- Hardcover: 1056 pages
- Publisher: Microsoft Press,U.S.; 4th edition edition (1 Oct. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1572319968
- ISBN-13: 978-1572319967
- Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 5.3 x 24.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
265,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #138 in Books > Computers & Internet > Microsoft Windows > Operating Systems
- #414 in Books > Computers & Internet > Computer Science > Programming > Software Design, Testing & Engineering > Software Architecture
- #424 in Books > Computers & Internet > Computer Science > Programming > Software Design, Testing & Engineering > Functional Programming
- See Complete Table of Contents
Programming Applications for Windows (Microsoft Programming Series) Hardcover – 1 Oct 1999
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Aimed at the experienced C/C++ developer, the new edition of Jeffrey Richter's Programming Applications for Microsoft Windows supplies expanded coverage of essential advanced Windows programming techniques and APIs. In addition, the book includes excellent material on Windows 2000 (including future 64-bit versions of the OS) and use of some C++ for sample code.
This book's strength has to be its coverage of essential under-the-hood operating system features, like processes and threads, synchronisation objects and memory management techniques--plus the APIs used to work with them. In each section, the book zeros in on how Windows 2000 and Windows 98 manage these system objects. (Windows NT 4.0 isn't mentioned here, however.) Short, effective examples, several of which incorporate the author's re-usable custom C++ classes, demonstrate each operating system feature in action. Several useful utilities highlight details of how Windows works, with programs that let you view threads, memory objects and other kernel objects.
With its coverage of Unicode and 64-bit Windows 2000, this is a book that will take your codebase into the future. Besides describing important APIs, the book provides programming tricks and tips for many useful advanced coding tasks (such as local thread storage, sparsely mapped memory files, using DLLs and Windows hooks).
Clearly written and filled with technical detail on Windows 2000, this book is a great resource for any C/C++ programmer who wants to know what is really going on inside the latest Microsoft OS. In all, this title will be an essential "upgrade" for any reader of an earlier edition and will no doubt deserve serious consideration from any C/C++ programmer who wants to get the most out of their Windows code. --Richard Dragan, Amazon.com
Topics covered: Windows 2000 and Windows 98 advanced system programming techniques, 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 2000, Windows error messages, Unicode strings, kernel objects and security, processes, jobs, managing threads, scheduling, priorities, thread synchronisation with critical sections, events, mutexes, and custom C++ classes, fibers, Windows memory architecture, managing virtual memory, thread stacks, memory-mapped files, default and custom heaps, DLL basics, thread- local storage, DLL injection and API hooking, Windows structured exception handling (SEH) basics, C++ vs. Windows exceptions, exception handlers.
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Top Customer Reviews
A large amount all of this material appears in the Microsoft online documentation, but Richter's book provides the overview and context for the detailed documentation - showing you how and why to use the different variants of, say, memory management, and how those variants relate to each other. Hidden within this eminently readable book are a lot of useful hints and tricks to improve just about anyone's programming skills.
There are a few typos (in the text and the code samples), though they're mainly trivial, but check the MS Press support site!
Although the author claims to be writing C++, it's really just slightly C++ified C, not that this detracts much from the book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Even though .NET is starting to gain ground, a lot of the low level details of the OS have not changed and a good knowlegde of win32 can never be a bad investment.
It is very Win32-specific and heavily slanted toward Visual C++. I think it is a great fit with Inside Windows 2000, because many of the advanced topics covered from the programming perspective here are also covered from the internal system operation perspective there.
These are not so much problems as they are a level-set for your expectations. There are plenty of other great books on the topics not included here.
There were three distractions that plagued this book. First, there is far too much source code printed in the book. There is a CD and there are code snippets in the text (in addition to the complete source code later in the chapter). This was far too redundant and caused quite a bit of page flipping. Although it is quite interesting and beneficial to examine source code, its placement in this book just interrupts the flow of reading. Second, there is quite a bit of useless discussion on what doesn't work, including rambling sections on the many failed attempts the author had before achieving success on a topic. This was also a distraction. It would have been better presented as the correct way of doing things with admonitions on what not to do and possibly why. The blow-by-blow description of the process used to discover these things was too frequent and became annoying. Third, there were similar sections that were less about the author's own exploits but just as overdone. Most of these focused on examining what could happen if you didn't code correctly. They would start with a basic statement of what could go wrong, but then went on to beat the concept into the ground by devoting paragraphs to aspects of the ramifications that are completely obvious to anyone in this book's target audience. There is some value to this last type of analysis, as it can help the thought process required for hard-target debugging, but these should have been in a debugging chapter rather than drawn out and placed with the rest of the text.
