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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2000
Until now the only decent Delphi reference on COM has been the two chapters by John Lam in Marco Cantu's "Delphi Developer's Handbook". This new book presents 500 pages of well written, focused coverage of the practicalities of Delphi's COM implementation. It is ideal for those with moderate Delphi skills who want to come up to speed quickly in writing ActiveX Control or Form solutions, or who want a good explanation of the usage of interfaces, variants, connection points, automation or DCOM.
Although it goes into depth in a couple of places - structured storage and property sets in particular - readers will still need to look to people like Binh Ly for advanced discussion of threading models and so forth. I was hoping to find detailed discussion of the internal workings of DAX, TOleContainer and the TComObject/Factory descendants, but most of the code in the book focuses on *using* the VCL framework rather than on its design and the various bugs and gotchas it works around.
Those with C++ COM/OLE experience looking for Delphi solutions (eg those rolling their own OLE DB providers, windowless ActiveX controls or Active Document servers) may be disappointed: it's not "Inside ATL" for the VCL. However I think the majority of Delphi developers - who don't have time to read Brockschmidt or Box but just want tools and solutions that work - will find the book a great time-saver and reference. COM newbies wanting Delphi tutorials need look no further.
It's certainly an excellent contribution to the Delphi literature. I'll be buying a second copy for the office, but it left me thirsty for more.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2000
I'm always suspicious of a book from an author I hadn't heard of before and ordering it online didn't help. Within the first couple of pages I was sure I had bought a rehash of everything I had read about COM in so many other books during the last yearand a half. Seeing the many pages of printed code, while I 'fan previewed' the book convinced me that this was the 'filler' of a lightweight. But this was not so. By page 50 Mr. Harmon was clearly taking me places I hadn't been and by the end of the third chapter, I knew that this book would fit nicely between Danny Thorpe and Ray Konopka on my programmers bookshelf.
Eric explains COM from a perspective familiar to a Delphi programmer and doesn't waste time teaching OOP 101 as so many other books of the genre. He starts each new area on friendly turf to a typical delphi programmer, creates a framwork, and builds on that structure to explain rather complex concepts quickly and effectively. I found his method of teaching comprehensive and thorough - yet demanding. If you aren't already reasonably comfortable with OOP than you still have a little more homework to do before you move onto COM. But it'll be here when you are. Even a general understanding of interfaces, com and dcom would be advisable though though he does review the basics briefly. But then he quickly moves through interfaces and drills down into levels that I hadn't encountered and I'm not yet at page 100. About a third of the way through chapter three and I knew I was on the clock - that this book would pay for itself in no time.
I must admit that I am only into Chapter 5 now but did catch a peek of all to come. If you are a reasonably seasoned programmer and want to move on to COM with the rest of the Windows programming community, this is how you do it. Simply start reading at page one, do every example in the book as you go along, sometime before the appendix you will have your COM/DCOM wings. The embedded source code is there because it has to be there. Nearly every line is referenced in the narrative and the text depends on it. If you already have programmed some COM/DCOM experience as I had, you may still find the read worthwhile.
I must caution that the book is exceptionally dry and without witticisms or amusing anecdotes. Mr. Harmon is down to business and makes no effect to entertain the anyone that I can tell. You won't even find a jab at Microsoft here. But if you want to learn COM/DCOM as a Delphi programmer, you have come to the right place. You can always go out to the club when you're done.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2000
This is not your typical 1200 page Delphi biceps-builder. This book is compact, well written and to the point. No filler, just meat. The chapters develop each topic with very good examples that illustrate COM and some good coding practices to boot. One caveat is that he does not always give each step if your working through the examples so you may have to do a little detective work to find out how a variable or interface showed up where it did. Take heart though, all the code can be downloaded"~ from the New Riders web site and the examples run fine. He also affords you the curtsey of compiling the examples for you so you can run them even if you don't have the latest version of Delphi. The book can be used equally well with Delphi 3 through 5."~ server by the second chapter!"~ done does not implement this interface directly. It is much more practical to let COM do the marshaling for you.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2000
Very well structured and complete. It has been really helpful to several Delphi developers I know, which had little or no experience with COM. With this book in your hands you will learn not only "how", but also "why". It covers many concepts and explanations that usually Delphi programmers ignore or don't know. I particularly liked the DCOM topics. The examples are very good and well-chosen too. A good job, for sure...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2000
A very interesting and worthwhile book, if you want to learn about Interfaces, COM programming, Type Librarys, DCom and all that stuff. It provides a good set of examples, and some very fine sample code, such as a type library viewer, which is almost worth the price of the book itself. Well worth a read if you want to integrate COM into your delphi apps.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2000
This book has already added several nuclear warheads to my programming arsenal. It explained many concepts I have struggled with in a very explicit manner. There is a severe problem with this book however. I have already found errors in the code examples that have hindered my learning. The top code example on page 24, and on page 26 are good examples. On page 24, TObject was not typecasted as a TFormattedInteger and thus could not be casted "AS" an IFormattedNumber. It generated the compiler error described on page 25 even though I had a GUID declared in the IFormattedNumber interface. On page 26, MyInteger is incorrectly declared as a IFormattedInteger, even though no such Interface is declared in any of his other examples. I do not want to belittle this excellent book however. I just simply cannot give a book with these types of errors 5 stars when the writer obviously did not test every example he presents. It is definately still worth buying. I even suggest buying this in tandem with "Delphi4 Unleashed" by Charley Calvert because that book explains COM/Interfaces a little differently and can help you get the concepts faster by filling in some of the gaps. Hope this helps. Curtis S. Lead Programmer/Analyst Insurance Technologies Corp.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2000
This book is detailed to say the least. It encompasses topics from native Delphi interfaces to creating Shell extensions through COM. All chapters contains numerous detailed examples of high quality. For anyone that wish to create COM-based solutions with Delphi, this book is required reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2000
Don't think what version of Delphi this book was written for, I read this book and I found it very organized with a very good language, this book will guide you from a-z in a good discussion & details for learning and implementing COM programming in Delphi (3-5), let say the kick of is using the Interface in Delphi through Programming the Windows Shell Extension. So, if you are a Delphi programmer doesn't waste your time looking for another book, just buy it.
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on March 23, 2000
Definitely an improvement over the brief sprints through the subject found in other general Delphi guides, but... When I got my copy, I wondered if I got a different edition. My copy has a picture of ruins, not the elephant in the phone booth pictured above(NOTE: The cover photo has since been changed on Amazon to the ruins.) I was also surprised when several examples from the book didn't work right on Delphi 3 or 5.(Surprised because previous reviewers commented on the examples being usable.) Several features discussed, including not needing to define functions that return HRESULT, would work when called by another Delphi app (only when using an Interface, not DispInterface or Ole Variants), but not from VBA. Changing back to the 'old-style' HRESULT code fixed that. Not only that, but the author seems to forget the names of the recently defined interfaces when referring to them later (ex: IAreaUnitConverter becomes IUnitAuto! ). When I checked the web site to download the examples to try and compare with my code, I found that only selected examples were actually contained in the zip file. All I can figure is that I got a "beta" copy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2000
Just a quick note to say this is a super book. A great, lucid introduction to COM. The section on Istreams and structured files was super useful. If you are ever going to use COM at all, this book is a must
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