This question is about programming (web development to be more specific).

I've been trying to find a word to describe a website that completely works from the frontend users perspective. But on the backend, nothing is actually being validated. So the application/website would be very easy for someone to screw around with (like deleting other users posts).

Best I've got at the moment is that it's "loosely built". But still requires a lot of explaining to make sense.

Has anyone heard of a expression/word for this? It doesn't have to be related to programming. You could also think of this as a building made out of paper mache, it might look solid and sturdy but it would very easily break.


Edit/Clarification: Just to make it more clear. I mean that the website as mentioned above actually is intended to be complete and is currently a work in progress. Lets say this is a project for a client. He sees the website as 100% complete. But it might actually only be 20% complete (because nothing is validating on the backend, etc). So there is a lot more work to finish the project that it seems to be for outsiders.

  • vulnerable, proof of concept, glass house, demo, a shoddy imitation using pinball machine parts.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 12:07
  • If people understand that it's not complete I'd call it a "prototype" or "test bed".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 12:10

4 Answers 4


A mock-up is a rough draft meant to give a sense of how the finished product will look or function.

From http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/mock-up

1. A mock-up is a rough draft meant to give a sense of how the finished product will look or function.

  • A model or replica of a machine or structure, used for instructional or experimental purposes.

Example sentences

  • With full-size prototypes, mock-ups and models made with sample materials, tactility, texture, tone and technique are expressed.
  • This wasn't just any ordinary old white van either, according to the police, who said it was so unusual that it took time to provide a mock-up model for last week's crime reconstruction at the bank.
  • It has to be clear that the mock-up is for information purposes only, not to solicit comments for a redesign.

1.1 An arrangement of text and pictures to be printed: More example sentences

  • A mock-up of the following day’s front page.
  • Management reviewed the text and mock-ups, but largely left the project to the author and designer.
  • In the next picture (a mock-up of the preferences screen) you've seen that I've put in an option to make that name editable or uneditable.
  • Last Saturday, a tabloid published a mock-up picture of him wearing a dunce's cap.
  • 2
    Please do not post images of text.  They are impossible to read for blind people, and impossible to search, copy and paste.  (Post text as text.) Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 12:07
  • Good suggestion.
    – DavidC
    Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 12:42


pl.n. Informal The basic elements or essentials

"outlined the bare bones of the proposal"


not very developed or advanced

Or, if it's easily breakable

House of cardsTFD

an organization or a plan that is very weak and can easily be destroyed

"Their partners began to suspect that the company was a financial house of cards."

  • I'm a programmer, too – "rudimentary" and "unsecured" (meaning "we haven't tried yet"; note that "insecure" could mean "we tried and failed, or perhaps we have poor self-esteem, or both" problems any which way) come to mind. Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 6:32

A common term used by programmers for a preliminary version of a program (for example, one that has much of the user interface roughed out but very little of the functionality behind it — “under the hood”) is prototype.

a first, typical or preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied.  Source

a rudimentary working model of a product or information system, usually built for demonstration purposes or as part of the development process.  Source

There is a phrase thin client in computing:

a client designed to be especially small so that the bulk of the data processing occurs on the server.  Source

A thin client is a lightweight computer that is purpose-built for remoting into a server (typically cloud or desktop virtualization environments).  It depends heavily on another computer (its server) to fulfill its computational roles.  Source

… all of which is a fancy way of saying that a thin client doesn’t actually have much capability, but it gives the illusion of having capability.  Therefore, if you were to coin the phrase thin prototype, people might understand what you meant.

A more mundane term that might also work is façade:

a superficial appearance or illusion of something  Source

a way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of your true feelings or situation  Source

See also: What is the word for something that is based on a prototype?


To name such experimental sites we usually use terms like: surrogate or dummy.

  • This would definitely fit. But in my case I don't mean it as a experimental website. It's more like a work in progress (that will in the end be complete, with validation and all the such). I'll clarify this is my question.
    – Liren
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 12:03
  • Demo or Proof of Concept?
    – Attila
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 13:00

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