JDOC talk

Words to watch

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Revision as of 11:21, 28 November 2010 by Chris Davenport (Talk | contribs)

Some words in Joomla 1.6 beta that need a decision on a final spelling

dropdown or drop-down

backend or back-end or back end

frontend or front-end or front end

newsfeed or news feed

weblink or web link

iframe or Iframe or IFrame or iFrame

html or HTML

Ron's comments

Ron Severdia commented this opinion on the tracker

I noticed this a while back and have been standardizing on the following:




news feed

web link



O'Reilly and most publishers have settled on these forms (including the ever-erroneous "plugin," which should be "plug-in").

Chris's comments

These are all very subjective, but below are my thoughts, based on some Google searches, a search of the Oxford Dictionaries (, which is referred to below as the OED, and of course, my personal preferences. I haven't attempted to research American spellings (eg. on Webster) although Google search results will tend to give a US bias anyway.

"dropdown" vs. "drop-down" vs. "drop down"

At the present time, "drop-down" seems to be the most accepted form and agrees with the OED.

"backend" vs. "back-end" vs. "back end"

All three forms are in common use (well, common in computer circles anyway). My feeling is that this term is quite technical in nature and it should only be used with great care in the user interface. The average user is simply not going to know what a "back end" is. Merging the two words into "backend" just makes it even less likely that understanding will follow. My preference would be for "back end" since even hyphenation might cause puzzlement and it agrees with the OED.

"frontend" vs. "front-end" vs. "front end"

My preference is for "front end". See argument above.

"newsfeed" vs. "news-feed" vs. "news feed"

Interestingly, the hyphenated form is almost never used. Even more interestingly, the OED lists "newsfeed" (along with "newsgroup") as a valid word. Indeed, "newsfeed" seems to be more commonly used than "news feed". Maybe the term was in use before the internet came along? My preference goes to "newsfeed".

"weblink" vs. "web-link" vs. "web link"

The OED lists "weblink" as "another term for HYPERLINK". The hyphenated form is used occasionally. Personally, I don't see any great need to merge the two words into one as it is more likely to confuse newbies and so my (slight) preference is for "web link".

"iframe" vs. "iFrame" vs. "IFrame" vs. "Iframe"

Capitals in the middle of words are not acceptable in English unless it's a proper noun for a company product and that is the way it is spellt by its producer/manufacturer. It is not a valid English word at all, but an HTML tag (see Anyone using "iFrame" is spending too much time around Apple products. This is another one of those technical terms that should only be used in the user interface with great care and backed up with more detailed explanation. So, it should be "iframe".

"html" vs. "HTML" vs. "Html"

This is an initialism so it should always be "HTML". Okay, okay, camel-case conventions mean that Joomla has a class called "JHtml" in the code, instead of "JHTML", but Joomla classes are not literary works.

plugin vs. plug-in

Whilst "plug-in" would be the correct form when the expression was first introduced, a quick search on Google suggests that "plugin" is now well-embedded in colloquial English and is the more common form. The OED still uses the hyphenated form, but that's no real surprise as it takes years for them to catch up with common usage. My personal preference is for "plugin".

Chris Davenport 11:40, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Chris I have got a handle on most of the changes that need to be made now but I would appreciate having a chat with you first. It's a lot of changes and I would prefer to only make them once.

Brian Teeman 18:27, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Ron's Comments 112310

Sorry, Chris. I didn't see your comments until just now.

I think we need to give precedence to the Associated Press Stylebook and Chicago Manual of Style over the OED in some cases (as you said, they tend to lag behind). So I will update my earlier statement based on those and what my publisher O'Reilly uses (they're the biggest publisher of technical and Web-related books so their approach is in wide usage).

drop-down- I'll change my earlier comment since O'Reilly also uses the hyphen.

backend/frontend - This is the O'Reilly usage. Yes, there's the hurdle of understanding with new users, but I don't think the spelling or a hyphen is going to solve that.

news feed- This is the O'Reilly usage. Yes, the combined version is in wide usage and I could go either way. It probably makes the best sense to be consistent with newsgroup and merge the two.

Web link- Actually the Web should be capitalized too.

iFrame- Capitals in the middle of worlds are totally acceptable. It's called camel case or Pascal case for those old school computer programmers ( ). You talk about spending too much time around Apple products as if it were a bad thing. :P That being said, "iframe" is used by O'Reilly so I'm willing to go with that.

HTML- Absolutely agree.

plug-in- This is the O'Reilly usage and AP uses it too. Since the OED does as well, I think it makes the best sense to go with the hyphen.

Brian's Comment on capitalisation

The other issue we have looking at the language files is that it appears that text that appears on screen like a label is nearly always capitalised whilst text in tooltips etc is in proper case. This capitalisation effects all the capitalisation decisions already discussed. I spoke to J-M last night on this and he said that this was a specific decision that was made. Brian Teeman 17:34, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Bear in mind that we are talking about the en-GB usage here so the AP, Chicago and O'Reilly manuals are considerably less relevant. The en-US translation is another matter, of course.

Okay, I'm happy to go with the following...

  • drop-down
  • backend/frontend
  • newsfeed
  • web link
  • iframe
  • HTML
  • plug-in

I don't think we should capitalise "the Web" (except in Web Link Manager or World-Wide Web). It looks really uncomfortable these days.

@Brian. I don't think there should be any difference in capitalisation between labels and tool-tips. Not sure where that idea came from. It doesn't make any sense to me.

One more addition to the list: I think "user name" should always be two words, not one.

Chris Davenport 17:21, 28 November 2010 (UTC)