Tech Terms

Utilize our glossary to learn the proper Connectivity Terms to understand and communicate what your business needs. It helps to speak the same language as your tech partners.

Agile Development:
A software development process where companies break-up development and release of software into two-week ‘sprints’ instead of multi-month or years-long releases, referred to as a water fall method.

Artificial Intelligence – a program that is designed to perform in a human-like way instead of following specific commands. A vehicle that is tasked from going from Point A to Point B but changes course because of an obstacle is thought to have Artificial Intelligence.

An application programming interface (API) is a way for software programs and developers to send or receive data to get real-time information or incorporate features or functionality. APIs can be made freely available or require registration and fees. Pricing models are typically based on the number of ‘calls’ or times that an API’s data is accessed. Granting API access to a data set can increase revenue streams, incorporating 3rd party data can improve customer service such as weather forecasts and driving directions.

A process that confirms that a user or program has access to certain data or features. The most common authentication process is a username and password, however fingerprint and facial recognition has become more common.

Business-to-business (B2B) is a business model that involves businesses that perform services or provide products for other businesses. Business information may also be shared.  In the technology context, B2B is a form of e-commerce and it can involve businesses that manufacture a product, provide a service or have a merchandise component that is sold to another business, which then advertises or markets the product on its web site for sale to consumers.

Business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) is an e-commerce model that combines business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) for a complete product or service transaction. B2B2C is a collaboration process that, in theory, creates mutually beneficial service and product delivery channels.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) is an Internet and e-commerce model that denotes a financial transaction or online sale between a business and consumer.

Back End:
A name to refer to how data is stored and transferred. Much like the term ‘back of the house’ in hospitality. Back end features facilitate products and services but is not touched on directly by end users.

Blockchain is a type of technology that is designed to record transactions between two parties efficiently and permanently. Made popular by the concept of digital-currency, or bitcoin, blockchain can be visualized as a ‘ledger’ that is a source of truth of the history of an item. In blockchain, technology is being used for the transfer and redeeming of loyalty points between suppliers, providing documentation of the authorization to sell and distribute tickets, tracking of the payment of fees and taxes. Blockchain technology is also applied to supply chains to track individual parts from creation to service of an airplane engine for use in maintenance reports.

Pronounced ‘cash’ – A cache, in computing, is a data storing technique that provides the ability to access data or files at a higher speed. Caches are implemented both in hardware and software. Caching serves as an intermediary component between the primary storage appliance and the recipient hardware or software device to reduce the latency in data access.

Chain Code:
A two letter code used in distribution systems to identify a hotel chain. A property needs to be associated with a chain code to be listed in a GDS (Global Distribution System). HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Networking Association) administers the list of available chain codes.

Channel Manager:
A service that manages how a given supplier’s inventory is shared, displayed, offered and booked on various web sites or channels. A channel manager syncs information from a supplier’s database to activity happening across various channels.

Content Management System (CMS):
An interface associated with the management of a website that allows for the creation and sharing of data or content across a single or multiple platforms. A CMS will make it so a newly created blog post will have the appropriate style for a brand’s website and a different format for social media, etc.

Distribution (distro) is a process of delivering software from a developer to the end user. Software distribution ranges from OS server distribution to interpreter distribution.

End User:
The individual or company a product or service is designed for and typically those who pay for it. In software development, it is important to focus on the ‘end user’ in order to prioritize features and functionality people actually value.

Front End:
A name to refer to how data is displayed and accessed by customers. Much like the term ‘front of the house’ in hospitality. Front end features are typically accessed directly by end users.

A hackathon – or hack fest or hack day or similar variant – is a gathering where programmers, typically organized in teams, work on a single issue or compete for prizes following specific challenges. Some companies, governments or associations will sponsor hack-a-thons to address complex problems or raise awareness for their products and services. Companies may host internal hack-a-thons to drive innovation. Nonprofits may host hack-a-thons to raise awareness for social issues. Hack-a-thons traditionally span a weekend – 72 hours – but may be more or less depending on the guidelines.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) an organization funded by airlines via membership dues that creates global standards imposed on the industry. The most famous contribution from IATA is the three letter codes used to identify airports around the world.

Java is a widely adopted programming language created in the 1990s that is the basis for many of the features on web sites and mobile phones today. Java is an object-oriented program language, meaning the code can be ‘reusable’ within an application lowering the size of the application and allowing it to run faster.

JavaScript Object Notation is an open standard data exchange format based on a JavaScript syntax subset. JSON is text-based, lightweight, and generally considered easily readable/writeable. JSON uses conventions similar to other languages (e.g., C, C++, Java, Perl and Python), making JSON an ideal data- exchange language. JSON characteristics include the following:

  • Flexibility, allowing the programmer to define keys.
  • Less overhead, as content is mostly
  • Portable data.
  • Non-proprietary.

