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Essential COM Paperback – 22 Dec 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 01 edition (22 Dec. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201634465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201634464
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 2.8 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Author

About My Book...
My lifestory (or at least the COM aspects of it) will finally make it into print this year. My sincere thanks to everyone who has been patiently awaiting this book. You can surf to my book's web page ( for a table of contents and other relevant information.

From the Back Cover

"Don Box makes it possible for mere mortals to join the COM cognoscenti. If youire a C++ COM programmer, buy this book." -David Chappell, Principal, Chappell & Associates and author of  Understanding ActiveX and OLE

Written by a leading COM authority, this unique book reveals the essence of COM, helping developers to truly understand the why, not just the how, of COM. Understanding the motivation for the design of COM and its distributed aspects is critical for developers who wish to go beyond simplistic applications of COM and become truly effective COM programmers. As the COM programming model continues to evolve, such insight also becomes essential to remaining current with extensions, such as Microsoft Transaction Server and COM+. By showing you why Distributed COM works as it does, Don Box enables you to apply the model creatively and effectively to everyday programming problems.

This book examines COM from the perspective of a C++ developer, offering a familiar frame of reference to ease you into the topic. You will also find comprehensive coverage of the core concepts of Distributed COM (interfaces, classes, apartments, and applications), including detailed descriptions of COM theory, the C++ language mapping, COM IDL (Interface Definition Language), the remoting architecture, IUnknown, monikers, threads, marshalers, security, and more. In addition, the book offers a thorough explanation of COMis basic vocabulary, provides a complete Distributed COM application to illustrate programming techniques, and includes the authoris tested library of COM utility code.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you write low-level COM then this is the book to read. The GIT, Free Threaded Marshaller, custom marshalling, threading are covered. It is one of two books I refer to regularly when doing advanced COM (ATL Internals being the other).
Slightly out of date with the introduction of Windows 2000, but there is no better more upto date book. This omission can be filled in by reading "Windows 2000 Brings Significant Refinements to the COM(+) Programming Model" in May 1999 MSJ on the Microsoft web site.
As an introduction to COM it is poor. For VB6ers it is pointless, strictly for VC++6 programmers wanting to get a good understanding of COM in my opinion.
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Format: Paperback
I bought and read this book about 16 months ago.
I've re-read it twice since then. This is not because I didnt understand the book the first time -- its because there are so many layers of information in the book.
Some authors seem to be able to write 20 books on a subject -- You've seen the authors that do 3 C++ books a year, or 3 COM books a year. This is great for publishers, and the successful "serial author". (I am aware that Stroustrup has 2 other C++ books and Don has taken part in Effective COM -- but they're not on the same subject material)
Don takes a different approach. He's only going to write one COM book and do it properly. He does. This book is the most dense in terms of giving solid information to help you understand whats going on. Whats going on when your product is about to ship and there's only 3 "showstopper" bugs left. Thats when understanding it properly matters. It also matters when you want to design something. These details also matter to VB projects when they ship, or when they're being designed.
I generally read any COM book I see sitting around. So I've probably read about 6000 pages on COM. I've seen about 1000 wizard screenshots. I've seen 40 analogy-riddled COM explanations. I've seen "cute and funny" examples. This is the only one I've bought and I've never regretted it or covetted my neighbour's book.
Similarly with C++ books, there are authors who sell a rehash of the same material 20 times. I read any of these lying about too -- another 10,000 pages with 50 useful per book. I only _bought_ Stroustrup.
It's not (nor was it intended to be) _the_ tutorial. It doesnt have screenshots. Its not 'funny'.
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By A Customer on 15 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
Starting from the progressive definition of an informal set of requirements for modular software architectures, the first chapter of Essential COM highlights how, by itself, the C++ language is not capable of satisfying many of them, even when associated with DLLs. Several possible design alternatives are then evaluated, and the final decision leads to the rough engineering of COM. This is perhaps the most vaporware-free introduction to the subject I have ever read because it explains through facts and not conjecture how and why the C++ object model maps well to COM... As the book proceeds, more and more room is given to complex technical issues and useful (while not trivial) COM programming idioms, such as tear-off interfaces for saving memory as the number of interfaces climbs significantly but not all of them happen to be constantly in use. In all cases the solutions make use of only the raw COM API and interfaces at the C++ level. Neither the theory, nor any of the numerous code snippets sprinkled throughout in the book, mention high-level frameworks such as ATL or MFC. The dissertation on multithreading issues and marshaling are very detailed and betray the vast experience of the author in the implementation of nontrivial COM systems.
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Format: Paperback
Some woodworkers are content to read books on "100 router tricks" and "50 cool projects you can build with your table saw". Those who would be masters of the craft read books on how to select wood for a particular purpose, or when to use a particular type of join, or how to design a piece of furniture for a specific purpose.
There are dozens of COM books of the first type. There's only one of the second. This is it.
There are a lot of books that will tell you how to develop COM applications. Most of them are aimed at the journeyman programmer who is capable of following directions and making small extensions to cookie-cutter sample apps. They serve this need quite well. Don's book isn't aimed at that sort of person, and doesn't fill that need.
If you need to understand why COM looks the way it does, or how COM grew, or what its underlying philosophies are, or if you need to deeply understand the whole COM paradigm, Essential COM contains the answers.
COM is full of jargon; terms that convey only a small amount of information themselves. The richness of an object model relies upon the abstractions that serve as its foundation; if you don't understand the abstractions, you can't really apply the model creatively.
Sure, the sample code gets pretty deep, and does so rather quickly. Take the time read the samples, and understand them; consider them "exercises for the reader". There is much to be learned from them.
Yeah, the macros get deep, too. COM is layer upon layer of abstraction; the implementation is layer upon layer of code. Macros help flatten that out; they keep the programming level of abstraction high enough that one can see a forest rather than an endless collection of trees.
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