In spite of these hurdles in style, the book covers topics that are absolutely essential for robust application development. It covers Unicode, Processes, Threads, Synchronization, Memory Management, DLLs, Exceptions, and certain advanced Windows UI topics. For every topic covered, the coverage was authoritative. The author has a great understanding of the topics covered and manages to cover nearly the entirety of a topic without it seeming like a reference guide. In that, it is extraordinarily well done. I have since adopted several important best practices in synchronization, thread management, DLLs, and so forth. Every topic was rife with great information.
For the topics covered, this is one of the best books I've read. This is an extremely valuable book and a definite must read, but not until after you are quite well versed in "Programming Applications for Windows" ironically.
As a final note, if you're thinking of reading this book, you will thoroughly enjoy reading the author's Programming Server-Side Applications for Windows as well. It has the same source code redundancy issue, but is much leaner in the other aspects of style. It covers many excellent server-side topics like services and performance-enabling your applications. In addition, it offers the best coverage of scalable asynchronous I/O and the best coverage of Win2K security that I've ever read.
Rather than reprint, it seems that Microsoft press preferred a new edition, and indeed, it is substantially different from the previous one. It even has a new name, albeit so bland one has no idea what is inside the book. The material has been completely rearranged, and the code samples rewritten, often using C++.
So what is new?
Well, there is the now-obligatory chapter on Unicode, quite unnecessary since it gets more than exhaustive coverage in Petzold's heavily overweight "Programming Windows", fifth edition, where it belongs.
There are chapters on new Windows features, such as Jobs, whereby several processes can be grouped together and have common properties, Fibers, good for fast porting UNIX multithreaded applications to Windows, and Thread Pooling, whereby a pool of threads can be reused without creating and destroying the threads each time.
There are also expanded sections on kernel objects, threads, processes, scheduling, synchronization (possibly a bit overdone), memory architecture and management, memory mapped files, exception handling, basic and advanced dll topics. In all these cases the coverage is extensive and excellent, with full analysis and explanation of what really happens under the hood of the operating system.
Those who regularly read the columns of Pietrek and Richter in Microsoft Systems Journal will recognize some of that material gathered together here. Where necessary, there is also excellent psudo-code showing how the operating system works.
Well, who needs this stuff?
Not a programmer making a simple application with a vanilla GUI. For that, Petzold's "Programming Windows" and Prosise's MFC provide more than enough excellent material. This book is meant for those who need to write power applications, which harness the full potential of the operating system, and even overcome some of its serious bugs and shortcomings. Its hard to understand why Windows is doing things wrong, and write workarounds, unless you have a good idea of what it is meant to be doing. Richter explains very clearly how it is supposed to do its work, and often how to make it cleverer. The first time I saw "Advanced Windows" I wondered who ever needed this stuff, now his books are permanent residents on my desk.
So why do I give it 4 stars, unlike all other reviewers who give it a 5?
Richter writes this book for Windows 2000 and 98, with not a word about NT and 95. Now, 98 is just 95 warmed over, and 2000 is NT 4 tweaked a bit, so most of what he writes is directly applicable. However, there are more advanced functions, and topics, which do not exist on Windows 95, or worse, exist but behave differently (such as the Interlocked function group), and some modules, such as Toolhelp, which exist on 9x and Win2000, but not NT. Microsoft is welcome to introduce new functions, but it is hard to use them if one is writing an application for home users, many of whom will be using 95 for several more years. And unless Microsoft offers us all free upgrades from 95 to 98, and from NT to 2000, we will not be able to safely use these functions for several years yet. I expect any Microsoft reference book such as this one to at least point out these quirks. Instead, there is not a word of warning as to which of the functions it so happily recommends do not exist under the old versions of Windows, and therefore cannot be used by most of its readers. Sorry Richter, no full marks from me, but fix this problem, and I'll give you a 5!
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