What Does Polyfill Mean?

A polyfill is a code module or resource that fulfills the need of a developer. The term was coined to describe something that would fill in the gap when a certain platform lacks the functionality that developers expected.


Techopedia Explains Polyfill

In many cases, people talk about the polyfill as a kind of shim. This type of code will typically provide changes to an API that can fix problems with older platform or application versions. The idea of using a polyfill supports the more general idea of linking technologies with APIs.

This term comes from a type of spackling compound or paste used to fill holes wood, drywall or plaster walls. The term has somewhat caught on in the Web development community to talk about upgrading functionality for HTML5 or other technologies through adding plug-in code pieces that take the place of native functionality.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…