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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What is meant by CORBA architecture?

Software like hardware does not wear out but it has to be modified according to some changes in the needs of the users and advancement in technology. As a consequence of the modification of the software systems or applications, its degree of complexity increases proportionally which then leads to an increased rate of errors. 
It was suggested by some developers that in order to reduce this complexity and cut down on the maintenance costs and efforts, the development can be based up on the small and simple components. 
Initially, this proved to be very helpful as a means to tackle the software crisis but in the later years it soon developed in to what is called now “component based software development”. 

Following this software development methodology, large software systems and applications are built from the small and simple components that belong to the pre- existing software systems and applications. Over the years, this process has proved to be an effective approach for the enhancement of the maintainability and flexibility of the software systems that are built using it. The software system is assembled quickly and that too within quite a low budget.

The component based development is known to constitute of 4 activities namely:
  1. Component qualification
  2. Component adaptation
  3. Assembling components
  4. System evolution
We are going to discuss about “CORBA architecture” in this article which forms an important part of the third activity i.e., assembling the components. 

What does CORBA stand for?

- The assembling of the components is facilitated through some well defined infrastructure which provides binding for the separate components. 
- CORBA is an important component technology that stands for “common object request broker architecture” and has been developed by OMG (object management development). 
In CORBA “ORB” which stands for “object request broker” is object oriented and a more advance version of “RPC” or “remote procedural calls” that was an old technology. 
- With the remote procedural calls or object request brokers, the client applications are able to call the methods (passing responses and generating responses) from accessing the objects across an amalgam of several different networks.

What CORBA is meant for?

- To put it simply, we can say that the CORBA is an effective standard mechanism using which different operations on an object can be invoked. 
- CORBA is categorized under the category of distributed middle ware technology.
- It is meant to connect remote objects and inter- operate between them on operating systems, different networks, various machines and programming languages etc.
- It is done with the means of a standard IIOP protocol. 
- CORBA has made it easy to write software components in multiple computer languages that need to run together and support multiple platforms. 
- With CORBA all the components work together like a single set of integrated applications.  
- CORBA normalizes the method call semantics between the various objects of the application that reside either in remote address space or same address space. 

More about CORBA...

- The first version of the CORBA 1.0 was released in the year of 1991. 
- The IDL or interface definition language is used by CORBA for the specification of the interfaces which are presented to the outer world by the objects. 
- Then a mapping from IDL is specified by CORBA in a specific implementation language like java or C++. 
- For certain languages like C, C++, Ruby, Smalltalk, COBOL, Python and so on standard mappings exist and for some other languages like visual basic, TCL, Erlang and Perl non standard mappings exist.
- In practice, the ORB is initialized by the software application and an object adapter is accessed. 
- This object adapter maintains things like:
  1. Reference counting
  2. Object policies
  3. Instantiation policies
  4. Object lifetime policies
IDL java mapping makes use of the CORBA architecture.  

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