Concept of middleware in modern app and web development

Concept of middleware in modern app and web development

Middleware is an abstraction layer that hides details about hardware devices and other lower-level software services from an application. Middleware services implement common low-level functions, such as communication with the operating system, application servers, database servers, etc., so that application developers do not need to concern themselves with these details, and can instead focus on the application functionality they are trying to provide. In a web application, these services generally make use of the HTTP protocol, and in a web application framework, the MVC design pattern can be thought of as being implemented over the middleware.

With businesses using so many different software programs to fill their needs, sometimes it's necessary that the different programs work together to get the end results they are looking for. In those situations, middleware is required.

Middleware is considered by many to be a rather vague term in that it is specially designed software that can link two separate applications together. Since this can be used in such a wide variety of ways, it is better understood by discussing some specific examples of how it can be used. One popular example is the middleware that is used to connect a database system with a web server.

Why is it called middleware?

The name middleware stems from the fact that it is the software that sits between the client-side request on the front end and the back-end resource being requested. With network-based interactions, a client, or requesting program, can make a request. That client is typically an application that resides on the front end, which is where the user interacts with software. Resources such as databases, message queues, NoSQL data stores, and file servers are often referred to as being part of the back end.

What are the types of middleware?

Embedded Middleware

This type of middleware allows for communication and integration services with an interface of software or firmware. It acts as a liaison between embedded applications and the real-time operating system.

Database Middleware

This type of middleware allows for direct access to databases, providing direct interaction with them. There are many database gateways and connectivity options. You simply have to see what will work best for your necessary solution. This is the most general and commonly known type of middleware. This includes SQL database software.

RPC (Remote Procedure Call) Middleware

RPC exists since the 1970s and is the oldest type of middleware and it is client/server based. One client can request a service from a program located in another computer in a network without having to understand network details. RPC is synchronous; they are labeled as “blocking middleware” because the requesting program is suspended until the results of the remote procedure are returned. As the RPC’s use a point-to-point communication, they are not scalable and consume a vast amount of resources during the processing. Despite the simplicity, the complexity of their maintenance and performance issues, make this middleware not a viable solution in scenarios where there are many applications requiring integration.

MOM (Message Oriented Middleware)

MOM is a type of middleware that uses messages as the method of integration. In MOM the applications are decoupled. Sender and receivers are never aware of each other; instead, they send and receive the messages from the messaging system. It is the responsibility of the MOM to get the messages to their destinations. The messaging system uses channels that the applications can recognize and the messages can be sent and received asynchronously.

What are the middleware applications?

Common middleware examples include database middleware, application server middleware, message-oriented middleware, web middleware, and transaction-processing monitors. Each programme typically provides messaging services so that different applications can communicate using messaging frameworks like simple object access protocol (SOAP), web services, representational state transfer (REST) and JavaScript object notation (JSON). While all middleware performs communication functions, the type a company chooses to use will depend on what service is being used and what type of information needs to be communicated. This can include security authentication, transaction management, message queues, applications servers, web servers, and directories. Middleware can also be used for distributed processing with actions occurring in real time rather than sending data back and forth.

The following may be counted as the middleware application -

Scheduling Files

Specify the processing events relevant to transactions, their sequence, and timing.

Error Suspense Files

Record data transfer records that are in error. The error suspense files are only counted if the data is permanently stored and can be reported upon and/or modified.

Queues/Transaction files

The middleware application may be required to keep a copy of all data transfers and update the status of these records. The software may also prioritize transactions.

Security Files

System security files that define transaction authorizations.

Why is middleware important?

If data is like water in your company’s plumbing, consider how much better things would be if you didn’t have to get a bucket, travel to the water pump, fill the bucket with water, and plug it back to where you were. Without middleware, that’s what you do every time you want to work. Having data piped anywhere in your enterprise is more convenient and more efficient.


Hope we touched most of the important point regarding the middleware in the modern app and web development. You can share your comments with us. Thank you!

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