Interface Definition Language

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Interface Definition Language

(IDL) 1. An OSF standard for defining RPC stubs.

2. Part of an effort by Project DOE at SunSoft, Inc. to integrate distributed object technology into the Solaris operating system. IDL provides the standard interface between objects, and is the base mechanism for object interaction.

The Object Management Group's CORBA 1.1 (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) specifies the interface between objects. IDL (Interface Definition Language) is the base mechanism for object interaction.

The SunSoft OMG IDL CFE (Compiler Front End) version 1.2 provides a complete framework for building CORBA 1.1-compliant preprocessors for OMG IDL. To use it you write a back-end. A complete compiler of IDL would translate IDL into client side and server side routines for remote communication in the same manner as Sun's current RPCL compiler. The IDL compiler front end allows integration of new back ends which can translate IDL to various programming languages.

Several companies including Sunsoft are building back ends to the CFE which translate IDL into target languages, e.g. Pascal or C++, in the context of planned CORBA-compliant products. IDL requires C++ 2.1.

Not to be confused with any of the other IDLs.

E-mail: <>.,

Telephone: Mache Creeger, SunSoft, Inc. +1 (415) 336 5884.


(1) (Interface Definition Language, Interface Description Language) A language used to describe the interface to a software component or routine in a manner that is not dependent on a particular programming language or operating system. Because an IDL is independent of language and machine, it enables communications between applications running in different operating environments. For example, the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) discloses the interface for routines that provide Web services. Likewise, the CORBA system, a service oriented architecture (SOA) that predates Web services, uses an IDL. See WSDL and CORBA.

(2) (Interactive Data Language) An interpreted programming language from ITT Visual Information Solutions, Boulder, CO (, formerly Research Systems, Inc., that runs on Windows, Mac and various Unix platforms. It is used to write image processing and visualization applications. Well known products written in IDL include Research Systems' own ENVI software and the RiverTools application from Rivix, LLC.

A Scientific and Aerospace Influence
Initially created for NASA astronomers by David Stern, founder of RSI in 1977, IDL provides high-level commands for accessing images, performing data analyses and displaying 3D objects. IDL includes a complete development environment and also comes as an ActiveX control so that its routines can be accessed from user interfaces written in other languages such as Visual Basic. IDL On the Net, or ION, is a family of products that lets applications be shared across a network. IDL VM (Virtual Machine) is a free runtime utility that allows distribution of compiled IDL code applets.

In 2000, Eastman Kodak acquired RSI as a wholly owned subsidiary, then sold it to ITT Corporation in 2004, along with its Remote Sensing Systems division.
References in periodicals archive ?
The other 32 papers explore such topics as dynamic quality of service management for multicast tactical communications, authentication in time-triggered systems using the time-delayed release of keys, a generalized model to control the throughput in a processor for real-time applications, a time-predictable object cache, refactoring real-time Java profiles, improving confidence in measurement-based timing analysis, roll-forward recovery with state estimation, generating valid interface definition language from succinct models, multicore-aware code positioning to improve worst-case performance, and enabling parallelism and resource sharing in multi-core component-based systems.
* Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA)--1990s: CORBA brought about the first interface definition language (IDL) standard and the first widely recognized "yellow pages" lookup standard, as well as many more distributed computing standards that were modeled afterward in the systems we use today.
All CF interfaces are defined in Interface Definition Language (IDL) that is independent of programming language and can be compiled into programs created in C++, ADA, or Java.
Part of CORBA standard is the Interface Definition Language (IDL), which is an implementation-independent language for describing the interface of remote objects.
These node schemas show that the interface definition language refers to the fragment repository, the domain ontology and the hyperbook ontology in a uniform way.
Several member companies of the Object Management Group (OMG), announced the organisation's intent to standardise a Language Mapping from OMG Interface Definition Language (OMG IDL, currently an ISO and ITU-T International Standard) to C#, Microsoft's newly proposed development language.
Created in partnership with Microsoft specialist Wintrac Inc., the series addresses all aspects of COM including: COM design techniques, COM threading models and Interface Definition Language (IDL).

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