Home > Articles > Programming > C/C++

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

0.3 Object-Oriented Middleware Solutions

Some of the most successful techniques and tools devised to address accidental and inherent complexities of networked applications have centered on object-oriented middleware, which helps manage the complexity and heterogeneity in networked applications. Object-oriented middleware provides reusable service/protocol component and framework software that functionally bridges the gap between Object-oriented middleware provides capabilities whose qualities are critical to help simplify and coordinate how networked applications are connected and how they interoperate.

  1. End-to-end application functional requirements and

  2. The lower-level operating systems, networking protocol stacks, and hardware devices.

0.3.1 Object-Oriented Middleware Layers

Networking protocol stacks, such as TCP/IP [Ste93], can be decomposed into multiple layers, such as the physical, data-link, network, transport, session, presentation, and application layers defined in the OSI reference model [Bla91]. Likewise, object-oriented middleware can be decomposed into multiple layers [SS01], as shown in Figure 0.4. A common hierarchy of object-oriented middleware includes the layers described below:

Figure 0.4: Object-Oriented Middleware Layers in Context

Host infrastructure middleware encapsulates OS concurrency and interprocess communication (IPC) mechanisms to create object-oriented network programming capabilities. These capabilities eliminate many tedious, error-prone, and nonportable activities associated with developing networked applications via native OS APIs, such as Sockets or POSIX threads (Pthreads). Widely used examples of host infrastructure middleware include Java Packages [AGH00] and ACE.

Distribution middleware uses and extends host infrastructure middleware in order to automate common network programming tasks, such as connection and memory management, marshaling and demarshaling, endpoint and request demultiplexing, synchronization, and multithreading. Developers who use distribution middleware can program distributed applications much like stand-alone applications, that is, by invoking operations on target objects without concern for their location, language, OS, or hardware [HV99]. At the heart of distribution middleware are Object Request Brokers (ORBs), such as COM+ [Box97], Java RMI [Sun98], and CORBA [Obj01].

Common middleware services augment distribution middleware by defin-ing higher-level domain-independent services, such as event notification, logging, persistence, security, and recoverable transactions. Whereas distribution middleware focuses largely on managing end-system resources in support of an object-oriented distributed programming model, common middleware services focus on allocating, scheduling, and coordinating various resources throughout a distributed system. Without common middle-ware services, these end-to-end capabilities would have to be implemented ad hoc by each networked application.

Domain-specific middleware services satisfy specific requirements of particular domains, such as telecommunications, e-commerce, health care, process automation, or avionics. Whereas the other object-oriented mid-dleware layers provide broadly reusable "horizontal" mechanisms and services, domain-specific services target vertical markets. From a "commercial off-the-shelf" (COTS) perspective, domain-specific services are the least mature of the middleware layers today. This is due in part to the historical lack of middleware standards needed to provide a stable base upon which to create domain-specific services.

Object-oriented middleware is an important tool for developing networked applications. It provides the following three broad areas of improvement for developing and evolving networked applications:

  1. Strategic focus, which elevates application developer focus beyond a preoccupation with low-level OS concurrency and networking APIs. A solid grasp of the concepts and capabilities underlying these APIs is foundational to all networked application development. However, middleware helps abstract the details away into higher-level, more easily used artifacts. Without needing to worry as much about low- level details, developers can focus on more strategic, application-centric concerns.

  2. Effective reuse, which amortizes software life-cycle effort by leveraging previous development expertise and reifying implementations of key patterns [SSRB00, GHJV95] into reusable middleware frameworks. In the future, most networked applications will be assembled by integrating and scripting domain-specific and common "pluggable" middleware service components, rather than being programmed entirely from scratch [Joh97].

  3. Open standards, which provide a portable and interoperable set of software artifacts. These artifacts help to direct the focus of developers toward higher-level software application architecture and design concerns, such as interoperable security, layered distributed resource management, and fault tolerance services. An increasingly important role is being played by open and/or standard COTS object-oriented middleware, such as CORBA, Java virtual machines, and ACE, which can be purchased or acquired via open-source means. COTS middle-ware is particularly important for organizations facing time-to-market pressures and limited software development resources.

Although distribution middleware, common middleware services, and domain-specific middleware services are important topics, they are not treated further in this book for the reasons we explore in the next section. For further coverage of these topics, please see either http://ace.ece.uci.edu/middleware.html or Advanced CORBA Programming with C++ [HV99].

0.3.2 The Benefits of Host Infrastructure Middleware

Host infrastructure middleware is preferred over the higher middleware layers when developers are driven by stringent quality of service (QoS) requirements and/or cost containment. It's also a foundational area for advancing the state-of-the-art of middleware. These areas and their rationale are discussed below.

Meeting stringent QoS requirements. Certain types of applications need access to native OS IPC mechanisms and protocols to meet stringent efficiency and predictability QoS requirements. For example, multimedia applications that require long-duration, bidirectional bytestream communication services are poorly suited to the synchronous request/response paradigm provided by some distribution middleware [NGSY00]. Despite major advances [GS99, POS+00] in optimization technology, many conventional distribution middleware implementations still incur significant throughput and latency overhead and lack sufficient hooks to manipulate other QoS-related properties, such as jitter and dependability.

In contrast, host infrastructure middleware is often better suited to ensure end-to-end QoS because it allows applications to

  • Omit functionality that may not be necessary, such as omitting marshaling and demarshaling in homogeneous environments

  • Exert fine-grained control over communication behavior, such as supporting IP multicast transmission and asynchronous I/O and

  • Customize networking protocols to optimize network bandwidth usage or to substitute shared memory communication in place of loopback network communication

By the end of the decade, we expect research and development (R&D) on distribution middleware and common services will reach a point where its QoS levels rival or exceed that of handwritten host infrastructure mid-dleware and networked applications. In the meantime, however, much production software must be written and deployed. It's within this context that host infrastructure middleware plays such an important role by elevating the level of abstraction at which networked applications are developed without unduly affecting their QoS.

Cost containment. To survive in a globally competitive environment, many organizations are transitioning to object-oriented development processes and methods. In this context, host infrastructure middleware offers powerful and time-proven solutions to help contain the costs of the inherent and accidental complexities outlined in Section 0.1, page 4.

For example, adopting new compilers, development environments, debuggers, and toolkits can be expensive. Training software engineers can be even more expensive due to steep learning curves needed to become profi-cient with new technologies. Containing these costs is important when embarking on software projects in which new technologies are being evaluated or employed. Host infrastructure middleware can be an effective tool for leveraging existing OS and networking experience, knowledge, and skills while expanding development to new platforms and climbing the learning curve toward more advanced, cost-saving software technologies.

Advancing the state-of-the-practice by improving core knowledge. A solid understanding of host infrastructure middleware helps developers identify higher-level patterns and services so they can become more productive in their own application domains. There are many new technology challenges to be conquered beyond today's method- and message-oriented middleware technologies. Infrastructure middleware provides an important building block for future R&D for the following reasons:

  • Developers with a solid grasp of the design challenges and patterns underlying host infrastructure middleware can become proficient with software technology advances more rapidly. They can then catalyze the adoption of more sophisticated middleware capabilities within a team or organization.

  • Developers with a thorough understanding of what happens "under the covers" of middleware are better suited to identify new ways of improving their networked applications.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020