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Knowing COM+ Will be Crucial for the Transition to .Net, Says O'Reilly Author

June 20, 2001

Sebastopol, CA--After writing code in Visual Basic almost exclusively for seven years, author Jose Mojica had a moment of epiphany. He realized that the same features that made VB ideal for rapid application development also shielded developers from the details of the underlying architecture. As Mojica explains, "After seven years I felt I knew Visual Basic really well, and that I understood COM development. That was until I signed up for a contract to write COM components at a much lower-level using ATL and sometimes just plain C++. I realized, then, that I didn't really know what COM was about. What's more, I found a number of good sources written for C++ developers, but only one or two books that really talked about the COM architecture, rather than about how to use COM components. In fact, the C++ COM authors seemed to know more about how VB worked internally than the VB authors."

This discovery led Mojica on a fact-finding journey that ultimately led to his writing COM+ Programming with Visual Basic (O'Reilly, US $34.95). According to Mojica, he wanted to write a book that would guide a developer who knew very little about COM through the architecture of COM at a low level, and explain how Visual Basic maps the architecture to language paradigms. Mojica begins by explaining the progression from COM to DCOM to MTS, COM+, and finally .NET.

For those developers who question learning about COM+ with .NET on the horizon, Mojica cautions, "Visual Basic .NET is a brand new language. It is going to radically change the expectations of VB developers. In many ways, the things you will have to know about the runtime and about the way the architecture works will be the same things that C++ developers programming in C# will have to know. By the end of next year, if Microsoft is successful with its deployment of .NET and your company adopts it, your programming job will be very different. It is my opinion that you should start learning things now. This book will help you with both the COM+ side and the transition to .NET."

Mojica approaches the subject matter of his book from a low level, discussing topics that are rarely described in VB books. The first part of his book explores COM internals in detail, covering such topics as:

  • Interface-based programming
  • How COM interfaces work internally
  • How COM components are activated
  • How versioning COM components works in Visual Basic
  • How Visual Basic handles threading in COM components

The second part focuses on incorporating individual COM+ services into COM+ applications, including:

  • How to program within a distributed transaction
  • How to add role-based security to application
  • How to administer COM+ applications programmatically
  • How to debug COM+ code

Mojica concludes by discussing what developers need to learn to transition to the .NET framework, looking at incorporating COM+ services into VB.NET applications, as well as how to use VB 6 components in a VB.NET application and VB.NET components in a VB 6 application.

COM+ Programming with Visual Basic was written for developers who want to gain an understanding of the guts of the COM+ technology. Mojica says, "This book is for experienced VB developers who are tired of not really knowing how things work inside. I urge even those VB developers who think they know what COM+ is to read the book, I think they will be pleasantly surprised about the internal information presented."

About the Author:

Jose Mojica is an instructor and researcher at DevelopMentor, a company that has gained an international reputation for its experience with COM and COM+. He teaches various courses that focus on enterprise development in COM+, IIS, and Visual Basic. Mojica is the author of Building ActiveX Controls with Visual Basic 5.0 and coauthor of Programming Internet Controls and the Microsoft MCSD Training Kit for Distributed Applications for Visual C++ 6.0.

Online Resources:

COM+ Programming with Visual Basic
By Jose Mojica
June 2001
ISBN 1-59692-840-7, 348 pages, $34.95 (US)

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