Microsoft foreshadows simpler COM creation

Microsoft foreshadows simpler COM creation

Microsoft has previewed a feature in the next release of Visual C++ designed to simplify the creation of Component Object Model (COM) components in that language.

Paul Gross, Microsoft's vice president of developer tools, demonstrated these extensions to the C++ language, called Attributes, at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference recently.

"There is a mismatch between COM, which is interface-based, and C++," Gross said. "COM corresponds to C++ only in methods. We were making developers write lots of code to make COM components work together."

Attributes aim to unify the programming models of C++ and COM+, which is the next version of COM that will be delivered as part of Windows NT 5.0, Gross said. This is achieved by using source code annotations to create the needed infrastructure code for COM+ components, he explained.

Using Attributes, C++ developers will find it easier to request COM+ services such as transactions, queuing, remote access, and security, Gross added.

One professional developer who currently uses Visual C++ 6.0 welcomed the idea of getting help in writing COM+ components.

"We've been waiting for this for a while - we write lots of COM objects in C++," said Jerry Plouffe, principal software engineer at Mangosoft, a PC connectivity software publisher in Westboro, Massachusetts.

Plouffe said he would use Microsoft's Attributes to ease the task of creating COM+ components going forward.

Microsoft released to conference attendees a C++ Technology Preview that includes an "early look" at Attributes.

The technology will be included in the next release of Visual C++, scheduled to be delivered as part of Microsoft's Visual Studio developer's suite approximately 60 days after Windows NT 5.0 is shipped, sometime in 1999.

Also planned for the next release of Visual Studio is a tool called Visual Studio Installer, which Gross also demonstrated.

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