Middleware is software that links different programs and applications, allowing them to interact and communicate effectively. It serves as a bridge between several applications and software components, enabling them to operate as a unit. It reduces the challenges of merging multiple systems by offering a standardized method for them to communicate data, services, and protocols.

In web development, middleware is the intermediary between a website and a database or server, ensuring they exchange data seamlessly. 

For example, consider an ecommerce website where visitors buy items and a database stores product information records. Middleware enables the storefront and the database to work together, updating inventory records each time a customer makes a purchase.

Middleware boosts overall productivity and performance by providing a consistent and reliable way for multiple systems to interact and focus on their respective tasks without worrying about other operations or underlying issues.

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