Understanding Middleware and its Different Types
What is Middleware? Let’s begin with what Wikipedia has to tell us – “Middleware is a type of computer software that provides services to software applications beyond those available from the operating system. It can be described as software glue.”
Middleware, as the name indicates, is a software that serves as the connecting link or bridge between applications in a distributed system. One of the key uses of middleware is to link new technology to legacy systems.
Middleware is responsible for data storage, application resources, messaging, authentication, and API management. Middleware aids in the faster development of applications. Middleware can help companies with multi-cloud and containerized environments build and run applications at scale at a lower cost.
The importance of middleware has been emphasized by the use of network applications by tech startups. SaaS companies and software development firms build enterprise-wide information systems by utilizing middleware for the convergence of self-sustaining applications with new software updates.
Different Types of Middleware
1] Message Oriented Middleware (MOM)
Message Oriented Middleware (MOM) is a term used to refer to a software infrastructure which is designed to offer the provision for messages to be sent and received over distributed applications.
2] Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Middleware
Just as the name suggests, RPC calls procedures on remote systems and is designed to perform synchronous as well as asynchronous interactions between applications or systems.
3] Database Middleware
Database middleware is a type of middleware that allows direct access to databases. It is designed to provide direct interaction with databases, and offers multiple database gateways and options for connectivity.
4] Application Programming Interface (API)
Application Programming Interface or API is a term used to refer to tools, definitions and protocols which assist developers in application development. APIs also allow applications to communicate with each other through a common layer.
5] Object Middleware
Also referred to as “Object Request Broker (ORB)“, Object middleware is designed to manage communication between all objects in a distributed computing system.
6] Transaction Processing (TP) Middleware
The purpose of Transaction Processing (TP) Middleware is used in transaction processing monitors. Its purpose is to provide the environment for development and deployment of disparate applications.
7] Robotic Middleware
Really useful for building extensive software systems for robotics, robotic middleware helps you effectively control and manage the complexity of the software and hardware systems that constitute a robot.
8] Integration Middleware
Integration Middleware, as the name suggests, helps you build and deliver a better integration framework, and offers the option to be managed from various apps.
9] Application Framework
Application middleware, as the name suggests, acts as the backbone that facilitates integration of applications and systems across the enterprise.
10] Device Middleware
Device middleware serves as a toolset that can be used to develop applications meant to be run in a specific hardware environment.
11] Game Engines
Game engine middleware is a term used to refer to a framework that supports graphics, physics, scripting, or networking.
12] PortalsAlthough not a type of middleware in the true sense of the term, portals or enterprise portals are also referred to as middleware as they facilitate smooth front-end integration, along with interaction between a client device and back-end systems.
13] Content-Centric Middleware
Content-centric middleware makes use of provider-consumer abstraction to acquire content and is primarily used in content-based applications.
Today’s market has become very dynamic, which calls for organizations to integrate erstwhile independent applications and focus on enterprise-wide information systems. This exercise of application and system integration is about making new applications work in tandem with legacy applications. This is where enterprises need middleware to make the various applications to work in sync, thus eliminating the need for updating the legacy applications.
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