Backward compatibility is a design that is compatible with previous versions of itself. This typically means that it can seamlessly use the same data and equipment. Backward compatibility is important to products that accept data such as user input. Customers will be hesitant to buy a product that makes their work obsolete or requires cumbersome migration.
It can be expensive to maintain backward compatibility as a product becomes bloated with code to support old versions. It is common to establish a roadmap whereby support for old versions of data formats and equipment are eventually dropped from the product.Forward compatibility is a design that is compatible with future versions of itself. This usually means that it tries to accept future data formats or includes dormant physical features that may be useful to the future. The future is often unknown and forward compatibility is associated with flexible designs that won't fail when things change. This may be achieved by simply skipping things the current design doesn't understand instead of throwing an error. For example, HTML is tolerant of tags or attributes it doesn't understand so that a developer can add new tags early.
|Backward Compatibility||Forward Compatibility |
|Definition||A design that is compatible with previous versions of itself.||A design that attempts to be as compatible as possible with future versions of itself.|
|Example||A mobile device that can display old image formats.||A mobile device that skips anything it doesn't understand in an image in an attempt to display future image formats.|
This is the complete list of articles we have written about design.
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
A list of common design considerations.
An overview of lightness in design.
The common types of design constraint.
The definition of design to cost with examples.
The different between design-to-value and design-to-cost with examples.
A list of design objectives.
A list of common design goals.
An overview of design function with examples.
An overview of design composition with examples.
A list of what is included in design requirements.
A comprehensive guide to design.
An overview of color theory.
The arrangement of the elements of a design or work of art.
The difference between modeless and contextual user interfaces explained.
A list of common types of design.
The steps in a design process.
The common types of design quality.
A definition of universal design with examples.
A definition of sensory design with examples.
An overview of emotional design.
The definition of elegance with examples.
TrendingThe most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.
Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
© 2010-2023 Simplicable. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of materials found on this site, in any form, without explicit permission is prohibited.
View credits & copyrights or citation information for this page.