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Forward engineering is the process of building from a high-level model or concept to build in complexities and lower-level details. This type of engineering has different principles in various software and database processes.
Generally, forward engineering is important in IT because it represents the 'normal’ development process. For example, building from a model into an implementation language. This will often result in loss of semantics, if models are more semantically detailed, or levels of abstraction.
Forward engineering is thus related to the term 'reverse engineering,’ where there is an effort to build backward, from a coded set to a model, or to unravel the process of how something was put together.