The most sophisticated level of integration yet seen in computing is the field of distributed objects: essentially, letting objects on different machines (and written in different languages) talk to each other. Many large corporations are moving from two-tier applications with databases and GUIs to three-tier applications that have a layer of business objects in the middle. These objects offer a higher level of abstraction than the database row and can represent tangible things in the business such as a customer or an invoice. The two main contenders in this arena are COM, which is a Windows-only solution and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), which is multiplatform. Python is used extensively with both. Our focus is on COM, and we show how to build a distributed Python application in Chapter 11. Building a distributed application is absurdly easy; COM does all the work, and it’s a matter of configuring the machine correctly.
Python’s support for all five technologies and the fact that it runs on many different operating systems are what makes it a superb integration tool. We believe that Python can be used to acquire data easily from anything, anywhere.