The latest poll around herekicked off asking how you prefer spell this job we all do around here: frontend? front end? Front-End?

I asked because 1) I didn’t know if there was a "right" answer 2) Even if there is a right answer, it doesn’t seem adhered to.

Right now on thejob board: FrontEnd (1), Frontend (2), Front End (6), Front-end (1). I see variations of it all over the place all the time.

So the poll let’s us figure out what people like. Maybe a little language cowpathing. In the conversation that happened around the poll though, it seems like there really is a right answer and that’s probably good to cover first.

The right answer seems to be…

Summarized well by Philip Walton:

The term “front-end” is correct when used as a compound adjective, and the term “front end” is correct when used as a noun.

Here’s some example sentences then:

Poll Results: “front-end” and “front end”

Tom Harley also wrote in with a helpful explanation:

When nouns are grouped together to behave like an adjective, they use no hyphens if they are at the terminus of a sentence. They only use hyphens when they are prepositional to the noun they’re affecting. For example:

“That movie is three hours long.”“That is a three-hour-long movie.”

“That guy designs for the front end.”“That guy is a front-end designer.”

That seems correct. I’m sure it is. I don’t know how to verify it exactly. Seems like the bible for that kind of thing is the AP Stylebook, but you have pay to even see that, which kinda makes me not even care what it says. And it might not say anything at all, since this seems more like a rule than a specific case.

The poll results

The results of the poll, with over 56K votes, are widely split:

Poll Results: “front-end” and “front end”

I had extra options in there for capitalization differences too, as I was thinking that since it’s kind of the name of a thing and sometimes used as a title , maybe it’s supposed to be always capitalized? That doesn’t seem to be the case though. So normalizing by that…

"frontend" = 22%

"front end" = 22%

"front-end" = 56%

That’s good, because I bet the most common use is the compound adjective format ("I am a front-end developer.")

Still a good amount of votes for "frontend", but I think we might have to throw in the towel on that one and admit it’s not a word.