Locating Resources to Study Automation

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SUMMARY

Automation allows a client application to call methods or properties of a server application. This article provides pointers to resources for studying Automation using the Windows Software Developer Kit (SDK).

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Books

The following books provide a good introduction to implementing OLE automation using the Windows SDK:
  1. Inside COM by Dale Rogerson. A good, practical guide for all COM users. Microsoft Press. ISBN# 1-57231-349-8.

    Give particular attention to Chapter 11: "Dispatch Interfaces and Automation."
  2. Inside Visual C++ by David J. Kruglinski. This fourth edition is a good overall explanation of the capabilities of Visual C++. Microsoft Press. ISBN# 1-57231-565-2.

    Read Chapter 24: "Automation."
  3. OLE Automation Programmer's Reference - Creating Programmable 32-bit applications. Microsoft Press. ISBN 1-55615-851-3.

    Read the following chapters for an introduction of automation servers and clients:

    Chapter 1: "Overview of OLE Automation."
    Chapter 2: "Exposing OLE Automation Objects."
    Chapter 3: "Accessing OLE Automation Objects."

    This book references the HELLO, LINES, BROWSE, and BROWSEH samples that ship with the Win32 SDK and the 32-bit Visual C++ compiler.
  4. Inside OLE - second edition by Kraig Brockschmidt. Microsoft Press. ISBN 1-55615-843-2.

    The following chapters provide information about OLE automation:

    Chapter 14: "OLE Automation and Automation Objects."
    Chapter 15: "OLE Automation Controllers and Tools."
    Chapter 3 : "Type Information."
    Chapter 4 : "Connectable Objects."

Samples

Samples available from the Microsoft Download Center are indicated by the Q number and the Title of the article pointing to the sample. All other samples can be obtained from the Win32 SDK and the 32-bit Visual C++ compiler. All samples are 32-bit unless otherwise indicated.

Servers

  • HELLO - Simple EXE-based automation server. This is a good sample to use to learn how to create your first automation server.
  • LINES - A more complex EXE-based automation server that also implements collections.
  • BROWSEH - An inproc (DLL-based) automation server.
  • SIMPAUTO - A simple EXE-based, 16-bit automation server. (See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    107981 SAMPLE: Simple OLE Automation Object Sample)
  • AUTODLL - A simple inproc (DLL-based), 16-bit automation server. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    107982 SAMPLE: OLE Automation Inproc Object
  • DISPCALC, DISPCALC2, SPOLY, and SPOLY2 are other servers that ship with the Win32 SDK. These are older samples and should be looked at only after you have seen the others previously mentioned in this section.

Clients

  • HELLCTRL - Client that controls the server using vtbl-binding.
  • BROWSE - Client that controls server using late-binding. The invhelp.cpp and invhelp.h files contain helper functions that make it easy to write clients for any server.
  • DISPDEMO - Client that controls server using late-binding.
  • AUTOCTRL - 16-bit automation client that uses late-binding. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    106080 SAMPLE: OLE Automation Controller Sample
    NOTE: Clients can also be easily written using Visual Basic.

Type Library Browsers

  • TIBROWSE - Simple type library browser that demonstrates the use of ITypeLib and ITypeInfo.
  • BROWSEH - More complex type library browser.

Type Library Builders

  • TYPEBLD - Demonstrates how to use ICreateTypeLib and ICreateTypeInfo to create a type library. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    131105 SAMPLE: TYPEBLD: How to Use ICreateTypeLib & ICreateTypeInfo

Safe Arrays

  • SAFEARAY - Demonstrates the use of safe arrays. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    131086 SAMPLE: SAFEARAY: Use of Safe Arrays in Automation
  • BINARY - Demonstrates the use of safe arrays to transfer binary data. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    131046 SAMPLE: BINARY: Transfer Binary Data Using OLE Automation

Optional and Variable Number of Arguments

  • OPTARG - Demonstrates the use of optional and variable number of arguments. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    131052 SAMPLE: OPTARG: Optional Parameters with Automation

Collections

  • LINES - Implements collections.
  • COLLECT - 16-bit sample that demonstrates how to implement collections.

MultiLingual Servers

  • MULTLING - Server that implements properties and methods in three languages. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    107698 SAMPLE: Multilingual OLE Automation Object

REFERENCES

For additional information about Automation, please click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
196776 FAQ: Office Automation Using Visual C++
181473 HOWTO: Use OLE Automation from a C Application Rather Than C++
216686 HOWTO: Automate Excel From C++ Without Using MFC or #import
216388 FILE: B2CSE.exe Converts Visual Basic Automation Code to Visual C++

Properties

Article ID: 152023 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 2.5
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbautomation kbinfo kbprogramming KB152023

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