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In distributed computing, an Interoperable Object Reference (IOR) is a reference to a CORBA or RMI-IIOP object.

IORs may be “stringified,” or represented by a string of printable characters to facilitate sharing of object references by non-CORBA mechanisms such as HTTP, FTP, and e-mail. Stringified IORs consist of the prefix IOR:, followed by a sequence of hexadecimal digits.

The internal structure of IOR may contain multiple components. Each component is identified by its integer code and has its own binary format. The codes are assigned by OMG. The typical IOR normally contains the internet address of the remote host, the number of the remote port on that the CORBA server is listening, a string defining the class of the remote object on which the methods will be invoked, and the object key (byte array) that is used by the server ORB to identify the object.

It is possible to register special objects (IOR interceptors) that can add the needed specific components to the IOR being created by the particular ORB.

IORs can be encoded both in big-endian and little-endian format. IORs also frequently contain the list of the supported charsets and may carry various specific information. It is generally recommended to use the Name Service rather than the stringified references, but these are frequently needed to find the Name Service itself and also in some simple cases may be just more convenient.

The non-stringified IORs are used to transfer the object reference via GIOP.

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