[Pipet Devel] Required Reading: CORBA at EBI

Gary Van Domselaar gvd at redpoll.pharmacy.ualberta.ca
Sat Oct 9 14:23:55 EDT 1999

Is anyone aware of the work being done with corba at the European
Bioinformatics  Institute?


They have CORBA servers that give access to the EMBL nucleotide sequence

Of particular interest to the Loci team, check out AppLab: A CORBA-Java
based application wrapper.

the main goal is to develop a distributed object system which provides
an easy-to-use and well-defined access to a large set of existing
command-line-driven applications of different types. In summary:

AppLab defines the IDL interfaces for invoking and controlling the
remote applications and for browsing their results,

AppLab implements a mechanism making possible to plug-in new
applications without any additional programming effort (source code
generator), and

Applab is easily extensible for the problem-specific application sets
(such as special data structures needed in bioinformatics).

Sound familiar?

Here's a bit more about AppLab:

AppLab is an automatically generated wrapper for command-line driven
applications. It provides a uniform graphical user interface for the

         AppLab is about CORBA.

         CORBA is the Common Object Request Broker Architecture,
sometimes considered to be "...the most important (and ambitious)
         project ever undertaken by our industry..." (Robert Orfali).
The beauty of CORBA is its clean division between interface
specification (IDL) and
         implementation code. There is plenty of Web pages about CORBA
and OMG (CORBA's mother and father), here is one list of lists:

         AppLab is about Java.

         Java is a programming language used by AppLab on both ends of
the CORBA client/server architecture. AppLab generates Java source code
         containing all necessary CORBA callings. Using AppLab code
generators and Java compiler you have immediately a CORBA based
         application ready to run.

         AppLab is not an ORB.

         The ORB (Object Request Broker) is the implementation of
middleware based on CORBA standards. You must have an ORB to be able to
         your clients and servers (presumably created by AppLab)
communicate together. It can be any ORB supporting Java language mapping

         (AppLab was considerably tested with OrbixWeb and Visibroker
for Java).

         AppLab is the application wrapper.

         A CORBA server offers the command-line driven applications. A
CORBA client asks the server to execute an application with its set of
         parameter values. Both client and server can be completely
generated by AppLab.

         AppLab is not a domain-specific application, it can wrap
applications from different domains. And AppLab is not a viewer of
resulting data. It
         provides links to appropriate data viewers, if needed, but it
does not display graphical data itself.


Sounds interesting, no?  I'll dl a copy and read the documentation.  Get
back to ya!


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