Part of the Software applications glossary:

Front-end and back-end are terms used to characterize program interfaces and services relative to the initial user of these interfaces and services. (The "user" may be a human being or a program.) A "front-end" application is one that application users interact with directly. A "back-end" application or program serves indirectly in support of the front-end services, usually by being closer to the required resource or having the capability to communicate with the required resource. The back-end application may interact directly with the front-end or, perhaps more typically, is a program called from an intermediate program that mediates front-end and back-end activities.

For example, the Telephony Application Program Interface ( TAPI ) is sometimes referred to as a front-end interface for telephone services. A program's TAPI requests are mapped by Microsoft's TAPI Dynamic Link Library programs (an intermediate set of programs) to a "back-end" program or driver that makes the more detailed series of requests to the telephone hardware in the computer.

As another example, a front-end application might interface directly with users and forward requests to a remotely-located back-end program in another computer to get requested data or perform a requested service. Relative to the client/server computing model, a front-end is likely to be a client and a back-end to be a server.

This was last updated in May 2006
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • search-based applications (SBAs)

    - Search-based applications (SBAs) are applications that use a search engine platform as the backbone to access information residing in various file types. (SearchContentManagement.com)

  • sub-release

    - A sub-release is a slightly supplemented or improved version of a software product offered for purchase rather than as a free update to the existing version. A developer or vendor may choose to do... (WhatIs.com)

  • site scraper

    - A site scraper is a type of software used to copy content from a website. Site scrapers work similarly to web crawlers, which essentially perform the same function for the purposes of indexing web... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Software applications

    - Terms related to software applications, including definitions about software programs for vertical industries and words and phrases about software development, use and management.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.