DCOM specification to supersede WinSock on Windows 95 clients
By Jim Balderston
Posted at 1:00 AM PT, Sept 2, 1996
Within the next few weeks, Microsoft Corp. will announce plans to bring its
Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) to Windows 95, laying the foundation
for distributed application development on its popular desktop operating
DCOM allows developers to write to communication services rather than
building connectivity directly into the applications each time. It serves the
same purpose that an object request broker (ORB) does in the rival distributed
computing framework, the Object Management Group's CORBA standard. DCOM on
Win95 also means that a future class of DCOM applications on Windows NT will
now be available to a new set of desktops.
Microsoft has already placed DCOM on Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server.
"This doesn't come as a surprise to us," said John Landwehr, product manager
for WebObjects at Next Software Inc., in Redwood City, Calif. "They have been
releasing this in bits and pieces for quite some time."
Landwehr said Microsoft's plans reflect recent developments from the CORBA
camp, which has been singing the praises of distributed component-based
"This makes perfect sense as a response to all of the announcements
concerning the Internet Inter-ORB Protocol and CORBA," Landwehr said.
DCOM on the Windows 95 desktop will simplify developers' tasks, Landwehr added.
"You won't have to program to the [WinSock] level," Landwehr said.
Bringing DCOM to the Win95 desktop will expand the market for DCOM
applications, one industry expert said.
"Now you don't have to have the NT desktop to build for DCOM, " said Mike
Kennedy, an analyst at the Meta Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn. "When you build
in DCOM now, you will get to a whole lot more desktops."
Bringing DCOM to Windows 95 will allow for peer-to-peer communications
between Win95 desktops, and it will allow for greater flexibility in the
"This really provides greater scalability to Windows, " Kennedy said. "It
allows applications to be split up across both servers and clients." The DCOM
for Win95 announcement is only the first step, he added.
"The parts are not all in place," Kennedy said, pointing out that there is no
directory for components.
Sources close to Microsoft confirmed that the DCOM announcement would involve
the "framework and not applications."
Kennedy said the DCOM announcement will encourage developers working in the
Microsoft OLE environment.
The announcement will also give Microsoft an answer to the arguments of
competitors such as Next and Apple Computer Inc., said Dan Lavin, an industry
analyst at San Jose, Calif.-based Dataquest Inc.
"The larger issue is that Microsoft is continuing to push the Windows
platform as the primary development platform," Lavin said.