What is a Middleware?
If you are a person interested in Web services and cloud-based networking, then you must have come across the word Middleware. Middleware is adapted to various forms and plays important role in distributed applications.
In this article, you will understand the concept of Middleware thoroughly. Here are the things discussed in this article.
Okay, let’s begin the article with a short definition of Middleware.
What is a Middleware?
As its name says middleware is a Middleman in the technology world. It is defined as the software that connects the operating system and applications or services working on the system. It is like a translator between the applications, data, and users.
It provides common and special services that are not offered by the operating system. The term middleware is brought into use in 1968. However, it attained its popularity in the 1980s.
Middleware was first used only as a mere connector between the operating system and application, but now they help in the connection between different application and platforms.
Middleware eases the works of the software or application developers so that they can focus only on the workings of the applications. It is used in various fields like web developing, distributed channeling, big data, cloud networking, etc…
Even though the modern Operating system has Application Programming Interface (APIs) to interact with the applications, the use of middleware gives more access to the user.
In simple words, Middleware is like connecting software glue between the operating system and different applications.
How does it work?
Instead of just talking about its uses, a practical example will give you more idea about it. Here is an imaginary situation explaining the working of the middleware.
Your company may produce five different products and the client may already have some products in his hand. All these products are needed for client business. Now the client wants to integrate all the applications into one.
In a traditional method, it will take time, as each product will be designed differently so if you want to integrate them you want to change everything from start. Instead, you can create a middleware that considers the input and output of all the applications and act as a translator between them.
So you don’t need to change any code in the original script, the middleware will translate inputs and outputs as per the needs of different applications. Thus all the applications can work along without any issues.
This how the Middleware works it acts as a middleman between the OS or different applications. It also does the following functions –
- Disguise the Disjointed or Distributed network
- Provide developers well a uniform interface to support the different applications.
- Create homogeneity in a heterogeneous collection of software applications.
Types of Middleware
There are no definite types of Middleware. New middleware is created as soon as the need for it arises. Here are some well know middleware that is used to solve various problems in enterprises.
Application Programming Interface is a middleware created to develop mobile apps on a particular operating system (android, ios, etc…)
ii) Application Server
It is a toolset or middleware created to develop new applications or software in enterprise servers.
There are many middleware types used in a large enterprise to integrate the data collected through different products or software. Enterprise Service Bus will be a good example for this type of Middleware
iv) Device Middleware
It is middleware created to help the communication between different hardware devices in a given environment. The device drivers that are commonly used in all computers will come under this category.
v) Game Engines
These are the middleware created for developing Graphics intensive coding, scripting, and networking.
vi) Message Oriented Middleware (MOM)
These types of middleware are mostly used in a large enterprise to help the communication of messages between distributed systems or elements.
And there is more middleware in use in today’s tech world like Transaction Processing (TP), Robotic Middleware, Remote Procedure Call (ROC), and Embedded device Middleware.
The main objective of the middleware is to foster the interaction between different applications or between a single application. The use of middleware has the following advantages in the business –
- Efficient connectivity
- Easily accessible workplace tools.
- Innovative Solutions
- More concise transition periods