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Composite applications are applications built from a combination of multiple existing functions using business sources of information. Composite applications are software asset collections assembled to provide business capability. These assets are generally artifacts deployed independently enabling composition and leveraging of specific platform capabilities.
Using a composite application can relieve a user from switching between applications. It provides ready access to multiple applications at the same place, with the additional advantage of manually adding and removing features. Composite applications can be compared with mashups. However, composite applications use business sources of information while mashups use Web-based, mostly free resources.
The four tiers of composite applications are data, application, productivity, and presentation. A solution architect has to deal with components, a composition stack and composite application specifications. To choose a composition stack, one or more containers must be chosen from every tier. A set of component types must be deployable into the containers. Components are selected by defining a repository of assets, which should be drawn from component types based on business needs. Methods of connecting the assets must also be defined to provide a cross-functional process. These connections are loosely coupled.
An application is considered a well-fit composite application if it complies with a standard architectural design and houses the following features:
The client composite application infrastructure is a composite application run-time environment necessary to install and execute applications specifically composed in a Websphere portal server environment. Composite applications also have a specified structure. Information workers constitute the highest level of the structure. They access documents and business information through portals. They also create documents during business activities, which are part of larger business processes coordinating the activities of systems and people. The activities are controlled through process-specific business rules invoking resources within a service interface. Business rules are finally applied to the contents of these documents to extract, transform and transfer information to the next stage of process.
Application assets for composition include workflows, documents, business activities and rules, schemes, UI screens, reports, metrics, etc.