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Essential COM Paperback – January 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 078-5342634464 ISBN-10: 0201634465 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201634465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201634464
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Component Object Model (COM) is deep and extremely difficult, making it impossible to grasp the ideas behind this specification quickly or easily. Don Box, the author of Essential COM concedes that it took him six months of reading documentation, writing programs, and experiencing general puzzlement before he had his personal COM epiphany. Nonetheless, if you're a C++ programmer and you want your skills to continue to be relevant in a PC market dominated by Windows 95 and Windows NT, you need to get going down the path toward your own COM enlightenment. COM is the tool of choice for creating distributed and concurrent systems for modern Microsoft operating systems. If there's a book that will help you get a handle on the COM phenomenon, Essential COM is it.

Endorsed by object-orientation guru Grady Booch and Microsoft COM expert Charlie Kindel, Box's book takes the reader from an elucidating discussion of why a demand exists for COM and how it fits into the progression of C++ technology to a cool exhibition of some COM programs he's written. Along the way, Box covers the four corners of COM interfaces, classes, apartments, and security--all explained in developer's detail. He also gives attention to access control, marshaling, and Distributed COM (DCOM). Essential COM isn't an application programming interface (API) reference; it is an exploration of the Tao of COM. As the author says in his preface, you will figure out the how of COM programming quickly, as soon as you grasp the why.

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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. --Davide Marcato, Dr. Dobb's Journal -- Dr. Dobb's Journal


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Customer Reviews

Grimes' book will fill these gaps.
A. Mason
This book is the most dense in terms of giving solid information to help you understand whats going on.
Ruben Bartelink
Don Box really explains the machinery behind COM in an excellent way.
Mathias Olausson (mathias.olausson@lig.linnedata.se)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Yaron Elhadif on August 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book is a collection of technical notes and not a learning book. The author tries to show every little detail but forget about explaining the global idea behind it. There is no connection between parts and there is no writing technique that leads you into understanding. I got the feeling the author was more busy of showing how much he knows and less about trying to explain things to the reader. This book is "nice to have" but only after someone else show you the meaning of COM.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on September 30, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Obviously, Don Box is a COM and C++ master, which is where the problem lies. Admittedly, he does cover many aspects of COM quite extensively. The first chapter is the best background material on COM that I have read. But thereafter, Box changes his approach. He then seems to lapse into gratuitous, uncontollable programming razzle-dazzle when covering COM topics. His multi-page macros are just plain confusing and distracting. [Who is his intended audience: COM neophytes or his COM cronies?] His explanations concerning his use of the subtleties of C++ are entirely too feeble. While COM is at heart a subtle C++ application, surely programming virtuosity can be de-emphasized when explaining COM basics. His examples have questionable utility. However, again, his book does fill in some of the gaps of COM that other books gloss over. But I'm still waiting for that five-star book on COM.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Yes, the book gets its job done. Once you are done reading this book, you will know COM quite well. However, this really is not for beginners. Unless you have a good idea on how COM works, you will be lost. I have read "Inside COM" before reading this book, and I was still somewhat lost(its that confusing). If you know how COM works, this book will lead you to more technical background and help you truly understand how COM works, but, things are not clearly written. The author expects you know COM quite well.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
after reading this book (it was not easy) I was amazed how this book is perceived by other readers. Reading the reviews one has a feeling the reviewer would rather say something different but feels obliged to acknowledge the greatness of the author. "The author is a COM guru therefore this is a bible". Is this a phenomena of emperor's new clothes? This book presents a comprehensive review of COM as seen from the top, and is valuable to developers already familiar with COM. The style of this book is interesting, I personally would prefer a simple prose.
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85 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is esoteric. It isn't practical. I recommend something else.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By P. Pham on March 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are already familiar with COM in C++, then here is a book that can bring your skill to the next level. For those of you who already own many many books on COM, your collection wouldn't be complete if you miss this one.
This book continues on where many others left off. It digs deep down and explores the areas that are ESSENTIAL to your understanding of COM's intricacies. Many insights given in this book are rare, and you probably won't find it elsewhere. If you are already familiar with COM, here is a book that surprisingly still intrigue you on the subjects that you think you already knew.
Though, I don't recommend this book for beginners. As the matter of fact, if I was new to COM and had to write a review for this book, I probably would have only given it 2 stars. It is not because the book is bad, it is simply that this is NOT one of those how-to-book. However, if your level is in the intermediate to advance, you will most definitely want this one.
So, if you do decide to get this book, here is my tip for reading it. Don't try to read the book from front to end, for you may not find enough momentum to get pass the second chapter - that is, if you not into theory and all. Instead, just jump to the chapters that interest you the most. Also note the chapters near the end are very addictive, so you may want to start the book from there. This is how I "re-gained" the incentive to finish the book.
You welcome:)
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book starts out by saying that it would cover COM at its most basic, no class libraries or macros to get in your way. That sounded like an absolutely wonderful idea.
But what happened was that instead of explaining how the real world ATL COM macros worked, Don Box spent the entire book explaining how his own personal macros worked. That was not what I signed up for.
Did I learn something? Yes, but I sure had to wade through a lot of Don Box's macros to see how COM worked.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James D. Christopher on November 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought Essential COM about two years ago, and have since purchased and read other COM texts. I can say with certainty that if you want to start learning COM, this should be your first or second book on the topic. However, don't expect to be able to run out and start working with COM after reading the first few chapters. This is a very theory-oriented book aimed at developing a thorough understanding of COM, with few code-oriented examples that are used for explanation rather than demonstration purposes. The writing can be dense at times, but this is more a factor of the book's topic than the author's writing style.
The text requires knowledge of C++ and a desire to learn something new. If you buy this book and don't understand what you're reading, try reading Chappell's Understanding ActiveX and OLE before returning to Essential COM.
But by all means, this book is one of the best treatments of COM available.
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