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Section 6

The big fat CMS glossary

Read time length: 9-11 minutes

This isn’t exhaustive.

For a complete glossary of every CMS term you’ll ever need, take a look at Chapter 9 of The definitive guide to choosing a content management system.


The definitive guide to choosing a content management system

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– Artificial Intelligence describes a machine’s ability to learn through problem-solving. AI uses machine learning elements like pattern recognition and recommendations based on results.


– Metrics that deliver a quantitative view of web performance, such as page views, conversion rates, open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, abandonment rates, etc. Analytics can also measure such qualitative metrics as whether a user’s interaction is contributing to a business goal as you define it.


– Application Programming Interface, a set of functions or tools which provide access to a service, channel, or dataset.

Content item

– A single piece of content, (anything from a whole article down to a headline, an image, pre-formatted text, etc.) with its own unique identification number.

Contextual intelligence

– The ability to discover the most likely needs and intentions of customers during every digital interaction.


– A repository where content and data is stored.


– Separated, as in separating different application layers of a CMS, e.g., content management and delivery can be decoupled from content presentation.


– A transfer of code from a developer’s working environment to production systems.

Dynamic website

– A website which changes as a user interacts with it and visits pages.


– Code to add extra functionality to an application.


– Part of a content object, e.g. a headline, summary, body text, metadata.

Front-end developer

– Technical user who uses languages such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to make the visual part of websites work on computers, mobile phones, and other devices.


– A type of CMS architecture which supports back-end content management tasks without a prescriptive front-end presentation layer.

Item-based repository

– A form of CMS architecture in which content objects are stored independently from their presentation on the page.


– Sometimes known as “template,” this defines how content will be appear or be rendered on a device.

Machine learning

– Describes systems that can automatically learn from data and improve over time—without additional programming.


– Data that describes or classifies the content.


– Also known as testing; to find out which version of content or layout your visitors prefer. Optimization is usually done to refine and perfect personalization.

Out of the box

– Generally referring to features or functionality of software that require little or no configuration and are immediately usable.


– Changing the content or layout according to known or assumed information about the visitor.

Predictive analytics

– The process of looking for patterns that can help increase the odds of predicting future events or performance.

Presentation layer

– Contains the components that interpret HTML code, JavaScript, and other items passed from the server, and transforms them into what the audience sees on a screen.


– The process of interpreting content data and other items passed from a server into what the audience sees on a screen.


– Search Engine Optimization.


– The processes between different teams involved in producing and distributing content.


– What You See Is What You Get.