This chapter studies client-server architectures which satisfy the current major needs of the industry and which rest on the unifying concept of the software communications bus. This bus, invisible to the users of information systems, makes the exchange of information between applications easy. It is realized using new software technologies which form middleware. These middleware technologies lead to the concepts of application interface, distributed application, encapsulation of an existing application, management of distributed applications, client-server model and the Internet. The goal of this chapter is to demonstrate the importance of middleware and to introduce all the concepts mentioned above and position them with respect to each other. Each of them is studied in the ensuing chapters.
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