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Enterprise Application Integration With XML and Java™ by Bill la Forge, JP Morgenthal

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2.2. Building Virtual Applications

A virtual application is best defined as a set of loosely coupled systems integrated in such a manner that data from any of these systems is available to any other system that belongs to the virtual application.

Due to the nature of business, systems are often integrated only on a need-to-know basis. That is, operational systems are integrated when there is a business imperative to do so. There is nothing inherently wrong with this method. However, if every integration is implemented in a tightly bound, point-to-point manner—systems bound together over one particular business task—then there will be a high probability that the maintenance and development of these integrations will be at a premium.

Instead, companies ...

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