What is Middleware?
According to Wikipedia:
“In its most general sense, middleware is computer software that provides services to software applications beyond those available from the operating system.
Middleware can be described as “software glue”. Thus middleware is not obviously part of an operating system, not a database management system, and neither is it part of one software application. Middleware makes it easier for software developers to perform communication and input/output, so they can focus on the specific purpose of their application”.
According to the above mentioned definition, middleware:
Offers to an application extra capabilities that the computer’s operating system or the application itself don’t have.These capabilities are beyond those available from the application per se or the operating system.
Since smart-printers technology, can be remotely used as web service, as a virtual part of a software application, -not existing into operating system or into a database- then, we can say, that smart printers technology matches the above mentioned definition, as far as that point is concerned.
However a printer doesn’t exist only for one application.
Usually all software applications that co-exists in a computer, have access to printing process.
The printing process, can function as a “glue” between different software applications.
A typical software application has built-in mechanisms,
so that all its parts communicate successfully with each other and function properly.
But, what happens when software applications are created by different vendors,
and these unification mechanisms don’t exist?
In such cases of heterogeneous software systems, that often coexist in a company’s information infrastructure, programmers and consultants invent various ways to make independent software applications communicate with each other.
Many middleware technologies, usually very complex, can perform that, however they require in-depth application modifications and sophisticated technical teams to support it.
Can all these procedures be simplified?
With smart printers, middleware operation can be seen from a different point of view.
Given the fact that a smart printer can perceive the source of data and the data per se,
it can function in the following simple and smart way.
The printing process of a software application extracts some data from the application. These data can be inserted as input data into another application.
And data insertion into that application can trigger another insertion into a third application, etc…
In our case, the common point is nothing else but the command “Print”, which sends the required data from one point to another.
Moreover a software programmer has the ability, through a sophisticated method,
to use a “silent” and repetitive printing process through the software application itself.
In addition, many printers can coexist in the same system and, depending on their configuration, they can be chosen in order to achieve the interactivity of two or more totally independent software applications.
The fact is that the printing process ability exists in almost all software applications available. Therefore, meaning “software glue”, can describe perfectly our technology that utilizes a simple intercommunication process. Just as simple as printing to a printer device.
So smart printers can be configured to act in a way that -according to middleware definition- makes it easier for software developers to perform communication and input/output, so they can focus on the specific purpose of their application.