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Middleware and Messaging

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

Middleware is a layer of software or functionality that sits between one system and another, and provides a way for those systems to exchange information or connect with one another even though they have different interfaces. Messaging is one of the methods that has become integral to the way that middleware is implemented. Middleware and messaging may be employed within an organization to tie together its LAN and legacy systems, its diverse clients and back-end databases, and its local and remote systems. Middleware is also important for Web applications.

Middleware helps applications work together across multiple platforms or operating system environments. Developers write applications that interface with the middleware layer rather than re-creating the functions that the middleware layer can provide. Middleware is used in the enterprise to make client/server applications work across the enterprise network and in Web environments to link clients with applications that reside on servers at multiple locations.

Enterprise application integration or EAI is the process of creating information infrastructures that support the deployment of new applications and processes within organizations. EAI typically describes middleware in terms of topologies:

This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications" with a discussion of the following:

  • Middleware topologies
  • Three-tiered architectures
  • Database middleware
  • RPCs (Remote Procedure Calls)
  • MOM (message-oriented middleware)
  • ORBs (object request brokers)
  • TP (transaction processing) monitors
  • XML-based middleware
  • E-mail middleware

An interesting read related to middleware is RFC 2768 (Network Policy and Services: A Report of a Workshop on Middleware, February 2000). It talks about middleware in terms of network components such as AAA (authentication, authorization, and accounting), policy framework, directories, resource management, networked information discovery and retrieval services, quality of service, security, and operational tools.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.