What are 'remote references'?

What are 'remote references'?
Remote references are a construct used in most distributed object systems, such as RMI, CORBA, and DCOM. Assume that you have a client that is invoking methods on a server object. Let's say that the server object creates another object, and it has to somehow pass the new object back to the client. It can pass the new object either by "value" or by "reference". If you pass the object by value, you are passing the entire object. If you pass by reference, you are just passing a pointer to the object. A remote reference is a reference that works across a network. Remote references are critical to many distributed computing design patterns, particularly the Factory pattern. Even though this feature is critical for many distributed computing applications, most SOAP implementations don't support it. WASP Advanced does.
This was first published in February 2002

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