Registration-free applications and components

An area of new technology in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 that didn't get nearly enough coverage is the ability to write applications and components that take full advantage of COM without actually registering anything on the target system.  Apps developed with this registration-free mechanism don't require a call to RegSvr32 during install to get their intra-application COM objects set up - no tampering with the registry to get progids listed, no screwing around with INFs and installers - just xcopy (or “net use”) and go.  Isolated applications don't just do COM, however - they also do self-contained xcopy-deployed applications using resources and MUI.  There's an entire book to be written on the topic of side-by-side apps & components that I just don't have time to sit down and pound out given my schedule.  However, I'll be posting a series of “mini chapters” covering this topic - designs, implementations, strategies, etc. Bear with me, as I'm definitely not an author by training.  The first chapter, “Being Isolated” should appear in this space in about a week.

If you happen to be actively developing side-by-side components and applications to take advantage of registration-free COM work (hey, this works from managed code, too...), or you've heard of the topic but want to know more specifics, I'm interested in hearing what areas I should cover.  Do you want code samples?  Airy academic discussion?  Dissection of what CoCreateInstance really does? Something inbetween those three?  Let me know by posting feedback.

Comments (4)
  1. I’d like to know if there is any way add-in and library developers can take advantage of this feature. I have a nasty feeling you have to ‘own’ the EXE involved. Hopefully I’ll be proved wrong!

    Thanks, Jamie.

  2. Andrei says:

    Well, to answer your questions … code examples are certanly required. Because firstly them prove your point and secondly they provide a place to start writing components and apps that you’re talking about.

    I don’t think airy academic discussions are required, but I feel the subjects should be described as thoroughly as necesarry for things to be crystall clear.

    And finally, yes, dissection of any functions or whatever used if at least usefull.

    Of course , those are my opinions , but since your doing such a series of articles, why not do it like a pro. 🙂


  3. Eddie Tse says:

    Can you have registration free COM+ components too? Not Services without components but COM+ objects that doesn’t require registration.

  4. Chango V. says:

    Looking forward to the "mini chapters". I read once about this registration-free COM Interop. Definitely sounds nifty, but it would be nearly an impossible sell with our custom applications (at least for now) if Windows XP is to be reqired. Any way to get the same functionality on Windows 2000 as well?

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