Programming Tools

Overview Component programming--the practice of creating reusable code "building blocks"--has become increasingly popular with the advent of object-oriented languages. Two primary technologies exist for building components: CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture), a cross platform component architecture created and maintained by the vendor association OMG (Object Management Group); and COM (Component Object Model), Microsoft's Windows-only answer to component creation. Follow the links below to learn more about these technologies, the history of component creation, and online resources dedicated to component technology. 

History and General Information The article “Tracing the roots of components from OOP through WS” by James Durham explores the key developments of components and object-oriented programming throughout the last 50 years. The article even contains a comprehensive timeline of the development of objects, components, and object-oriented programming, starting in 1951. The Internet contains a wealth of information about programming components. Below is a list of links to sites with both commercially available, and freely distributed programming components. 

COM and CORBA Sites Definitions of CORBA and COM can be found here and here. Also take a look at DCOM, a distributed component architecture based on COM. The OMG maintains a web site with CORBA FAQs, tutorials, and general information; click here to take a look. The official CORBA site is here. Information on COM can be found at Microsoft's COM site which is here. Information on DCOM is located at Microsoft's MSDN DCOM page. Microsoft maintains a site on COM+, an extension to COM, here.

Additional Links Programming Components with Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 by Guy and Henry Eddon (Microsoft Press, 1998) is a highly rated book with detailed information about components, COM, and ActiveX controllers. One excerpt of this book is available at and another excerpt can be found here. To read reviews of this book and to obtain purchase information, visit this page.

The DevX site ( and the Visual Basic Web Magazine site ( are two websites recommended by programmers. Here you’ll find news about the latest VB components and programming techniques. The Visual Basic Programmer's Journal is the standard paper-based reference resource for Visual Basic programmers. You can subscribe to this journal at the DevX site.