backward compatibleCompatible with earlier models or versions of the same product. A new version of a program is said to be backward compatible if it can use files and data created with an older version of the same program. A computer is said to be backward compatible if it can run the same software as the previous model of the computer.
Backward compatibility is important because it eliminates the need to start over when you upgrade to a newer product. A backward-compatible word processor, for instance, allows you to edit documents created with a previous version of the program. In general, manufacturers try to keep all their products backward compatible. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to sacrifice backward compatibility to take advantage of a new technology.
The flip side of backward compatibility is upward compatibility. Upward compatible is the same as backward compatible, except that it is from the point of view of the older model.
Another term for backward compatible is downward compatible.
Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the current devices that we use today. Read More »Cloud Computing Market Leaders, 2015
If not for AWS, Microsoft would dominate the cloud. The race to capture market share will grow ever more fierce in the years ahead. Here's a look... Read More »OpenStack Brings Liberty to the Cloud
Massive changes set to come to the cloud as Big Tent model lands in widely deployed cloud platform used by Walmart, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner... Read More »
From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »