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Middleware

Middleware was developed to solve a variety of problems that arise in the process of integrating several applications. Suppose there are n applications that must work together. The obvious approach is to build pairwise connections between them, but this requires n(n–1) separate integration efforts. When any application is changed, each of that application's links with other applications must be updated. When a new application is added, n integrations with the existing applications must be added. The result of this O(n2) problem is a management and maintenance nightmare.

Middleware is often portrayed as a “bus” for enterprise information that connects all applications. Each application must communicate only with the middleware, rather than directly with each of the other applications. This converts the O(n2) problem into an O(n) problem. Furthermore, when an application is added or an existing application is updated, only that application's connection to the middleware must be updated; other applications can continue unchanged. This separation of concerns can greatly reduce the problems of maintenance.


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