CORBA - Computer Definition
(Common Object Request Broker Architecture) A software-based interface from the Object Management Group (OMG) that allows software modules (objects) to communicate with each other no matter where they are located on a private network or the global Internet. CORBA is a "distributed objects" system designed for multi-tier, client/server applications, where processing data in one computer requires additional processing by some other service in another computer in order to complete the transaction. CORBA is also described as an "object bus" or "software bus." See distributed objects. DCOM and Web Services Microsoft's counterpart to CORBA is its COM-based Distributed COM (DCOM) architecture (see COM and DCOM). COM/CORBA interoperability is required to integrate Windows desktops into a CORBA-based system. Although CORBA and DCOM have achieved some success, Web services on the Internet are expected to be far more triumphant. CORBA software from different vendors may not always interoperate at all levels, and DCOM is a Windows-based solution only (see Web services). Part of the OMA CORBA is the communications component of the Object Management Architecture (OMA), which defines other elements such as naming services, security and transaction services. However, CORBA is the common umbrella term. Client/Server Requests At runtime, a CORBA client makes a request to a remote object via an ORB (Object Request Broker), and the ORB creates the illusion that the remote object is local. The client calls a CORBA operation by sending a GIOP (General Inter-ORB Protocol) message to the server ORB, which returns a GIOP reply. Finally, the client ORB converts the reply into a normal object for the client application. When sent over TCP/IP, GIOP is called "IIOP" (Internet Inter-ORB Protocol). Orbix and VisiBroker are examples of commercial ORBs. The Interface Definition Language (IDL) CORBA objects are defined by an Interface Definition Language (IDL) that describes the processing (methods) and the data sent and returned. IDL compilers for languages such as C, C++, Java, Smalltalk and COBOL let programmers use familiar constructs. IDL definitions stored in an Interface Repository can be queried by a client application to determine which objects are available on the bus. CORBA Versions The first version of CORBA supported C. CORBA 2 added C++ and Java as well as GIOP. CORBA 3 added Internet firewall support, quality of service (QoS) and CORBAcomponents, a high-level interface to services such as Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs). See POA and servant.