Java IDL (Interface Definition Language) provides a binding between Java objects and the OMG's (Object Management Group's) CORBA. CORBA, the common object request broker, allows objects written in different languages such as C++, Smalltalk, and Java, to communicate and interact across distributed, heterogeneous systems. Java IDL includes an IDL-to-Java compiler and a lightweight ORB that supports IIOP (the Internet Inter-Orb Protocol). This is now included as a standard part of Java 1.2.

For an introduction to CORBA and Java and how they relate, see:

Java Programming with CORBA and IDL cover
Client/Server Programming with JAVA and CORBA

by Robert Orfali & Dan Harkey

This book has stirred a lot of controversy among the distributed object community. The consensus seems to be that it does a good job with CORBA and IDL, but not so great with RMI and DCOM. However this particular community isn't one known for rational, unbiased, objective discussions in the first place so that's no great surprise. In any case, whether you love it or hate it you should read it.

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Copyright 1997, 1999 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified April 22, 1999