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How are application servers related to middleware?

It is not clear to me how (enterprise) application servers are related to concepts like MOM, RPC/RMI, CORBA and middleware in general.

a. What exactly is the definition of enterprise application servers?
b. Is it middleware?
c. Is it a component to be integrated or a component which helps integrating existing components?
"Application server" generally refers to a standards-based collection of database, HTTP server, and intermediate software. Because it is standards-based, the components can be swapped in and out. It is used both in the largest sense -- the complete soup-to-nuts implementation -- and to refer to the intermediate component. Just to make things even murkier, the same product can be marketed as a soup-to-nuts solution (complete with database) and as an application server component.

The intermediate software, of course, is often called middleware. RPC/RMI refers to program control across processes and networks: it often is used to implement application servers. CORBA is the architecture that allows sharing of objects. It can be one of the standards involved in an application server (another object sharing architecture is Microsoft's DCOM and now .NET.)

And, too, the collapse of the dot-com bubble has had an effect here. Application server installations sometimes go by other names, since "application server" can be a bad word in some environments.

Since everyone has a difference set of variations, the best I can do is give you what I think is important:

1. Standards-based, which in turn means
2. Components are swappable.
3. Three basic layers (which can be augmented)--database, intermediate software, HTTP server.

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