Interoperability is the ability of a system or a product to work with other systems or products without special effort on the part of the customer.
Interoperability becomes a quality of increasing importance for information technology products as the concept that "The network is the computer" becomes a reality. For this reason, the term is widely used in product marketing descriptions. A good example of the first approach is the set of standards that have been developed for the World Wide Web. These standards include TCP/IP, Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and HTML. The second kind of interoperability approach is exemplified by the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) and its Object Request Broker (ORB). Compatibility is a related term. A product is compatible with a standard but interoperable with other products that meet the same standard (or achieve interoperability through a broker).
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