Frontend and backend

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In software engineering, the terms frontend and backend (or sometimes referred to as back end or back-end) refer to the separation of concerns between the presentation layer (frontend), and the data access layer (backend) of a piece of software, or the physical infrastructure or hardware. In the client–server model, the client is usually considered the frontend and the server is usually considered the backend, even when some presentation work is actually done on the server itself.


In software architecture, there may be many layers between the hardware and end user. The front is an abstraction, simplifying the underlying component by providing a user-friendly interface, while the back usually handles data storage and business logic.

In telecommunication, the front can be considered a device or service, while the back is the infrastructure that supports provision of service.

A rule of thumb is that the client-side (or "frontend") is any component manipulated by the user. The server-side (or "backend") code usually resides on the server, often far removed physically from the user.

Software definitions[edit]

Web development as an example[edit]

Another way to understand the difference between the two is to understand the knowledge required of a front-end vs. a back-end software developer. The list below focuses on web development as an example.


Front-end focused[edit]

Back-end focused[edit]

Note that both positions, despite possibly working on one product, have a very distinct set of skills.


The frontend communicates with backend through an API. In the case of web and mobile frontends, the API is often based on HTTP request/response. The API is sometimes designed using the "Backend for Frontend" (BFF) pattern, that serves responses to ease the processing on frontend side.[4]

Hardware definitions[edit]

In network computing, frontend can refer to any hardware that optimizes or protects network traffic.[5] It is called application front-end hardware because it is placed on the network's outward-facing frontend or boundary. Network traffic passes through the front-end hardware before entering the network.

In processor design, frontend design would be the initial description of the behavior of a circuit in a hardware description language such as Verilog, while backend design would be the process of mapping that behavior to physical transistors on a die.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thapliyal, Vimal. "Difference Between Frontend and Backend MVC – Joomlatuts". Archived from the original on 2016-12-30. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  2. ^ Gutierrez--Osuna, Ricardo. "L18: Speech synthesis (backend)" (PDF). Texas A&M University. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  3. ^ Bin Muhammad, Rashid. "Operating Systems Notes". Kent State University. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  4. ^ Wickramarachchi, Viduni (24 February 2021). "The BFF Pattern (Backend for Frontend): An Introduction". Bits and pieces. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  5. ^ O'Dell, Mike. "Network Front-End Processors, Yet Again | June 2009 | Communications of the ACM". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  6. ^ "Front-End Design | Online Documentation for Altium Products". Retrieved 2016-12-30.