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EAI (enterprise application integration) is a business computing term for the plans, methods, and tools aimed at modernizing, consolidating, and coordinating the computer applications in an enterprise.
Typically, an enterprise has existing legacy applications and databases and wants to continue to use them while adding or migrating to a new set of applications that exploit the Internet, e-commerce, extranet, and other new technologies.
EAI may involve developing a new total view of an enterprise's business and its applications, seeing how existing applications fit into the new view, and then devising ways to efficiently reuse what already exists while adding new applications and data.
EAI encompasses methodologies such as:
- Object-oriented programming.
- Distributed, cross-platform program communication using message brokers with Common Object Request Broker Architecture and COM+.
- Modification of enterprise resource planning (ERP) to fit new objectives.
- Enterprise-wide content and data distribution using common databases and data standards implemented with the Extensible Markup Language (XML).
- Middleware, message queueing, and other approaches.