Middleware

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Anything between the kernel and user applications is considered middleware. Linux kernel and gaming input-output latency.svg
Anything between the kernel and user applications is considered middleware.

Middleware is computer software that provides services to software applications beyond those available from the operating system. It can be described as "software glue". [1]

Software Non-tangible executable component of a computer

Computer software, or simply software, is a collection of data or computer instructions that tell the computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.

Operating system Software that manages computer hardware resources

An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common services for computer programs.

Contents

Middleware makes it easier for software developers to implement communication and input/output, so they can focus on the specific purpose of their application. It gained popularity in the 1980s as a solution to the problem of how to link newer applications to older legacy systems, although the term had been in use since 1968. [2]

In computing, input/output or I/O is the communication between an information processing system, such as a computer, and the outside world, possibly a human or another information processing system. Inputs are the signals or data received by the system and outputs are the signals or data sent from it. The term can also be used as part of an action; to "perform I/O" is to perform an input or output operation.

In distributed applications

Software architecture: Middleware Middleware Schema.svg
Software architecture: Middleware

The term is most commonly used for software that enables communication and management of data in distributed applications. An IETF workshop in 2000 defined middleware as "those services found above the transport (i.e. over TCP/IP) layer set of services but below the application environment" (i.e. below application-level APIs). [3] In this more specific sense middleware can be described as the dash ("-") in client-server , or the -to- in peer-to-peer . Middleware includes web servers, application servers, content management systems, and similar tools that support application development and delivery. [4]

In computer networking, the transport layer is a conceptual division of methods in the layered architecture of protocols in the network stack in the Internet protocol suite and the OSI model. The protocols of this layer provide host-to-host communication services for applications. It provides services such as connection-oriented communication, reliability, flow control, and multiplexing.

An application programming interface (API) is an interface or communication protocol between a client and a server intended to simplify the building of client-side software. It has been described as a “contract” between the client and the server, such that if the client makes a request in a specific format, it will always get a response in a specific format or initiate a defined action.

Peer-to-peer Type of decentralized and distributed network architecture

Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads between peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application. They are said to form a peer-to-peer network of nodes.

ObjectWeb defines middleware as: "The software layer that lies between the operating system and applications on each side of a distributed computing system in a network." [5] Services that can be regarded as middleware include enterprise application integration, data integration, message oriented middleware (MOM), object request brokers (ORBs), and the enterprise service bus (ESB). [6]

Enterprise application integration (EAI) is the use of software and computer systems' architectural principles to integrate a set of enterprise computer applications.

Data integration involves combining data residing in different sources and providing users with a unified view of them. This process becomes significant in a variety of situations, which include both commercial and scientific domains. Data integration appears with increasing frequency as the volume and the need to share existing data explodes. It has become the focus of extensive theoretical work, and numerous open problems remain unsolved. Data integration encourages collaboration between internal as well as external users.

In distributed computing, an object request broker (ORB) is a middleware which allows program calls to be made from one computer to another via a computer network, providing location transparency through remote procedure calls. ORBs promote interoperability of distributed object systems, enabling such systems to be built by piecing together objects from different vendors, while different parts communicate with each other via the ORB.

Database access services are often characterised as middleware. Some of them are language specific implementations and support heterogeneous features and other related communication features. [7] Examples of database-oriented middleware include ODBC, JDBC and transaction processing monitors. [8]

Transaction processing is information processing in computer science that is divided into individual, indivisible operations called transactions. Each transaction must succeed or fail as a complete unit; it can never be only partially complete.

Distributed computing system middleware can loosely be divided into two categories—those that provide human-time services (such as web request servicing) and those that perform in machine-time. This latter middleware is somewhat standardized through the Service Availability Forum [9] and is commonly used in complex, embedded systems within telecom, defense and aerospace industries. [10]

Aerospace engineering effort to fly in the atmosphere of Earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics)

Aerospace is the human effort in science, engineering, and business to fly in the atmosphere of Earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics). Aerospace organizations research, design, manufacture, operate, or maintain aircraft or spacecraft. Aerospace activity is very diverse, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications.

Other examples

The term middleware is used in other contexts as well. Middleware is sometimes used in a similar sense to a software driver, an abstraction layer that hides detail about hardware devices or other software from an application.

See also

Related Research Articles

In software engineering, multitier architecture or multilayered architecture is a client–server architecture in which presentation, application processing, and data management functions are physically separated. The most widespread use of multitier architecture is the three-tier architecture.

Middleware in the context of distributed applications is software that provides services beyond those provided by the operating system to enable the various components of a distributed system to communicate and manage data. Middleware supports and simplifies complex distributed applications. It includes web servers, application servers, messaging and similar tools that support application development and delivery. Middleware is especially integral to modern information technology based on XML, SOAP, Web services, and service-oriented architecture.

A computing platform or digital platform is the environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the hardware or the operating system (OS), even a web browser and associated application programming interfaces, or other underlying software, as long as the program code is executed with it. Computing platforms have different abstraction levels, including a computer architecture, an OS, or runtime libraries. A computing platform is the stage on which computer programs can run.

Inter-process communication mechanisms an operating system provides to allow the processes to manage shared data

In computer science, inter-process communication or interprocess communication (IPC) refers specifically to the mechanisms an operating system provides to allow the processes to manage shared data. Typically, applications can use IPC, categorized as clients and servers, where the client requests data and the server responds to client requests. Many applications are both clients and servers, as commonly seen in distributed computing. Methods for doing IPC are divided into categories which vary based on software requirements, such as performance and modularity requirements, and system circumstances, such as network bandwidth and latency.

An application server is a software framework that provides both facilities to create web applications and a server environment to run them.

