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In this paper we introduce SMILE (simple middleware independent layer), a framework whose main purpose is to facilitate the development of distributed applications. In the SMILE abstraction an application is composed by a set of processes that exchange information. The interfaces of these processes are described using WSDL or by an equivalent UML definition. Using the open source AndroMDA tool and starting from the UML interface specification we are able to generate the skeleton of SMILE applications and most part of their business logic. An application developed using SMILE can run on different middleware platforms just changing its binding, i.e. the code that adapts SMILE to a given middleware. We have implemented bindings to CORBA, JAVA- RMI, JADE, JXTA and to an our own communication mechanism based on SIP suitable for mobile devices. At the end we hint at the usage of SMILE in service composition and present some prototype applications.