Sometimes an abstraction should have different implementations; consider an object that handles persistence of objects over different platforms using either relational databases or file system structures (files and folders). A simple implementation might choose to extend the object itself to implement the functionality for both file system and RDBMS. However this implementation would create a problem; Inheritance binds an implementation to the abstraction and thus it would be difficult to modify, extend, and reuse abstraction and implementation independently.
An Abstraction can be implemented by an abstraction implementation, and this implementation does not depend on any concrete implementers of the Implementor interface. Extending the abstraction does not affect the Implementor. Also extending the Implementor has no effect on the Abstraction.
The bridge pattern applies when there is a need to avoid permanent binding between an abstraction and an implementation and when the abstraction and implementation need to vary independently. Using the bridge pattern would leave the client code unchanged with no need to recompile the code.
As discussed previously a persistence API can have many implementations depending on the presence or absence of a relational database, a file system, as well as on the underlying operating system.
Graphical User Interface Frameworks use the bridge pattern to separate abstractions from platform specific implementation. For example GUI frameworks separate a Window abstraction from a Window implementation for Linux or Mac OS using the bridge pattern.