Re: Etymology of Agent and Proxy

Roy T. Fielding (
Mon, 28 Sep 1998 20:19:04 -0700

>For "proxy", I'd grab a copy of Mark Shapiro's "Structure and Encapsulation
>in Distributed Systems: The Proxy Principle" (1986) and work backwards from
>there. Shapiro's web site is

That would be

Shapiro, M.
[Structure and encapsulation in distributed systems: The proxy principle].
IN: 6th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems
Proceedings (Cat. No. 86CH2293-9). (6th International Conference on
Distributed Computing Systems Proceedings (Cat. No. 86CH2293-9), Cambridge,
MA, USA, 19-23 May 1986). Washington, DC, USA: IEEE Comput. Soc. Press,
1986. p. 198-204.

A novel view of the structuring of distributed systems is presented,
along with a few examples of its utilization in an object-oriented
context. In a distributed system, the structure of a service or subsystem
may be complex, being implemented as a set of communication server
objects: however, this complexity of structure should not be apparent to
the client. In the proposal, a client must first acquire a local object,
called a proxy, in order to use such a service. The proxy represents the
whole set of servers. The client directs all its communication to the
proxy. The proxy, and all the objects it represents, collectively from one
distributed object, which is not decomposable by the client. Any
higher-level communication protocols are internal to this distributed
object. Such a view provides a powerful structuring framework for
distributed systems; it can be implemented cheaply without sacrificing
much flexibility. It subsumes previous proposals, but encourages better
information-hiding and encapsulation.