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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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The Essence of OLE with ActiveX
David S Platt
0 13570 862 1
SIGS books
Mark Kuschnir
advanced c++; microsoft; MS Windows; CORBA and COM
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I was expecting a lot from this book, as the author is a regular contributor to MSJ (Microsoft Developers Journal). He generally writes stunningly good articles in MSJ.

The book describes programming OLE and ActiveX in C++. This is a difficult subject to present well, as Microsoft seems to frequently redefine the meaning of most of the acronyms (and technologies, e.g. COM+)! Today 'OLE' is usually referred to as 'COM' (Component Object Model). COM is becoming even more relevant today in the guise of DCOM -Distributed COM (and the imminent COM+).

The book covers an Introduction to OLE, OLE Automation, Type Libraries, Structured Storage and Persistent Objects, Monikers, Distributed COM and ActiveX controls amongst other things. Each of the chapters presents an example to illustrate the point of the chapter. The examples are liberally commented to highlight the pertinent points. The book's description of OLE automation is one of the best I have come across.

The book is designed as a workbook - you're expected to try the examples and even perform exercises refining the examples! This is quite a different approach to most COM books. All the source code is provided on the obligatory CD!

I asked the author about the book seeming slightly dated and he kindly replied that the second edition (with 4 new chapters consisting of 200 more pages) was released Christmas 1997. (He also asked me to point out that he conducts on site training ( - I imagine his courses are as cool as Don Box's :-)).

I would recommend seriously looking at the book as a course book for a University course or self-study for getting into OLE/ActiveX. (I imagine the second edition is even better).