As Published In
Oracle Magazine
September/October 2009

From the Editor

It’s Called Middleware

By Tom Haunert

Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g is platforms, foundation, and more.

When covering the area of middleware technology, some publications used to qualify that category as “so-called middleware.” The “so-called” modifier seemed to question the logic of naming software based on its location relative to other software, or perhaps it merely suggested that the reader’s own description of middleware might vary, as its definition was constantly evolving. Middleware may have been difficult to explain a few years ago, but today there’s good news and greater clarity about its current state and its place in information technology.

Middleware Past

Many years back, I first heard the word middleware in status meetings where developers provided reports that invariably mentioned the same middleware connectors week after week. These custom, one-off projects were needed to provide key integrations between a part of the new development and some older software, and the development of this plumbing (as the software pieces were sometimes known) was typically done by a separate internal group or an external third party. The combination of the importance of this plumbing and the lack of information on the status of these critical integration points inspired a lot of concern, a little general grumbling, and some plan B workaround ideas for testing and even production.

It may be partly because of the meeting agendas, but on more than one occasion I remember a status meeting ending with a question about a missing middleware component, some heads shaking, and people getting up to leave, as if the mere mention of middleware was like referencing a taboo subject at a cocktail party—a room-clearing event.

Call It What It is

Rather than grinding conversation and development to a halt, modern middleware is starting new dialogues and spurring new development. Middleware is still about integration, but that integration has gone far beyond the idea of custom-built pieces of “middle software” as point-to-point plumbing between old and new components. Middleware has evolved from one-off connectors for integrating mainframe technology with client/server applications to collections of tools and suites for integrating all manner of datasources and applications. What is called middleware today is a modern technology foundation that supports new application functionality and changes the way companies do business. 

Next Steps

READ more about Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g

 Oracle Application Integration Architecture

 DOWNLOAD Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g

The standards and components of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g make it easy to see what this middleware transformation means to today’s business applications. Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g supports SOA, Web services, grid computing, portal, and Enterprise 2.0 standards and frameworks; and its middleware platforms include Oracle SOA Suite 11g, Oracle WebLogic Suite 11g, Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g, Oracle Identity Management 11g, Oracle development tools, Oracle Content Management 11g, and Oracle business intelligence solutions.

And while Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g is composed of a diverse set of suites and functionalities, this foundation for innovation is complete, integrated, hot-pluggable, best-of-breed technology. Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g is also the foundation for Oracle Application Integration Architecture, which includes prebuilt, certified, standards-based integrations for old, new, and future business and industry-specific applications.

For information on the Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g release, see “Modern Middleware” and “Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g: The Foundation for Innovation.”

Answering the Call for Great Events

There was nothing “so-called” about my experience at the Kaleidoscope conference held by the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG) in Monterey, California, in June. It was a great event, and I’m looking forward to working with several people I met there in the near future. Speaking of the near future, I’m also looking forward to attending Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco from October 11 through 15.

Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief

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