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Programming Server Side Applications For Microsoft Windows 2000
by Jeffrey Richter and Jason D. Clark
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An ever-growing number of applications are being developed for the Windows server platform. As more companies come to rely on this burgeoning code base, software developers require the skills to closely integrate with Windows. Administrators resent applications with obvious bugs, but they will also reject code that is difficult to administer, performs poorly, or dominates system resources. Programming Server-Side Applications for Microsoft Windows 2000 helps intermediate and advanced Windows programmers by covering a range of topics needed to develop reliable applications for Windows 2000.
Readers should be familiar with C++ Windows programming and spend little time introducing basic concepts. Advanced readers will find this refreshing, while beginners should scurry off and bone up by reading the prequel, Jeffrey Richter's Programming Applications for Microsoft Windows. Moreover, although this book covers server-side applications, it spends very little time on network programming--it assumes the reader is already comfortable with sockets or some other form of client/server communication.
The sections on services and administration are straightforward, and readers familiar with Windows NT will easily grasp the skills needed to build system-friendly applications. Security is a trickier topic, and the authors do a good job of introducing the different aspects of Windows security, emphasizing the functions that programmers will use most frequently. There is a solid explanation of Windows network authentication and secure communication. (These topics almost warrant a separate book, but there is enough information here to get off to a good start.)
The critical nature of server-side applications is emphasized--stressing that it is not acceptable to reboot the server machine regularly if the system grows unstable. Readers get strong advice on the importance of managing resources, easy administration, and scalability. In most cases, these concepts are reinforced with specific examples throughout the text via notes on common pitfalls and bugs, but it would have been nice to see this point hammered home a bit more, especially the difficulty in testing code in a simulated production environment.
The best aspect of this book is the exemplary sample code. It is easy to understand and well documented, and it does a good job of demonstrating the topics the book discusses. The companion CD-ROM contains all the code needed to build the sample applications under Visual C++ 6.0, most of which can easily be modified to other uses. Note that much of the information in this book is not specific to Windows 2000--it can be easily applied to Windows NT 4--but new features such as Active Directory are not discussed in any detail. You can use this book to modify existing applications to better integrate with Windows, or to develop new server applications from scratch. If you want a solid tutorial for developing Windows server applications, this will make a nice supplement to your technical library. --Pete Ostenson
Topics covered: I/O completion ports and thread pools, Windows service development and administration, managing the Registry, performance counters, event logging, Windows security, user and group management, SSPI, and SSL.
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