. for instance, the Facebook SDK allows you to add Facebook features right into your app.
  • mobile app user retention – how many users have your mobile app and consistently use it.
  • Mobile apps – a piece of software that runs exclusively on mobile app platforms.
  • native app – a mobile app built to work specifically for one platform
  • over-the-air (OTA) – a download that initiates over a wireless broadband connection from a mobile device
  • push fatigue (aka push notification fatigue) – a decline in mobile app user interest in push notifications from the overuse and that has lead to lower user engagement gains development
  • push notification – a short message mobile app developers can send to app users even when users don’t have their mobile applications open
  • retina icon – an app icon that is saved at double it’s size for optimal viewing on retina-enabled mobile devices. creating a retina version of your mobile icon will deliver a crisp version of your mobile icon to users that view your icon on retina devices
  • Unique Device Identifier (UDID) – a unique alphanumeric that identifies a specific mobile device. Typically is a number assigned by the mobile device manufacturer.
  • universal app – a mobile app that can run on multiple devices using the same platform. for example, a mobile app that can run on any device (the iPod, iPad, and iPhone) on the iOS platform
  • user engagement – how frequently your mobile apps open and interact with your mobile app. important metric that correlates with user retention
  • Whales – the bigger spenders in mobile apps. These users tend to spend a lot on in-app purchases in mobile apps. They also generate the most revenue for app developers.
  • wireframes – a design draft or prototype of the functionality and navigation of a mobile app. Typically created when developing a new mobile app or add a feature to an existing app

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