- Paperback: 673 pages
- Publisher: Apress (December 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1861001843
- ISBN-13: 978-1861001849
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,704,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Visual C++ Windows Shell Programming Paperback – December 1, 1998
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The Windows shell provides much of the look and feel of the Windows 98/Windows NT 4 desktop, and it offers many new possibilities for writing better programs. Visual C++ 6 Windows Shell Programming provides an excellent guide to understanding and programming the Windows shell, in a book filled with expert tips and useful code.
The book begins with the basics of the Windows desktop and taskbar and gives an overview of programming techniques. Besides the simpler shell C API, there are COM objects for manipulating the shell. Next the book covers file programming, such as finding and copying files, before moving on to explain how to modify shortcuts. The author presents multiple techniques for opening new programs and documents and shows how to modify the system icon tray.
Later, the book turns to Windows shell COM objects and looks at working with folders and other desktop objects. Material on the Windows Scripting Host (for batch processing) is also very useful. The author creates a sample Windows metafile (.WMF) viewer as a fuller example. The book closes with some notable material on the new Web View feature in Windows 98.
Even if you don't plan on programming extensively with the Windows shell, the material in this book can demystify what the shell is and how it operates. Reading Visual C++ 6 Windows Shell Programming can help you understand how Windows 98 and the Active Desktop really work while teaching you to be a skilled C++ Windows shell developer. --Richard Dragan
From the Publisher
This is a breat book in which Dino fully analyzes the tools available for programming the shell, builds sample applications using Visual C++ and ATL, uncovers the workings behind the Windows Shell API and reveals how to create shell and namespace extensions using COM and ATL. It is for programmers with solid experience of Windows programming, and who are familiar with COM/ATL programming using Visual C++.
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Chapter 1-2: These chapters include a basic introduction to the way the Windows shell functions, and the various portions of the shell. It also introduces the Windows Application Programming Interface (API).
Chapter 3-6: Esposito explains how to work with files, including special folders, using the shell API functions SHFileOperation() and SHFileGetInfo(). Manipulating files, gathering information, and browsing for folders, it is all included. Certain Windows tasks such as working with shortcuts are explained programmatically.
Chapter 7-8: Chapter 7 introduces the concept of `invading' the shell using hooks and COM objects: using shell events or events within other processes to trigger your own events. Chapter 8 explains how to spawn processes programmatically.
Chapter 9-10: The first topic discussed deals with Windows icons, and then `invading' the Windows taskbar. This example can be used to take over any other process. Areas of the shell that are supposedly not very well known are covered; the recycling bin, formatting drives, etc.
Chapter 11-13: The Windows shell, `explorer.exe' is investigated. The author describes to the reader how explorer works, both the default actions taken and how to invoke certain behavior using the command line. Benefits and differences between using rundll() and rundll32.exe are covered; complete with examples of how to use them. Esposito spends a lot of time on scripting, first offering examples of scriptable shell objects then covering how to use the Windows Scripting Host, (WSH).
Chapter 14-16: Further levels of shell integration are presented as a conclusion to the book. Creating your own document types as well as many other features, like drag-and-drop support, give applications a native appearance in the shell. By creating new namespaces, the Windows operating system becomes even more customizable.
The book content is fairly good. Much of the info is taken from articles that appeared in MSJ, or from Nancy Klut's book on shell programming, but it does add some useful new information.
Unfortunately, the source code (which is not included with the book, but is a free download) does not compile. I tried two of the projects (Shell hooks and Context menu) and neither would compile under a vanilla VC 6 installation. I know it is not my compiler, because the errors are in syntax. I suspect, despite the forward's statements otherwise, that the code was built with VC 5 and never recompiled under 6.
In any event, you may want to buy this book if you don't have access to Nancy Klut's (or MSDN, where it is included) and don't want to dig through the back issues of MSJ.