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VB COM: Visual Basic 6 Programmer's Introduction to COM [Paperback]

Thomas Lewis
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: WROX Press Ltd (1 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861002130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861002136
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 18.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,468,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

The Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) is the foundation behind Visual Basic 6, even if Visual Basic (VB) hides most of the inner details. To write better VB programs for the enterprise, chances are you'll need to take on at least some of the intricacies of COM. VB COM: A Visual Basic Programmer's Introduction to COM provides an approachable guide to today's COM and other Microsoft technologies.

The book begins with one of the most approachable and effective tours of COM you're likely to find anywhere. The author covers COM components along with fundamental terms (such as interfaces, Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs), IUnknown and the registry) with a minimum of hassle. In a section on OLE Automation, the author shows how to use VB to script Excel spreadsheets, while explaining the details of early and late binding, IDispatch, and dual interfaces.

Next the author discusses how to build components, starting with ActiveX servers (both dynamic-link libraries [DLLs] and standalone EXEs) and proceeding to ActiveX controls. (The section on building controls is particularly strong, with good coverage of Ambient and Extender objects and connection points for event handling.) Throughout, VB COM relies on tools-based examples, with plenty of screen shots from VB 6 tools (such as its Class Builder Wizard). Later the book moves on to the enterprise with coverage of Distributed COM (DCOM), multi-tiered architectures, Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) and emerging standards such as COM+.

In all, VB COM delivers a clear picture of the inner workings of COM for the VB developer with a useful mix of simplicity and essential technical detail. --Richard Dragan


This book is geared towards the Visual Basic programmer who wants to begin discovering the benefits of Microsoft's Component Object Model (called COM) and how to use COM to build more dynamic applications. COM has traditionally been considered as something that VB programmers don't need to think about too much: VB is supposed to look after all the nitty-gritty of COM, leaving the VB programmer to rapidly develop working business solutions. However, with Microsoft pushing hard on its multi-tiered technologies, more and more people are becoming aware that COM is something important. For any moderately advanced VB programming at all, COM is present - often under the guise of ActiveX. COM underlies most of what is going on in VB. COM is components and objects: and there are hundreds of objects and components even in the basic VB environment. So what's going on? What is COM? Why is it important? What can VB programmers do with COM? For newcomers to COM, this is all a bit mysterious. For competent but relatively non-technical VB professional programmers, the full story of COM is still somewhat disjointed.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
VBCOM by Thomas Lewis provides an excellent insight to the how VB programmers can use the power of Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM) to develop robust components for todays distributed applications.
This book is really aimed at beginners/inexperienced programmers who are just starting out with VB, but is also very useful to experianced programmers like me who just want to know more about COM, as it provides information and documentation that just can not be found in the VB on-line help.
The book gives the reader an excellent introduction to COM, and then goes on to discuss DCOM, ActiveX control and MTS development, giving tips on how these technologoies are best used. The book also has a good chapter on the future of COM, otherwise known as COM+ & DNA (Distributed interNet Architecture), so you also get an insight into Windows 2000, and Microsofts visions for the future of distributed component development.
By the end of the book you will appreciate how important a good understanding of COM is for really successful VB development, and how COM is actually very simple yet so powerful once you understand the basic concepts such as components, interfaces & coclasses.
Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Rich. VB/C++ Programmer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Before I read this book I knew of COM as something that every Windows developer should at least be aware of. This is a very well thought out book which doesn't just fire facts and code examples at you but gets you thinking about all the issues that need to be considered before even touching a keyboard.
The author bills his work as an introduction but I would suggest there is plenty of content for the most seasoned developers. It makes for an excellant reference and I for one will certainly be keeping them peeled for the next release in this series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I stay away from books with the pharse "learn XXXX in XX days" in the title as if they are the plague. And I have always been a little leary of books with the word "Introduction" in the title.
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, and former collegue, to determine if it was an appropriate publication to get about 6 of our begining VB programers, ex fox pro guys, up to speed on COM.
This book not only met my criteria for this application but I found myself continually shaking my head in agreement with the author while I read the book. His methodologies are VERY sound and his approach to teaching COM is EXTREMELY easy to follow. Also, the author's writing style is very easy to read. This is NOT a 2 asprin per chapter book and I read it in about 4 days.
This book is a PRICELESS tool to get begining and seasoned VB programmers up to speed in COM. I promise you that you will be able to converse intelligently about COM in a week.
Mr.Lewis... I owe you a cold one!
PS. My only minor qualm with the book would be the step by step screen shots. However, for the intended audience of this book, I can see how they would be helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Intro to COM for VB 7 Jun 2000
By Sammy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Are you a VB programmer who needs to gain knowledge about COM, but don't know where to start ?
It is more like reading a gentle rolling story where you gain knowledge gradually. Unlike some books that start slow and then leap forward leaving you wondering if you missed chapter, this book is a continual gentle learning curve. By the time you get about a third of the way through, you suddenly realise you know the basics of COM, and want to read quicker. Take it easy, if you carry on reading this at a gentle pace, the knowledge flows out of the book, and at the end you are ready to start writing COM applications with a vengance.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners and experienced developers 9 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Although I found that I already knew 80% of the content,the remaining 20% is difficult to find anywhere without an in-depth understanding of C++. This book filled in the unanswered questions I had about COM without refering to C++ which was exactly what I wanted. In my opinion it is better than the Microsoft Press books on the same subject due to its lack of waffle. I did find it strange that after talking about COM for the first three chapters, Lewis then refers to code examples on setting properties in ActiveX code components - surely most people would already know about this before picking up the book! This and a few insignificant typo's are the only negative remarks I can make on this book.
Overall I would say the book fitted the purpose for which I bought it and will make a valuable addittion to our office library. I actually bought the book from a shop and paid way over your price for it!
I feel that I can now move on to a more in-depth book on COM and MTS and actually have a chance of understanding it first time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Before COM was invented, VB programmers used *.bas modules in place of what are now *.cls modules. To migrate to COM you must know the difference --the why, how, pros, cons etc.
This book tells you the facts and turns you into a believer in COM!
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By A Customer
VB Com is the best book teaching Component Object Model on the market. It explains simply and elegantly the intracacies of using Com with Visual Basic.

