Middle-Ware is in the Middle

I attended the "Capital Area Microsoft Integration and Connected Systems User Group" last night. It had good topics about lessons learned from Biztalk integration projects.

One of the lessons I feel important is to really know "Middle-Ware is in the Middle", which means whenever there is something wrong with the operation of an integrated system, normally either developers or clients will complain:"Middle-Ware is not working properly". But in fact, most of the cases are not because of the Middle-Ware, but the end-point applications.

To protect from the easy blame from other people, tracking and reporting are the life-savers: Keep all detailed tracking and reporting information to indicate where the real problem is, e.g. the schema of the source data has been arbitrarily changed.

We needn't work on really big project to create/use Middle-Ware. Even for small project, we will write middle-ware program occasionally. For example, we may write either Windows Service to collect data or Web Service to process data. For end user, they are back end Middle-Ware. It is important to keep event log for each process.