The Component Object Model Specification


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The Component Object Model Specification

Version 0.9

October 24, 1995


Note: This document is an early release of the final specification. It is meant to specify and accompany software that is still in devel­opment. Some of the information in this documentation may be inaccurate or may not be an accurate representation of the func­tionality of the final specification or software. Microsoft assumes no responsibility for any damages that might occur either directly or indirectly from these inaccuracies. Microsoft may have trademarks, copyrights, patents or pending patent applications, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. The furnishing of this document does not give you a license to these trademarks, copyrights, patents, or other intellectual property rights.
This document contains the specification to the Component Object Model (COM), an architecture and supporting infrastructure for building, using, and evolving component software in a robust manner. This specification contains the standard APIs supported by the COM Library, the standard suites of interfaces supported or used by software written in a COM environment, along with the network protocols used by COM in support of distributed computing. This specification is still in draft form, and thus subject to change.
The Component Object Model Specification

Draft Version 0.9, October 24, 1995

Microsoft Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation

Copyright © 1992-95 Microsoft Corporation.

Microsoft does not make any representation or warranty regarding the Specification or any product or item developed based on the Specification. Microsoft disclaims all express and implied warranties, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from infringement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Microsoft does not make any warranty of any kind that any item developed based on the Specification, or any portion of it, will not infringe any copyright, patent, trade secret or other intellectual property right of any person or entity in any country. It is your responsibility to seek licenses for such intellectual property rights where appropriate. Microsoft shall not be liable for any damages arising out of or in connection with the use of the Specification, including liability for lost profit, business interruption, or any other damages whatsoever. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages; the above limitation may not apply to you.

Table of Contents

How to Read This Document 4

Part I: Component Object Model Introduction 8

1.Challenges Facing The Software Industry 14

1.Introduction 14

Part II: Component Object Model Programming Interface 37

2.Component Object Model Technical Overview 43

1.2Designing and Implementing Objects 94

1.3Obtaining the Class Factory Object for a CLSID 119

1.4Initializing the Object 124

1.5Object Handlers 149

3.Interface Remoting 166

1.6 Support for Remote Debugging 207

1.7 Call Security 221

Part III: Component Object Model Protocols and Services 234

4.Connectable Objects 238

1.8The IConnectionPointContainer Interface 244

1.9The IEnumConnections Interface 251

2.Overview 263

5.Persistent Intelligent Names: Monikers 263

Part IV: Type Information 337

6.Interface Definition Language 342

7.Type Libraries 366

Part V: The COM Library 370

8.Component Object Model Network Protocol 378

2.2The Object Exporter 401

Appendix B: Bibliography 418

Appendix C: Specification Revision History 422

Appendix D: Index 426

How to Read This Document

This specification is written to help a variety of readers understand the design and implementation of the Component Object Model (referred to herein simply as COM) as much as they would like. The presentation of COM gradually progresses from high-level overviews to COM benefits and eventually into the underlying mechanisms and programming interfaces to COM. This section is intended to help the reader determine what parts of this document to read.

This specification is divided into four parts, each of which contains one or more chapters. Part I is an overview and introduction. Chapter 1, the only chapter in Part I, explains at a high level the motivations of COM and the problems it addresses. It describes what COM is and its features, and describes the major benefits and advantages of COM. All readers should be interested in this chapter.

Part II contains the programming interface to COM, the suite of interfaces and APIs by which Component Object Model software is implemented and used. Chapters 2 through 8 are in Part II.

Chapter 2 goes into more detail about COM features and mechanisms without getting into the details of function call specifications and code. The chapter is intended for technical readers who want to know more than simply what COM is and what problems it solves, and therefore delves deeper into how applications use COM and the benefits of such use.

Chapters 3-6 contain programming-level information for readers who are interested in actually making use of COM in an application. These chapters explain the fundamentals of objects in COM and the creation of object clients as well as object servers. Chapter 3 details the basic object structures and mechanisms and provides the functional specifications of the core of COM. Chapter 4 covers the COM programming interfaces that all applications making use of COM must follow. Chapter 5 then deals specifically with COM clients; Chapter 6 specifically with COM servers.

Chapter 7 contains more detailed information about how COM clients and servers communicate with objects. This information is generally needed only by sophisticated programmers. Nevertheless, programmers may find this chapter enlightening and can gain a clear understanding of all the underlying mechanisms that make COM truly powerful.

Chapter 8 contains information on how communications between COM clients and severs can be made secure.

Part III (Chapters 9-12) provides the functional specifications for the extended features of COM, including storage, naming, and exchange of data. These added features are built on top of the core COM functionality described in the previous chapters.

Part IV specifies standards relating to tools used to assist the authorship of COM software. It includes Chapter 13, which specifies the COM extensions to the standard Interface Definition Language (IDL) of the Open Software Foundation (OSF) Distributed Computing Environment (DCE). This will be of interest primarily to tools vendors who support tools that work with this language. Chapter 14 covers Type Libraries which are the binary equivalent to IDL.

Finally, Part V specifies information needed by programmers who will be implementing COM on other platforms—that is, the programmer who will be implementing COM on a systems level rather than an application level. Within Part V, Chapter 15 specifies the protocol used by COM when performing distributed computing between machines over a network. This chapter heavily references the OSF DCE RPC specification, noted in the Bibliography as [CAE RPC].

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Part I: Component Object Model Introduction

Part I is an overview and introduction to the Component Object Model. The only chapter in Part I (Chapter 1), explains at a high level the motivations of COM and the problems it addresses. It describes what COM is and its features, and describes the major benefits and advantages of COM.

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