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.