Interface description language

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Not to be confused with IDL (programming language).

An interface description language (or alternatively, interface definition language), or IDL for short, is a specification language used to describe a software component's interface. IDLs describe an interface in a language-independent way, enabling communication between software components that do not share a language – for example, between components written in C++ and components written in Java.

IDLs are commonly used in remote procedure call software. In these cases the machines at either end of the "link" may be using different operating systems and computer languages. IDLs offer a bridge between the two different systems.

Software systems based on IDLs include Sun's ONC RPC, The Open Group's Distributed Computing Environment, IBM's System Object Model, the Object Management Group's CORBA (which implements OMG IDL, an IDL based on DCE/RPC), Mozilla's XPCOM, Facebook's Thrift and WSDL for Web services.

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