Common and convenient format for Web services.

Legacy code:
Even the most cutting-edge technology will eventually become ‘dated’ as innovation evolves. If a company does not invest in newer technology, eventually their core business will be operating on technology or software that will limit innovation, this ‘legacy code’ changes from being a driver of revenue to a cost center that becomes more expensive to maintain.

Log Files:
A file that documents all the activity that took place on a database or from a program. A log file will traditionally store data about when a user logged in, whether they have attempted a search, a booking, cancellation, etc.

Machine Learning:
A program that can analyze data and produce results without following specific commands. An ML program may analyze the text in a chat to differentiate if someone is lodging a complaint or making a request and flag it for the appropriate person.

A term used in software development that stands for Minimal Viable Product, or the smallest product with the least complexity that a customer would pay for. Associated with Agile development, this process allows companies to get feedback on their products and features quickly and focus on the aspects people want.

Object Oriented Programming:
A coding style that separates individual features of a larger program into objects that can quickly be referenced and accessed throughout an application. This style allows a developer to write a piece of code once and reuse it multiple times by simple referencing. This approach reduces the size of program, speeds up use as well as reduces the time and cost of creating and maintaining programs.

Open Source:
Open source is a philosophy that promotes the free access and distribution of an end product, usually software or a program, although it may extend to the implementation and design of other objects. Open source implies that any developer can view the underlining – or source – code of an application. Communities will form around certain languages where the maintenance and enhancement of the software is shared by many people vs. a single entity. The advantages to open source are that vulnerabilities and flaws can be discovered and addressed quickly and any new feature or need can be built by those that most need it. The term open source gained traction with the growth of the Internet because of the need to rework massive amounts of program source code. When source code is opened to the public it allows for the creation of different communication paths and interactive technical communities; it also leads to a diverse array of new models.

Property Management Systems (PMS):
A back-end program or service that manages inventory and assists in the displaying of rates, availability and the assigning or rooms. A PMS will interface with the channel managers to accurately display rates and availability.

Push and Pull Models: 
An API can either send out data (push) or request data (pull). If you are looking to see if the rate or availability has changed, you either have to go to the website and request new data (pull model) or the website can alert recipients that data has changed (push model).

Representational State Transfer (REST) is an architectural style for an API that follows six constraints reflected in the verbs: GET, PUT, POST, DELETE, UPDATE, and PATCH. An API that follows the REST architecture is considered to be RESTful.

Schema (API):
A schema is a data structure or template. By agreeing to a particular schema upfront, developers can design a database before there is data to populate it. The most commonly used schemas for APIs are JSON and XSD although there are others in use in particular domains. OpenTravel 2.0 Messaging can be output in both JSON or XSD (XML). A schema describes how a data object while a specification includes how those requests and responses are formatted.

Specification (API):
An API specification is a standardized way for data exchange between two parties. The value of an agreed upon specification allows for the data that is being exchanged via an API to be independent of the underlining technology that is either sending or receiving the data.

A software development term where projects are divided into smaller – traditionally two-week – segments called sprints where resources are focused on short term accomplishments that are part of a larger plan referred to as a roadmap. Smaller sprints and quicker releases facilitate course corrections based on end-user feedback.

A token is a unique identifier given to a program, individual or company that is requesting access to a product or service via API. Tokens can be set and altered to allow terms and conditions associated with a given accessing data through an API. Tokens offer greater security and control vs. a basic username and password.

Virtual Credit Card:
Virtual credit cards (VCC) are online cards that are not physically issued by the credit card provider. It is usually a free service provided by the original card issuer to their customers who want to perform an online payment with the help of their credit cards. Virtual credit cards include a one-time-use credit card number created by the respective credit card provider. Typically, virtual credit card numbers can be used only once, and may expire within a month if not used. This helps protect the customer from becoming a victim of online credit card fraud.

Web Portal: 
A web portal is a specially designed website that often serves as the single point of access for information. It can also be considered a library of personalized and categorized content. A web portal helps in search navigation, personalization, notification and information integration, and often provides features like task management, collaboration, and business intelligence and application integration.

An acronym for Extensible Markup Language, XML is a markup language and data architecture that acts as a set of rules to share, search and store data that can be read easily by humans and software programs. XML is a free and open standard and is commonly used to exchange information over the Internet. XML differs from HTML in that XML allows you to define the ‘tags’ for each component making it extremely flexible to adapt to different uses. XML documents must follow a specific format and syntax rules. OpenTravel Messaging originated in XML format and is still in wide use today, but newer applications tend to be JSON format.