What Does Canonical Mean?

Canonical, in computer science, is the standard state or behavior of an attribute. This term is borrowed from mathematics, where it is used to refer to concepts that are unique and/or natural.


Also known as canonicity or canonicality.

Techopedia Explains Canonical

The term canonical depicts the standard state or manner of something. For instance, the XML signature defines canonicalization as a process to convert XML content to canonical form. In enterprise application integration, on the other hand, the canonical model is a design pattern that is used to communicate between different data formats where another format, the canonical format, is introduced.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.