Message-oriented middleware (MOM) is software or hardware infrastructure supporting sending and receiving messages between distributed systems. MOM allows application modules to be distributed over heterogeneous platforms and reduces the complexity of developing applications that span multiple operating systems and network protocols. The middleware creates a distributed communications layer that insulates the application developer from the details of the various operating systems and network interfaces. APIs that extend across diverse platforms and networks are typically provided by MOM.

Wireless sensor network (WSN) refers to a group of spatially dispersed and dedicated sensors for monitoring and recording the physical conditions of the environment and organizing the collected data at a central location. WSNs measure environmental conditions like temperature, sound, pollution levels, humidity, wind, and so on.

In computer science, message passing is a technique for invoking behavior on a computer. The invoking program sends a message to a process and relies on the process and the supporting infrastructure to select and invoke the actual code to run. Message passing differs from conventional programming where a process, subroutine, or function is directly invoked by name. Message passing is key to some models of concurrency and object-oriented programming.

In computing, a solution stack or software stack is a set of software subsystems or components needed to create a complete platform such that no additional software is needed to support applications. Applications are said to "run on" or "run on top of" the resulting platform.

The Internet Communications Engine, or Ice, is an open-source RPC framework developed by ZeroC. It provides SDKs for C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, MATLAB, Objective-C, PHP, Python, Ruby and TypeScript, and can run on various operating systems, including Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.

Mobile app development is the act or process by which a mobile app is developed for mobile devices, such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones. These applications can be pre-installed on phones during manufacturing platforms, or delivered as web applications using server-side or client-side processing to provide an "application-like" experience within a Web browser. Application software developers also must consider a long array of screen sizes, hardware specifications, and configurations because of intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms. Mobile app development has been steadily growing, in revenues and jobs created. A 2013 analyst report estimates there are 529,000 direct app economy jobs within the EU 28 members, 60% of which are mobile app developers.

Virtuoso Universal Server

Virtuoso Universal Server is a middleware and database engine hybrid that combines the functionality of a traditional Relational database management system (RDBMS), Object-relational database (ORDBMS), virtual database, RDF, XML, free-text, web application server and file server functionality in a single system. Rather than have dedicated servers for each of the aforementioned functionality realms, Virtuoso is a "universal server"; it enables a single multithreaded server process that implements multiple protocols. The free and open source edition of Virtuoso Universal Server is also known as OpenLink Virtuoso. The software has been developed by OpenLink Software with Kingsley Uyi Idehen and Orri Erling as the chief software architects.

OPC Unified Architecture is a machine to machine communication protocol for industrial automation developed by the OPC Foundation. Distinguishing characteristics are:

Volunteer computing is a type of distributed computing, "an arrangement in which people, so-called volunteers, provide computing resources to projects, which use the resources to do distributed computing and/or storage". Thus, computer owners or users donate their computing resources to one or more "projects".

Configurable Network Computing or CNC is JD Edwards's (JDE) client–server proprietary architecture and methodology that implements its highly-scalable enterprise-wide business solutions software that can run on a wide variety of hardware, operating systems (OS) and hardware platforms. Now a division of the Oracle Corporation, Oracle continues to sponsor ongoing development of the JD Edwards Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. While highly flexible, the CNC architecture is proprietary and, as such, it cannot be exported to any other systems. While the CNC architecture's chief claim to fame, insulation of applications from the underlying database and operating systems, was largely superseded by modern web-based technology, nevertheless CNC technology continues to be at the heart of both JD Edwards' OneWorld and EnterpriseOne architecture and will play a significant role Oracle's developing fusion architecture initiative. While a proprietary architecture, CNC is neither an Oracle nor JDE product offering. The term CNC also refers to the systems analysts who install, maintain, manage and enhance this architecture. CNCs are also one of the three technical areas of expertise in the JD Edwards Enterprise Resource Planning ERP which include developer/report writer and functional/business analysts.

The Web of Things (WoT) is software architectural styles and programming patterns that allow real-world objects to be part of the World Wide Web. Similarly to what the Web is to the Internet, the Web of Things provides an Application Layer that simplifies the creation of Internet of Things applications.

The JBoss Enterprise Application Platform is a subscription-based/open-source Java EE-based application server runtime platform used for building, deploying, and hosting highly-transactional Java applications and services. The JBoss Enterprise Application Platform is part of the JBoss Enterprise Middleware portfolio of software. Because it is Java-based, the JBoss application server operates across platforms; it is usable on any operating system that supports Java. The JBoss Enterprise Application Platform was developed by JBoss, now a division of Red Hat.

The JAUS Tool Set (JTS) is a software engineering tool for the design of software services used in a distributed computing environment. JTS provides a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and supporting tools for the rapid design, documentation, and implementation of service interfaces that adhere to the Society of Automotive Engineers' standard AS5684A, the JAUS Service Interface Design Language (JSIDL). JTS is designed to support the modeling, analysis, implementation, and testing of the protocol for an entire distributed system.

References

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  2. Gall, Nick (July 30, 2005). "Origin of the term middleware".
  3. "Home". IETF.
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  5. Krakowiak, Sacha. "What's middleware?". ObjectWeb.org. Archived from the original on 2005-05-07. Retrieved 2005-05-06.
  6. Luckham, D. C. (2011). Event Processing for Business: Organizing the Real-Time Enterprise. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 27–28. ISBN   9781118171851.
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  8. Arregoces, M.; Portolani, M. (2003). Data Center Fundamentals. Cisco Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN   9781587140747.
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  10. Jokiaho, T.; Fryer, J. (2012). "Foreword". Service Availability: Principles and Practice. John Wiley & Sons. p. xv. ISBN   9781119941675.
  11. Charlie Collins, Michael Galpin and Matthias Kaeppler, Android in Practice, Manning Publications, 2011
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