Common Object Request Broker Architecture

What Does Common Object Request Broker Architecture Mean?

The Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) is a specification developed by the Object Management Group (OMG). CORBA describes a messaging mechanism by which objects distributed over a network can communicate with each other irrespective of the platform and language used to develop those objects.


There are two basic types of objects in CORBA. The object that includes some functionality and may be used by other objects is called a service provider. The object that requires the services of other objects is called the client. The service provider object and client object communicate with each other independent of the programming language used to design them and independent of the operating system in which they run. Each service provider defines an interface, which provides a description of the services provided by the client.

Techopedia Explains Common Object Request Broker Architecture

CORBA enables separate pieces of software written in different languages and running on different computers to work with each other like a single application or set of services. More specifically, CORBA is a mechanism in software for normalizing the method-call semantics between application objects residing either in the same address space (application) or remote address space (same host, or remote host on a network).

CORBA applications are composed of objects that combine data and functions that represent something in the real world. Each object has multiple instances, and each instance is associated with a particular client request. For example, a bank teller object has multiple instances, each of which is specific to an individual customer. Each object indicates all the services it provides, the input essential for each service and the output of a service, if any, in the form of a file in a language known as the Interface Definition Language (IDL). The client object that is seeking to access a specific operation on the object uses the IDL file to see the available services and marshal the arguments appropriately.

The CORBA specification dictates that there will be an object request broker (ORB) through which an application interacts with other objects. In practice, the application simply initializes the ORB, and accesses an internal object adapter, which maintains things like reference counting, object (and reference) instantiation policies, and object lifetime policies. The object adapter is used to register instances of the generated code classes. Generated code classes are the result of compiling the user IDL code, which translates the high-level interface definition into an OS- and language-specific class base to be applied by the user application. This step is necessary in order to enforce CORBA semantics and provide a clean user process for interfacing with the CORBA infrastructure.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…