After reading many software books, I find this and many other of the Wrox books to be the best choice for learning programming. They explain complex concepts in simple to understand language and instruction.

I now understand why Wrox books are the text of choice for many of the Computer Science classes at UCLA.

Thomas Lewis has found an avid reader and purchaser of any future endeavors he may publish.

Again, if you need to learn Com, please buy this book first. It will be well worth it, in time and money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on VB and COM
This is an excellent introduction for those who want to know more about how to use VB to create COM applications. Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2004 by Mr E Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to COM within VB
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It provided a good introduction to COM from a VB standpoint; I agree with some of the other reviewers that some chapters needed reading... Read more
Published on 9 May 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb DCOM chapter
This is the only book which I have found to give a dcom "hello world" application which actually works first time. Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!
Without doubt COM is a difficult concept to master. Wrox 'VB COM' aims to provide its readers with a basic understanding - a foundation to build on! Read more
Published on 5 Dec 1999 by a_m_murphy@talk21.com
1.0 out of 5 stars VB COM Has Plenty of Errors
I would have to say that I am very disappointed at the qualityof VB COM. Having only read 3 chapters so far (ch. Read more
Published on 30 Aug 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Muddled, confusing, and silly: a major disappointment
The author adds confusion to an already confusing subject, and uses bizarre examples and analogies--barnyard animals, for instance. (Yes, you read that right. Read more
Published on 22 July 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but not many solid examples...
This book is nice in the sense that it is very written in a very informal style and it did generate some interest for COM in me... Read more
Published on 10 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Most programmers are so caught up in Computer Science Theory that they lose you in the dialog matrix of lexicons unbeknownst to us all. Read more
Published on 17 May 1999
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