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 Book Review of the week

  Advanced CORBA Programming with C++
  By Michi Henning and Steve Vinoski
  ISBN 0201379279
  1120 pages
  Price: $54.95
  (Reviewed 6/22/99)
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The Definitive CORBA Book for C++ Programmers
An in-depth CORBA reference as well as a tutorial with countless case studies and code examples

A long-awaited title, Advanced CORBA Programming with C++ contains the most comprehensive coverage of CORBA programming in C++ that we've come across to date. Compared to the first CORBA book we read about three years ago The Essential Distributed Objects Survival Guide by Robert Orfali et al (John Wiley & Sons), which was rather frustrating to read and lacked details Advanced CORBA Programming with C++ has it all.

It's not that we as programmers need to understand the intricacies of underlying mechanisms such as IIOP if we want to use an ORB, but it's good to know in principle what is going on under the hood. Henning and Vinoski dig deep and go beyond the CORBA specification and, in many places, the various APIs to provide invaluable insights into CORBA's internal mechanisms. In a way this book provides you with many more details than you might want to know. However, not only is this an in-depth CORBA reference, it is also a tutorial that comes with countless case studies and code examples. Even better, it keeps an eye on pitfalls and performance impediments. The authors also discuss design decisions and often come up with helpful recommendations.

Advanced CORBA Programming with C++ is most decidedly not a book for beginners. You need to be literate in C++, you need to know what CORBA is from a high-level perspective, and you should also have experience with network programming and multi-threading. But if you meet these prerequisites and are looking for in-depth coverage of CORBA that enables you to implement industrial-strength CORBA-based systems, then this is the right book for you.

Henning and Vinoski's book covers CORBA 2.3 as defined by the OMG (of which the authors are active members) and covers the latest features that your ORB might not even have implemented yet. It starts with an introduction showing a minimal CORBA application and introduces the concepts of CORBA. Then it focuses on CORBA with C++: the IDL mapping, the POA (Portable Object Adapter), and object lifecycle problems. Next come chapters devoted to CORBA networking protocols, dynamic CORBA, CORBA services (Naming, Trading, Events), and--to top it off--multi-threaded servers and strategies for optimizing performance and scalability.

Despite its hefty 1,000 pages, Henning and Vinoski still feel that the book is too short. Indeed, they had to omit novel and less essential features such as the transactions and security services. Nonetheless, this book is the most comprehensive, in-depth, and practical reference you can find.

Angelika Langer develops and teaches classes on advanced C++, STL, multithreading, internationalization, and Java. She has served on the ANSI/ISO C++ Committee since 1993. Klaus Kreft is a software architect and consultant with more than a decade of experience in industrial software development. He works for Siemens Business Services in Germany. Langer and Kreft are working on a book about standard C++ iostreams and locales and are columnists for C++ Report. Reach them at

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