Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) is an architecture for setting up program components, written in the Java programming language, that run in the server parts of a computer network that uses the client/server model. Enterprise JavaBeans is built on the JavaBeans technology for distributing program components (which are called Beans, using the coffee metaphor) to clients in a network. Enterprise JavaBeans offers enterprises the advantage of being able to control change at the server rather than having to update each individual computer with a client whenever a new program component is changed or added. EJB components have the advantage of being reusable in multiple applications. To deploy an EJB Bean or component, it must be part of a specific application, which is called a container.
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Originated by Sun Microsystems, Enterprise JavaBeans is roughly equivalent to Microsoft's Component Object Model/Distributed Component Object Model architecture, but, like all Java-based architectures, programs can be deployed across all major operating systems, not just Windows. EJB's program components are generally known as servlets (little server programs). The application or container that runs the servlets is sometimes called an application server. A typical use of servlets is to replace Web programs that use the common gateway interface (CGI) and a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language script. Another general use is provide an interface between Web users and a legacy application mainframe application and its database.
In Enterprise JavaBeans, there are two types of beans: session beans and entity beans. An entity bean is described as one that, unlike a session bean, has persistence and can retain its original behavior or state.