Real-time Technology Glossary

An ever-growing repository of technical terms around real-time technology and beyond.

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Ajax (Programming)

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) is a web development protocol that serves as a technique used to effectively send and retrieve data in the background without having to refresh a webpage.

Augmented Analytics

Augmented Analytics is the integration of AI-enabled cognitive services (natural language processing, knowledge engines) to provide a new way to analyze, process, crunch, and derive insights from data.


Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user, server, app or device to proceed to log in to a system and access its resources.


Authorization is the process of granting permissions to a user, application, or server to access and modify resources on a system.


BOSH (Protocol)

Bidirectional-streams Over Synchronous HTTP (BOSH) is a transport protocol that creates bi-directional TCP connectivity between client and server.

Business Associate Agreement (BAA)

BAA (Business Associate Agreement) is a contract between a HIPAA-covered entity (the organization who is delivering the product), and HIPAA business associates (the organization or vendor working with the entity to store, transmit, or process PHI).


Chat API

A Chat API is a collection of programmable building blocks that can be used to provide real-time chat features to an application or website.

Comet (Programming)

Comet is a web application design paradigm that describes a continuous, two-way interaction between a server and a web browser using native HTTP methods.


Directions API

A Directions API is a service that software developers can use to plot routes between places on a map and provide guidance on how to get there.


Explainable AI (XAI)

Explainable AI is an AI service whose outputs can be explained, and all processes and machine learning are accessible to be analyzed.


Fan-out (Software)

Fan-out is a messaging pattern where messages are broadcast in a one-to-many arrangement. A basic example of this pattern can be seen in the functionality of a Publish/Subscribe messaging system, as Pub/Sub implies the ability to route messages from a single sender to multiple receivers.


Faye is a publish/subscribe messaging protocol that is built on the Bayeux protocol, a messaging system utilized for transporting asynchronous messages over HTTP.

Functions as a Service

FaaS is a category of cloud capabilities that contributes to the pursuit of serverless computing.


General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, has created new privacy rights for EU consumers while raising new challenges for businesses, advertisers, and ad networks.


Geocoding (also known as forward geocoding to distinguish it from reverse geocoding) is that it is the process of converting addresses (e.g. a house number, street name, zip code), into geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude).

Geographic Information System (GIS)

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a database and management hub containing a collection of spatial or geographic data.


Geohashing is a geocoding method used to encode geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) into a short string of digits and letters delineating an area on a map, which is called a cell, with varying resolutions. The more characters in the string, the more precise the location.

Geolocation API

A Geolocation API is a communication interface between a client device or application (client-side), and an application or service (server-side) that identifies and returns information about the client’s geographical location.


Geostatistics comprises a collection of statistical methods used to model spatial/temporal data and discern patterns in geographical phenomena, which by nature are subject to space-related and time-related variations.



Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures the protection and confidentiality of protected health information (PHI).


HTTP/2 is the new version of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), superseding HTTP/1.1 with several optimizations designed to improve the speed of web communications.

HTTP Streaming

HTTP Streaming is a push-style data transfer technique that allows a web server to continuously send data to a client over a single HTTP connection that remains open indefinitely.


In-App Chat

In-app chat is a chat interface within an app or product, enabling users to communicate in real time privately or in a group.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a model of cloud computing in which all physical infrastructure to support a computing environment is provided by a third party.

IP Messaging

IP Messaging describes the general use of TCP/IP (the Internet protocol) to provide messaging capabilities to web and mobile applications.



JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is an open standard messaging format used to exchange data between, and within, all types of web applications and servers.



Localization (l10n) is of making something specific to a particular location, including language, culture, legal and compliance, imagery, or financial modifications. 


Map API (Mapping API)

A map API allows developers to build location-based apps and features including: geocoding, reverse geocoding, geolocation, directions and navigation.

Map Marker

A map marker is a symbolic pin or place marker that identifies a location on a map.

Messaging API

Messaging API refers to any service that enables developers to implement messaging technologies in an application via a single programmable interface.


A microservice is a special form of SOA in which apps are built in terms of distinct modular services, each responsible for a specific function.


Navigation API

Navigation APIs are used to manage the minutia of navigation after departure and destination locations have been identified (via a Directions API).


ngrok is a cross-platform application that enables developers to expose a local development server to the Internet with minimal effort.


PHI (Protected Health Information)

PHI (Protected Health Information) is a category of information that includes all individually-identifiable health information

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a model of cloud computing where a ready-made computing environment is made available to developers to test and deploy apps.

Privacy Shield Certification

The Privacy Shield program is a data protection framework for US organizations who seek to become compliant with current European and/or Swiss privacy regulations regarding the transfer of EU residents' personal data to the US.

Publish-Subscribe (Pub/Sub)

Publish-Subscribe is a software design pattern that describes the flow of messages between applications, devices, or services in terms of a publisher-to-subscriber relationship.

Push Notification

A Push Notification is a type of notification that forces the display of a new message to the user's current interface. Depending on the application, these messages may either originate from a local application backend or remotely in the cloud.


Real Time Computing

Real time computing, or reactive computing, is a concept that describes any computing system that must respond to changes in the environment according to definite time constraints, usually on the order of milliseconds.

Real Time Data

Real-time data is any data that represents a recent change in an environment, whether the environment is physical (natural processes) or virtual (instant messaging, social media).

Real Time Messaging

Real-time messaging refers to the distribution and delivery of messages that are designed to be consumed or otherwise used in real time (i.e. as events occur and no later).

Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP)

RTMP or Real Time Messaging Protocol is a proprietary system that is utilized for streaming live video feeds to devices running Flash.


Serverless Compute

Serverless compute refers to the practice of running application code on servers that are provisioned as-needed by a third party cloud provider.

Server-Sent Events (SSE)

Sometimes clients simply need to fetch data from servers (news feeds, stock market prices, sports scores). That's where server-sent events come into play.


Microsoft ASP.NET developed SignalR, a software library that utilizes traditional HTTP connections that allow real-time connectivity between server and clients.

Smart Notification

Smart Notifications is a relatively new concept used to describe the various techniques designed to make real-time, push-style messaging (such as Push Notifications) more relevant, useful, and appropriate for individual users.

SMS (Short Message Service)

SMS (Short Message Service) is a way to send short, 160-character text messages from one mobile device to another over the cellular telephone network.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a messaging protocol that comprises a strict set of rules governing data transfer between clients and servers.


Socket.IO is a cross-browser JavaScript library that provides bidirectional, event-driven communication capabilities for use in real time applications.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a model of cloud computing in which complete applications are hosted in the cloud (i.e. on the Internet) and offered to consumers on-demand, usually via web browser.


With the challenge of exchanging information online growing in difficulty due to the sizes of video and picture files, the SPDY protocol was developed by Google to aid in efficient data exchange, especially as websites continue to grow more robust.


Team Collaboration Tool

A team collaboration tool is any application that makes it easy for a group to work together on a common project in real time.



A webhook is a technique used by a web application to send notifications to a specific, user-defined URL when something happens.


WebSocket is a transport protocol defined by a persistent, bidirectional communication channel between server and client that takes place over a single TCP socket connection.



XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is an open source, decentralized messaging protocol that was born from Jabber, an early real-time chat protocol.

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