Blockchain middleware: The HTTP of the Web 3.0 age

What is the middleware?

Wiki defines Middleware as “It’s a connection that provides services to applications beyond those available from the operating system.” A type of software that associate with system software and application, bring accessibility for communication of each component. Middleware can assist Apron to share information and resource among technical framework. Just acted as a “software glue”.

In the Blockchain, it can be understood as a series of software which providing communication for blockchain and application, help developer utilize underlying protocol flexible and safer

Following the image below, blockchain middleware protocol is settled between the upper application and lower blockchains&Layer-2 scaling solutions. It attach DApp (interface) and integrate the underlying network resource.

Blockchain Middleware (Image from placeholder.vc)

If we represent Network as a system, it reflects a middleware existing.

With widespread of HTTP protocol in Web 2.0 age, it brings widespread, a number of companies are thriving through the HTTP protocol. Real examples like Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. HTTP protocol is able to carry out Middleware in the web 2.0 age.

Middleware of web 2.0 age(Image from venturebeat.com)

Once HTTP protocol is applied, application developers are able to verify their thoughts and make them easily come true.

So what about the HTTP in Web 3.0 age?

Middleware protocols in blockchain can be regarded as HTTP in the era of Web 3.0. They are a group of protocols and services, serving developers and applications. Developers can develop products without knowing the details of the underlying blockchain.

Why does blockchain need middleware?

Blockchain middleware can be roughly divided into several categories:

Upper middleware: software development tool

Lower middleware: node service

Cross-chain Middleware

The mission of software development tools is to help developers advance faster and better at the code level, including various development languages, development libraries and integrated development environment. For example, solidity, web3.js polkadot.js and the like.

Node service enables developers to quickly set up blockchain nodes, or easily access existing blockchain nodes, reducing the time and cost of operating nodes alone. Examples include infra, Apron , etc.

The above two are divided from the vertical perspective of interaction with blockchain, while the cross-chain middleware is divided from the horizontal, that is, to realize the interaction between chains horizontally. Examples include Polkadot and cosmos.

Without these middleware services, developers need to build from scratch, just like they need to develop an operating system before developing an app, which undoubtedly brings huge obstacles to innovation.

Why is the middleware on Polkadot so important?

Polkadot can be regarded as a model of middleware, which develops various tools to provide convenience for developers. Utilization polkadot.js Software development tools can facilitate developers to quickly build a DAPP. Some common functions don’t need developers to redevelop, but can be used directly, such as viewing transaction information, transferring money, voting, etc.

Cross-chain interoperability can be said to be the killer of Polkadot. Through Polkadot’s cross-chain architecture, different blockchain nodes are connected through the relay chain, thus providing the possibility of cross-chain interoperability. In this way, a new blockchain node can obtain a huge ecological resource and network in an instant by using substrate development and then accessing the Polkadot cross-chain system. Similarly, for Polkadot, the addition of new nodes is also an expansion of Polkadot network.

How can Apron ‘s middleware platform benefit all parties?

Apron can be seen as an example of putting middleware theory into practice. As can be seen from the above three classifications, node service is also a kind of middleware. Apron is a part of this middleware. To become a decentralized infra, and provide API access services for users through decentralized way, besides Ethereum, it will also support multiple chains, such as bitcoin, Polkadot, IPFs, Tron, etc. In addition, Apron will integrate various services, including data analysis platform, data storage and message service, etc.

Middleware platform can not only bring convenience to application developers, but also bring convenience to middleware service providers and users in the ecosystem. The data analysis platform mentioned above is run by middleware service providers. They provide high-quality services to developers by setting reasonable fees, so as to obtain revenue and form a decentralized AWS basic service market. There is no doubt that users will also get benefits. Decentralized services can make the whole network more secure, thus ensuring the security of user assets. In addition, by selecting high-quality service providers in the service market, users will get a more stable experience.

Take middleware such as data analysis platform as an example. If a user has such a demand, he wants to know the overall income of his ten trading accounts. In order to meet this demand, the developer needs to obtain all the token transactions involved in the ten addresses he owns, analyze them, and give a summary report. This kind of complex data can’t be found directly from the blockchain nodes. It can only be realized through the data analysis service provided by the middleware platform. This service should not be done by the developers themselves, but by the middleware platform such as Apron.

Summary

Through the understanding of blockchain middleware, we can see that blockchain middleware is indispensable in the era of Web 3.0, and its role will be the same as that of HTTP in the era of Web 2.0. It will become the engine of blockchain growth in the next stage, open the door for the future new world, bring more rich application scenarios, and create more wealth for the society.

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