Middleware is software that helps computer applications to collaborate across a diverse network. It serves as the software layer between the application and the operating system. At UW-Madison, a range of middleware services is available for use by system developers and administrators.

Middleware services enable software applications to communicate, provide a common interface so that queries can operate with multiple distributed databases, enable Web users to access legacy computing applications, and provide a common approach for identifying users and resources and then authorizing and authenticating users to access those resources.

Authentication services

Web-based authentication — Through UW-Madison’s NetID Login Service, campus applications can authenticate users based on their NetID and password. Application modules redirect logins to and from the central login service, reducing the risk of compromised accounts.

Federation — The University of Wisconsin – Madison participates in the InCommon Federation, which enables the participant to use Shibboleth identity attribute sharing technologies. Shibboleth manages access to on-line resources that can be made available to the InCommon community. Click here to read about the InCommon Participate Operational Practices (POP)

Data Services

Middleware technologies enable the use of operational data and historical data. Operational data includes UW-Madison’s University Directory Service (UDS), a set of person data intended specifically for authorizing users and presenting current data in real time.

The process for requesting access to UDS data includes completion of a UDS access request form. This ensures that the data is used judiciously and securely. Address questions about using UDS data to udsrequests@doit.wisc.edu.

Historical data is available through UW-Madison’s InfoAccess service.

Middleware also provides Identification, Authentication and Authorization (IAA) Hub Services. IAA is a set of services that provides data about all individuals in the UW System and allows users to authenticate with their local campus username and password for shared applications. This includes UW System and UW-Madison campus requests for data to access shared applications.

Developers, Deans, data custodians and others who need up-to-date IAA data have an updated process for requesting access. The change in protocol simplifies the procedure and better protects the integrity of System-wide IAA data. We’re telling you now so you can plan future project timelines. Please view our wiki page on integrating applications with IAA.

Digital Signatures and Encryption

Digital signatures can help verify that email and documents sent and received are from the real authors. With UW-Madison-licensed software, you can easily install a digital certificate so you can use a digital signature. (A digital certificate also enables you to encrypt email and keep your correspondence completely private.)

For details, see http://www.cio.wisc.edu/security/digitalCert/.

Requesting Middleware Services

UW System and campus departments can request services by completing the Middleware Services Request Form. Print the form, complete as best you can and sign it, and mail it to DoIT EIS Administration, 1210 W. Dayton St. (DoIT Middleware will also accept a signed PDF of the request form sent via email to mstservicerequests@lists.wisc.edu.) A DoIT technologist will then meet with you to discuss the specifics of the request and complete the request form.