CSC8104 : Enterprise Middleware

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The module introduces students to modern enterprise middleware technologies and their application to building multi-tier distributed applications on cloud and other platforms. Developers of distributed applications require convenient abstractions to help manage the complexity of development and deployment. To be useful, such abstractions must be appropriate to the target execution environment (e.g. within the enterprise, between enterprises and at large scale). There is therefore a need to trade-off system properties in order to provide suitable abstractions (e.g. relaxing consistency guarantees to increase service availability in the cloud). The module uses technologies such as Java Enterprise Edition, messaging middleware and Amazon cloud infrastructure services to explore such design choices. There is a focus on systems and services to provide reliability and consistency guarantees at appropriate levels of abstraction.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Introduction to concepts of distributed computing
- Distribution transparency, local procedure calls, remote procedure calls
- Object-oriented middleware, synchronous and asynchronous invocation
- Messaging middleware, loosely-coupled interaction, interoperability, delivery guarantees in different execution contexts
- Component middleware and separation of concerns
- Consistency guarantees, ACID transactions, extended transactions, eventual consistency
- Introduction to Web services and the REST architectural style

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion200:3010:00Revision for end of Semester exam and exam duration
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion161:0016:00Lecture follow-up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical161:0016:00Practicals
Guided Independent StudyProject work321:0032:00Coursework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study101:0010:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning.

This is a very practical subject, and it is important that the learning materials are supported by hands-on opportunities provided by practical classes. Students are expected to spend time on coursework outside timetabled practical classes.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading.

Students should set aside sufficient time to revise for the end of semester exam.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination901A70Blackboard OLAF Examination
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M30programming exercise (48 hours)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam offers a choice of questions to test the knowledge, understanding and application of the material covered in lectures and practical work.

Nature of coursework: programming exercise using enterprise middleware.

Study abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the length of the exam may differ from that shown in the MOF.

N.B. This module has both “Exam Assessment” and “Other Assessment” (e.g. coursework). If the total mark for either assessment falls below 40%, the maximum mark returned for the module will normally be 40%.

Reading Lists