Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

In programming, canonical means "according to the rules." And non-canonical means "not according to the rules." In the early Christian church, the "canon" was the officially chosen text. In The New Hacker's Dictionary , Eric Raymond tells us that the word meant "reed" in its Greek and Latin origin, and a certain length of reed came to be used as a standard measure. In some knowledge areas, such as music and literature, the "canon" is the body of work that everyone studies.

The terms are sometimes used to distinguish whether a programming interface follows a particular standard or precedent or whether it departs from it.

Also see canonicalization .

This was last updated in July 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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