Composite Applications

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What Does Composite Applications Mean?

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.

Techopedia Explains Composite Applications

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:

  • A rich user experience to aggregate numerous application types into a single client view
  • Consistent and uniform GUI
  • Complete authentication and data confidentiality
  • Flexibility to use service oriented architecture features such as reusability and loose coupling
  • Behave as unique application to heterogeneous applications
  • Component intercommunication
  • Reuse of computing assets
  • Composition of parts
  • Aggregate multiple applications in a single client view
  • Provide access any time and anywhere in a semi-connected environment

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.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.