What is the correct wording for a (programming context: PHP, Javascript, HTML, ...) project folder (= a set of files / scripts) someone else can use as a starting point?

Not talking about an empty project folder, but a project folder containing basic files and configuration.

Maybe one of those?

  • skeleton project
  • blanko project
  • blank project
  • 1
    Skeleton, blank, boilerplate, template, framework, example, standard, sample, precedent, reference are all ok. Blanko is not.
    – A E
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 19:25
  • Boilerplate is most common. Framework, example, standard, sample, precedent and reference all mean different things.
    – Carl Smith
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 23:57

3 Answers 3


I think you're talking about a template. Per Merriam-Webster:


computers : a computer document that has the basic format of something (such as a business letter, chart, graph, etc.) and that can be used many different times

  • 1
    "template", in my opinion, has the insinuation that it could be used as-is (in a generic form) or customized at will. i believe that "boilerplate" more accurately represents the idea of something that isn't ready to use, but gives a head-start towards creating a usable product. Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 19:50

Boilerplate or framework are industry terms for standardized project code; as CDO defines it

text that can be copied and used in legal documents or in computer programs, with only very small changes

LDOCE and ODO mark it as an Americanism.

I am less inclined to recommend framework as it is used loosely, and can mean different things in different contexts. Broadly, it is a abstraction of code which offers predefined code for handling complex operations in a systematic way, but is also used to refer to any development environment or platform.

While template would also be acceptable, and perhaps better understood if writing for a general audience— HTML5Boilerplate calls itself "web's most popular front-end template"— I think of a template as a skeleton for an individual page or page component, and a snippet as a small piece of re-usable code that is itself rarely modified. At the project level, a boilerplate would be composed of multiple templates and snippets organized into patterns.

Certainly, boilerplate is a term front-end developers are accustomed to: Mashable has its list of 20 boilerplates and frameworks, among which Skeleton calls itself "a beautiful boilerplate…" and Goldilocks offers "boilerplate CSS and HTML files based on current best practices"— though I hesitate to point out Gridless being "an optionated HTML5 and CSS3 boilerplate" as I don't care to help popularize "optionated" if I can avoid it.

  • +1 because "boilerplate" has a more defined meaning in the software development world than "template" (which could mean nearly anything). "framework", although sometimes used (with dubious accuracy) to describe this type of thing, usually means something different in the software world (it is a little bit closer to a "code library" than a "boilerplate"). Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 19:54

I would use "project template"

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