A platform-independent development system from Microsoft that enables programs written in different programming languages to run on different types of hardware. CLI is part of Microsoft’s .NET platform and is expected to become an ECMA standard. The CLI includes the Common Type System (CTS) and Common Language Specification (CLS). No matter which programming language they are written in, CLI applications are compiled into Intermediate Language (IL), which is further compiled into the target machine language by the Common Language Runtime (CLR) software. See CLS, CTS, .NET and IL.