When writing about computing, should I refer to a component in the front-end or on the front-end? For example:

It was decided to place the function in the front-end

Or should it be

It was decided to place the function on the front-end

Is it the same preposition for the back-end?

I will appreciate any help with this, as grammar-checking websites consider both sentences correct, and I see many instances of both in and on the front/back-end on books.google.com/ngrams.

  • Depends on where you're placing it. Are you placing it in the box labeled "front end", or attaching it to the front of another box?
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 1, 2019 at 17:21
  • @HotLicks, the front-end in this case is a program that presents to a user a set of functions to control some hardware, and hides the details about how to actually use the hardware. All these details are contained in the back-end. I think the function in this example is inside a box labeled "front-end"; however, this box is placed in front of the "back-end" box.
    – David
    Jun 1, 2019 at 17:27
  • I was a computer programmer for over 40 years.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 1, 2019 at 17:29
  • @HotLicks, sorry if I sound like I'm oversimplifying, I'm just trying to make the example as general as possible.
    – David
    Jun 1, 2019 at 17:32
  • 1
    It was decided to make the function a part of the front-end.
    – Jim
    Jun 1, 2019 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


Looking at some examples of the phrases "in the backend" and "on the backend" on Google Books, it seems that anything that runs in the backend (processes, services, etc.) you put in the backend. You use on, for example, when you install something on the backend. When referring to work, you work on the backend, or work is done on the backend.

Some examples I found:

  • Back end is sometimes used in relation to business functions that take place in the back office. If the term office fits naturally into your exposition in place of end, then in will probably sound natural as a preposition. Jun 1, 2019 at 19:39

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