What is middleware in software engineering

Simply put Middleware is a software component which provides services to integrate disparate systems together.

In an complex enterprise environment, there are a number of challenges when you need to integrate two or more enterprise systems together to talk to each other. Normally these systems do not understand each others language as they are developed on different platforms using different languages (like C++, Java, Cobol, etc.).

So here comes middleware software in picture which provides services like

  • transformation of messages formats from one app to other,
  • routing and enriching messages besides taking care of security,
  • encryption,
  • validation and
  • applying different business rules to these messages.

A typical example of middleware is an ESB products like IBM message broker (WMB/IIB), WESB, Datapower XI50, Oracle Fusion, Mule and many others.

Therefore, middleware sits mostly in between the service consuming apps and services provider apps and help these apps to talk to each other.