Middleware is a type of computer software that extends the services available to software applications beyond those provided by the operating system. It is referred to as “software glue.”
Middleware simplifies the implementation of communication and input/output for software developers, allowing them to focus on the specific purpose of their application. Although the term had been in use since 1968, it gained popularity in the 1980s as a solution to the problem of how to connect newer applications to older legacy systems.
Middleware is software that allows distributed applications to communicate and manage data. Web servers, application servers, content management systems, and other similar tools that support application development and delivery are examples of Middleware.
ODBC, JDBC, and transaction processing monitors are examples of database-oriented Middleware. Middleware for distributed computing systems is 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 widely used in complex, embedded systems in the telecommunications, defense, and aerospace industries. It is used in some telecommunications systems and is somewhat standardized through the Service Availability Forum (SAF).
Location of the Middleware layer
The following image showcases where Middleware software sits in the software “stack” and how it is situated in different environments.
Examples of Middleware software
The Android operating system is based on the Linux kernel and includes an application framework that developers can incorporate into their applications. Furthermore, Android includes a Middleware layer with libraries that provide services such as data storage, screen display, multimedia, and web browsing.
Services run quickly because the Middleware libraries are compiled to machine language. Middleware libraries also implement device-specific functions, so applications and the application framework don’t have to worry about differences between Android devices. The ART virtual machine and the core Java application libraries are also part of Android’s Middleware layer.
Game engine software, such as Gamebryo and RenderWare, is sometimes referred to as Middleware because it provides numerous services that help to simplify game development.
Other notable mentions
The QNX Unix based Operating System includes Middleware for delivering multimedia services in automobiles, aircraft, and other environments.
Middleware is provided by radio-frequency identification (RFID) software toolkits to filter noisy and redundant raw data.
Middleware can help wireless networking developers meet the challenges of a wireless sensor network (WSN). Implementing a Middleware application enables WSN developers to integrate Operating Systems and hardware with the wide range of currently available applications.
Java Runtime Environment
Perhaps one of the most recognized types of platform Middleware is the Java Runtime Environment which acts a cross-platform framework for different software to run.
Many programs and games have been developed within Java such as Minecraft and countless other programs.
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(2012). Middleware [Online]. Wikipedia. Available at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middleware (Accessed: 1 June 2021).
SMArc: A Proposal for a Smart, Semantic Middleware Architecture Focused on Smart City Energy Management – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Location-of-the-middleware-layer_fig15_273874993 [accessed 1 Jun, 2021]
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ [accessed 1 Jun, 2021]
isaiah658 — https://openclipart.org/user-detail/isaiah658, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons