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COM and DCOM: Microsoft's Vision for Distributed Objects [Paperback]

Roger Sessions
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Oct 1997 047119381X 978-0471193814
In the distributed objects world, Microsoft has had to defer to products such as CORBA, Netscape, and Java Beans. With COM and DCOM, Microsoft is poised to make a large dent in the enterprise market. This book teaches software developers the pros and cons of COM and DCOM. It explains how to use COM and DCOM with their existing systems, how they fit into two and three–tier client/server architectures, and new technologies from Microsoft such as Microsoft Transaction Server and Falcon.

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (22 Oct 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047119381X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471193814
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,215,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Author

Microsoft's Vision for Distributed Objects
This book is written for people who are trying to understand the Big Six technologies that make up MDCA (Microsoft Distributed Component Architecture). These technologies are:

1. COM
3. MTS (Microsoft Transaction Server)
4. MSMQ (Microsoft Message Queue Server, aka Falcon)
5. MS-DTC (Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator)
6. MSCS (Microsoft Cluster Server, aka Wolfpack)

In order to understand Microsoft's vision for distributed object applications, it is necessary to understand these six technologies and how they fit together. These technologies cover a wide range of material, from distributed object architectures to distributed two-phase commit to object pooling.

My goal in writing this book is to make these six technologies accessible to a wide audience. I use simple everyday analogies to describe basic issues in distributed programming and to explore the fundamental algorithms that make distributed component programming possible. Many readers find that this treatment makes complex technical material very understandable. I have had innumerable readers tell me that they have read about these technologies repeatedly, and this is the first time they really understood them. I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support I have had from this large group. I have had nobody tell me this book was too complicated for them, for which I am equally grateful.

If you like your technical explanations at the bit level, you aren't going to like this book. This book deals with complex issues, but at a conceptual level. I use gnomes to explain distributed components, airports to explain object pooling, and bank teller lines to explain clusters. The many code examples (primarily in Java) are intended to help focus the discussion. This is a book for people who like to have fun with technology, like to understand technology in the context of everyday life, and like things explained in a non-intimidating manner.

One good way to decide if this book is for you is to look at my other writings, which also approach complex technological issues in an informal manner. My free on-line newsletter contains two good examples. If you like these two articles, you will probably like this book. Of course, these articles are very short, and cover much less material than does the book, but the writing style is similar. If you hate these two articles, well, frankly, you are probably going to hate this book as well.

Microsoft's Distributed Component Architecture (MDCA) is very serious technology, and will have a very serious impact on the way we view corporate computing. But it is also interesting technology, and a lot of fun to explore. I hope you have as much fun reading this book as I had writing it.

From the Back Cover

An expert′s unbiased appraisal of Microsoft′s object technologies and how they can work for your enterprise

In COM and DCOM, internationally recognized object–technology expert Roger Sessions offers a lucid, unbiased appraisal of Microsoft′s distributed objects strategy. Focusing on issues of crucial concern to both developers and managers, Sessions considers all of Microsoft′s object technologies and explains the huge impact they are likely to have on the future of enterprise computing. Microsoft has targeted the mainframe market and this book explains exactly how they plan on doing it. Topics include:

  • How Visual Basic, Java, COM and DCOM work together
  • Creating highly efficient object pools
  • Using the Microsoft Transaction Server, SQL Server, and the Microsoft Message Queue Server (Falcon) to develop unbelievably robust, multi–tier applications without mainframes
  • Integrating legacy database systems into your system design
  • Using Wolfpack to create highly available clusters of workstations that outperform mainframes at a fraction of their cost
  • Security issues for components
  • 10 Rules for distributed component programming
  • Extensive program examples include complete Java, Visual Basic, IDL and batch files, and can be downloaded from our Web site at www.wiley.com/compbooks/

Visit our Web site at www.wiley.com/compbooks/

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Idiot's guide to DCOM (in a nice way...) 16 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Reading the various customer reviews, it is clear that people either love this book, or hate it. I think this is because it is difficult book to classify.
Given the title, one would suspect that it is a technical primer -- and for those who expected a book to help them program DCOM applications, they have come to completely the wrong place. THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR PROGRAMMERS! For those who have given the book a 1 star review because it doesn't explain the technical details: I agree - go buy "Inside Distributed COM".
However, what the book is _extremely_ good at is explaining what all this COM and DCOM stuff is to non-technical people. Developers and Programmers often forget that there are many people in their organisation who have no idea what they are really working on, and there is a real need to help educate this constituency.
Is it biased? Yes. Does it present the CORBA v. COM debate fairly? No. Is it a Microsoft PR piece? Yes.
But if you are a Microsoft house, who cares?
Today, I had a product manager come to me asking for an explaination of the "architecture" we developers keep talking about. We keep on going on about how great "Three-tier" is, and how it will make everything better - but most of the organisation has no idea what we are really talking about. I had absolutely no hesitation in suggesting that my colleague read Session's book, and I have no doubt she will walk away from it with a better understanding of what we are doing.
What more can you ask?
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By A Customer
It's clear from the first paragraph of the preface that Roger is a man who's wearing a Microsoft implant in his skull. Setting his prejudices aside, the man is well versed in the technology and gives amusing, clear, and highly readable explanations of the workings of COM and DCOM.
The book is spottily edited, and there are places where attempting to use code from the book requires some effort before success is achieved (typical of publication code, sigh...). But the effort is worthwhile.
As a professional programmer and system developer I find that none of the book's (minor) flaws take anything away from Roger's explanation of the technology. I'd have to rate the book at least a 4. I'd give it a 4-1/2 but the little pull-down menu won't let me do that.
I recommend the book to programmers who need to "pull back" and get an overview of the technology (which is why I bought it), to technical managers who don't need "all the nits" or to anyone working in or around the (software) industry who needs to understand the COM/DCOM acronym a little better. If you're looking for a book to teach you how to build a DCOM application look elsewhere. That's not what this one is about.
Good job Roger, I finally found a book that didn't make me spend $50.00 to get 2 useful pages of information!
martin pardee 6/17/99
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By A Customer
This is a useful book. It explains well how "distributed objects" fit together to make a total three-tier system, and finally answers some basic questions I've always had, like: What's the whole point of language-independent objects? As the title indicates, the presentation is focussed on Microsoft's products, which the author believes are going to take over the known universe; but the general information contained is easily applicable in other contexts.
If you're an up-tight hard-core technical type, be prepared to be offended by analogies like gnomes talking over the phone. I initially thought they were simplification overkill, but when the concepts started getting more complex -- a chapter or two in -- I really appreciated the gnomish renditions; they clarified a lot. There are enough literal code samples to keep things well grounded in reality.
If I've a quibble with this book, it's in the chapter on clusters. Most of the material is quite good and appropriate, particularly the parts about high availability. However, a key queue analogy that's used, while correct for some forms of parallel computing (like SMPs), is hard to do on clusters. In fact, it's sufficiently difficult that it's a generic cluster disadvantage, not advantage.
Greg Pfister, author of "In Search of Clusters"
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2.0 out of 5 stars Introductory book, avoid the bias 21 July 1998
By A Customer
Roger sessions book was quite enjoyable a read, and a good high level intro to Microsoft Transaction Server.
I can't give this book a passing grade due to its PROLIFIC biases.
People have said this book is inaccurate - I don't know if that's the right word. He "omits" things to suit his opinion a lot. I.e. Object Oriented Databases are "BAD". Why? No one want's to migrate their data from RDBMS'. (duh! no kidding) He doesn't mention if they're good for NEW applications! (But Microsoft doesn't support them, so they must be bad)
His CORBA assessments (CORBA doesn't scale, etc) are strawmen arguments, and are down right *WRONG*. Everything you can do with MTS you can do with CORBA and an application server like Netscape Kiva, Tuxedo M3, Gemstone or NetDynamics. Mr. Sesions' makes it sound as if you couldn't scale an object in CORBA if you tried.
Seems like the secondary reason for this book was Roger's way of lashing out at bad experienc! es with the CORBA community [The CORBA persistence service, which he co-wrote, was....crap.]
Roger also seems to gloss over how annoyingly complex COM can get... COM is a very usable model, it works and is fast, but let's be honest about its current state.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but biased introduction to Microsofts DNA strategy
This is an excellent book to start with when you want to get into distributed programming using COM. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars I need an aspirin!
I wanted to learn about COM and DCOM.
The back cover was completely misleading. Mr. Session's is extremely biased toward Microsoft. Read more
Published on 15 Aug 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars To many needless examples!
This is my very first exposure to COM and DCOM. Reading this book did give me the basic knowledge of what COM and DCOM are and what are microsofts plans for the future. Read more
Published on 11 July 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible as a Technical Book and Painful as a Novel
This book is neither technical in content nor amusing to read as a novel. I bought the book after going through the publisher's blurb on the author and his background. Read more
Published on 3 May 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars This is a marketing book.
This book is a pure marketing BS. IF you are looking for unbiased opinion, don't look at Roger Sessions.
Published on 1 May 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Clear evangelism rather than hard facts
I have been working with distributed objects for years and purchased this book to obtain a better objective understanding of COM and DCOM, and it's place in the Distributed... Read more
Published on 26 Mar 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Great start for understanding the Microsoft DNA strategy.
Roger Session's book, COM and DCOM, Microsoft's Vision for Distributed Objects, was an extremely useful source for my understanding Microsoft's distributed componenent... Read more
Published on 15 Mar 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a technical book and not a Novel
The author tries to explain components as gnomes which work for you, machine code as instruction booklet for gnomes and so on. Read more
Published on 14 Jan 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Warm and fuzzy feeling for sale
I did not spend enough time reading this book - in the bookstore, that is. I was looking for "an expert's unbiased appraisal of Microsoft's object technologies". Read more
Published on 31 Dec 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to get an overview of MTS/DCOM and OO
This is a great overview of Microsoft's technology strategy (DNA). Roger presents a high-level overview of the difficult concepts of distributed computing and the technologies... Read more
Published on 28 Sep 1998
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