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Python & XML by Christopher A. Jones, Fred L. Drake

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The XML Switch

The XML Switch is the centerpiece of the distributed system. It’s the grand intermediary between information consumers and information suppliers. Overall, the XML Switch is about two things:

  1. It is meant to act as an intermediary between frontend application systems and backend information systems.

  2. It has a fundamental XML messaging structure for greater flexibility between the message sender and the message receiver.

XML Architecture

The overall architecture of the XML Switch is about messaging and RPC. The switch is an intermediary between frontend system applications, such as web servers and desktop applications, to backend systems, such as databases and remote services. By using a messaging paradigm rather than wiring the systems directly to each other, you gain a traffic pattern that is decoupled from the applications, and one that is manageable independently.

If you were to patch a CGI script directly into a database, you must use a specialized object to attach to the database as well as understand its schema and data types. By moving to XML, on the other hand, your application and others need only become familiar with an XML data structure. This data structure is produced by the database when asked with the right XML message. The main difference here is that these types of messages can be interpreted by any type of system that may need to understand them either today or years into the future. This sort of flexibility pays off greatly in the design of distributed ...

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