front means ahead, infront , forward end means last point, finishing point, but what does FRONTEND mean? for example engineering design is clear to me, but "frontend engineering design" what exactly wants to tell us about engineering design? i am looking for an explanation for frontend without any prefix of suffix actualy. purely for " frontend".

closed as not a real question by user21497, MetaEd, Kris, RegDwigнt May 17 '13 at 10:53

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  • Could you please offer some context or examples? In software engineering, front-end often refers to user interfaces, application programming interfaces, or the client side of a client-server interaction. – Bradd Szonye May 16 '13 at 11:10
  • 2
    This is a misguided fusion of the two words "front" & "end". It should probably be written front-end. If do a Google search, you'll see that most of the hits are for the hyphenated form. – user21497 May 16 '13 at 11:11
  • And front-end can be used as a verb. Yuk. But "front-end engineering design" might be a verb form. – Andrew Leach May 16 '13 at 11:17
  • The front-end is the part a user sees and interacts with, the back-end is where all the behind-the-scenes processing happens which then returns the results to the front end.its actually generalized term. – Ravindra Shekhawat May 16 '13 at 11:27

In software engineering 'front end' refers to the user interface. It is based on the idea that the part of the system that the user interacts with is the front of the system.

In electronics and signal processing the 'front end' refers to the electronics used to capture signals from the 'real' world into the electronic or digital domain. This is the front of the system in the sense signals enter through this part of the system.

In general engineering usage it refers to the early part of any process where front is used to refer to the part of the process that occurs first.

Examples would be:

'The system front end provides the ability for the user to select and view patient records.'

'The front end provides ESD protection, EMC and anti-alias filtering with a 25 MHz bandwidth.'

'The root cause of the problem was in the front end when the functional requirments were defined ambiquously.'

The specific example of 'frontend engineering design' without further context is most likely to mean the design of transducers and analogue signal processing prior to digital signal processing.

I have seen all usages in my experieance as an engineer. The most common is to refer to the input signal handling of a system as the front end.


First, the basics. Front is a deictic word, and thus its semantics are not simple.
Here's what Fillmore says about it.

Many of the expressions by which we locate one object with respect to some other object impute to that second or reference object some sort of horizontal orientation. One of the surfaces of many animals and artifacts is regarded as having a special orientational priority. The word in English for what I have in mind is front.

For animate beings having a certain degree of complexity, the front is that portion of it which contains its main organs of perception and which arrives first whenever it moves in its most characteristic manner of movement. This double criterion for frontness in animate beings may lead to some uncertainties.

I assume that for animals, the location of the main organs of perception outweighs the direction-of-movement criterion, since we speak of crabs as moving sideways, not as having heads on the sides of their bodies; and since if we found a race of people who typically get around in the way we see people move in reverse moion pictures, I believe we would say of them that they walk backwards rather than that they have faces on the back of their heads.

Artifacts or other non-living objects which living beings in some wayuse or have access to, can also sometimes be said to have fronts and backs.

  • If the object has some surface similarity to a front/back oriented animal, the portion of the object designated as its front is so designated on analogy with the associated model.

  • Objects which have a fixed orientation when they are in motion have that part which arrives earlier designated as the front.

  • Otherwise, that portion of an objects is designated its front if it is that part to which its user are oriented when they are using the object in the principal way which it was intended to be used,

  • or that part of an object is designated as its front if it is the part of the object to which its users typically or importantly or symbolically have access.

Notice, incidentally, how the user-orientation criterion and the access criterion operate differently in the case of a traditionally designed church; the user-orientation criterion designates one end of the building as its front, while the access criterion designates the opposite end as its front. One end of the church is thought of as its front on the inside, the opposite end on the outside."

(From Lecture 2, "Space", of the Deixis Lectures, by Charles Fillmore. 1981)

That's for physical fronts. But in software, everything is Metaphorical, not physical, including front and front( )end. So we have to apply the tests that Fillmore gives. How do they apply to a piece of software?

The first two criteria (natural models, which tells us which part of a rocking horse is the front end, and objects in motion, which tells us which part of a bicycle is the front) don't really apply, because there are no natural models for software (which is why it's all metaphors) and it's not in motion. So we proceed to the next two.

Fillmore's user-orientation and access criteria both suggest that the front end of a program should be its user interface, as both the part of the program to which users are oriented while in use, and as the part to which users typically and importantly (and sometimes only symbolically) have access.

As with most such fixed phrases, especially in IT English, the space in front end is optional.

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