Win32 Systems Programming

Overview

With Win32 System Programming, you can capitalize on your knowledge of high-end operating systems such as UNIX, MVS, and VMS to learn Windows system programming quickly. Written from the perspective of an experienced programmer, the book presents the core operating system services of Win32, the common API for the Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems. It explains Win32 functions clearly, with numerous comparisons to corresponding UNIX calls, and highlights features unique to Win32. Because most experienced ...
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Overview

With Win32 System Programming, you can capitalize on your knowledge of high-end operating systems such as UNIX, MVS, and VMS to learn Windows system programming quickly. Written from the perspective of an experienced programmer, the book presents the core operating system services of Win32, the common API for the Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems. It explains Win32 functions clearly, with numerous comparisons to corresponding UNIX calls, and highlights features unique to Win32. Because most experienced programmers are already familiar with processes, virtual memory, and preemptive scheduling, the book spends little time introducing these concepts, but instead shows how they are implemented in Win32. This text is for programmers using systems services, and focuses on the management of core operating systems resources rather than the graphical user interface.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
For those UNIX programmers and computer science students grudgingly or otherwise accepting that Windows has taken over as the computer platform of choice, Hart (Peritus Software Services and consultant) provides a guide to the essentials of Windows 95, Windows NT, and Win32 system programming. He probes the mysteries of: the Win32 file system and character I/O, direct file access and attributes, structured exception handling, memory management, security, process management, interprocess communication, threads and scheduling, Win32 synchronization, dynamic link libraries, asynchronous I/O, performance results, and Win32, UNIX and C library comparisons. Includes notes on using the sample CD-ROM programs and, unusual for computer books, a bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Doug Nickerson

Win32 System Programming

In a world with no shortage of Windows books, Win32 System Programming stands out by focusing exclusively on Windows system programming. It covers the "systems" areas of the Win32 API, barely mentioning Graphical User Interface programming at all.

The book is also directed at UNIX (or VMS) programmers. The ideal reader is familiar with the main components of an operating system, without necessarily having Win16 experience. By directing the book to UNIX exiles interested in moving to Windows NT, the author avoids explaining systems concepts in great detail. This is clearly a boon -- and also a bit of a bane at times.

Each chapter describes the API in a specific Win32 system area; all the functions for Win32 file I/O, or for creating and synchronizing threads and processes, followed by examples using the specific API. The examples are heavily UNIX influenced: Win32 implementations of grep, tail, and pwd, for example. They are all in C and are all Win32 console applications.

Win32 System Programming does a good job of integrating topics across chapters. For instance, one example grep program searches multiple files by creating a different process for each file; the chapter on threads modifies the same program to use multiple threads. An appendix has an interesting table of functions that are similar among Win32, UNIX, and ANSI C. Hart also tests his functions for performance. Appendix C gives these results for eight differently configured computer systems, including an Alpha system with four CPUs.

For UNIX programmers, sidebars discuss those UNIX features that are comparable to the API being described. I liked the guidelines given for things such as when to use standard I/O, or when and how to use Unicode. The author sometimes feels the book's Win32 focus requires Win32 to come out on top. The Win32 approach is usually described as being more flexible, secure, or having more features (and a lot more parameters).

The advice is fairly balanced, but newcomers interested in general Windows programming issues might be misdirected. Programming Windows 95 says malloc and free are just fine for Win32 programs (in C anyway). Hart spends a lot of space creating new heaps with HeapCreate and allocating memory with HeapAlloc, and only mentions in a sidebar that most programmers will continue to use malloc, free, and the default heap.

I sometimes wished for a better development of background information. Other advanced books such as Jeffery Richter's Advanced Windows, Third Edition (Microsoft Press, 1997, ISBN 1-572-31548-2) create a better conceptual framework within which topics can be understood. (See Richter's development of "kernel objects," for example.) When Richter explains Structured Exception Handling (SEH), he traces code fragments to show the flow of the code. The Hart book covers the syntax ground of SEH well, but might leave you wondering about the actual run-time behavior. Chapters 9 to 11 develop a client/server example that's worth studying if you want to see processes, threads, semaphores, mutexes, and named-pipes used together in one big bang.

Notwithstanding its lack of hand holding, you still may find this book worth having on your shelf. After such books as Petzold's and Richter's, Win32 System Programming is certainly worth consulting for a different point of view. It's clearly written, although sometimes dry -- the code illustrates what it intends, and the editing is trustworthy. And, in a world with no shortage of Windows books, that ain't bad.--Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201634655
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 8/22/1997
  • Series: Addison-Wesley Advanced Windows Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD ROM
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.61 (w) x 9.51 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

This book shows how to use the Win32 Application Programming Interface (API), concentrating on the core system services, including the file system, process and thread management, interprocess communication, and synchronization. User interfaces, network programming, internals, and I/O drivers, although important and interesting topics, are outside the book's scope. The examples concentrate on scenarios that are likely to arise in practice, and, in many cases, the examples can be used as a base for real applications.

The Win32 API is supported by Microsoft's 32-bit operating systems: Windows NT and Windows 95. There is no doubt that Win32 is an important factor for application developers, in many cases replacing UNIX as the preferred API for application programs targeted at the desktop and client/server systems. Many observers predict that Win32 will become the dominant programming interface, whereas others feel that UNIX and Win32 will coexist and each will find its own niche.

Regardless of the outcome of the operating system wars, many experienced programmers will want to learn the Win32 API quickly, and this book is designed to help them.

The first objectives are to explain what Win32 is, show how to use it in realistic situations, and do so as quickly as possible without burdening the reader with unnecessary detail. The book is, therefore, not comprehensive, but it does explain the central features of the most important functions and shows how to use them in realistic programming situations. Equipped with this knowledge, the reader will be able to use the comprehensive Microsoft reference documentation to explore details, advancedoptions, and the more obscure functions as requirements or interests dictate. I have found the Win32 API easy to learn using this approach, and I have greatly enjoyed developing Win32 programs despite occasional frustration. This enthusiasm will show through at times, as it should. This does not mean that I feel that Win32 is necessarily better in any sense, but it certainly has many attractive features.

Most Win32 books are designed for Windows 3.1 programmers and often concentrate on the user interface. These books spend a great deal of time explaining how processes, virtual memory, interprocess communication, and preemptive scheduling work. A programmer experienced in UNIX, VAX VMS, IBM MVS, or another high-end operating system-that is, nearly anything other than the Windows 3.1 Win16 API-will be familiar with these concepts and will be impatient to find out how they are implemented in Win32. Most Win32 books also spend a great deal of space on user interface programming. This book avoids the user interface, beyond discussing simple character-based console I/O, in the interest of concentrating on core features.

Audience

  • Anyone who has experience programming in UNIX or in an operating system other than Windows 3.1 and who wants to learn about Win32 quickly.
  • Programmers and software engineers who must port existing applications, often in UNIX, to Win32 for operation under Windows NT or Windows 95. This book contains many comparisons between Win32, UNIX, and standard C library functions and programming models. All common UNIX functionality, including process management, synchronization, file systems, and interprocess communication, is covered in Win32 terms.
  • Programmers who are developing servers or other systems in which management of resources such as processes and threads is of primary importance and in which the user interface is of secondary importance.
  • Readers starting new projects who are not constrained by the need to port existing code. Many aspects of program design and implementation are covered, and Win32 functions are used to create useful applications and to solve common programming problems.
  • Computer science students at the upperclass undergraduate or beginning graduate level in courses covering systems programming or application development. This book would be a useful complementary text to a book such as W. Richard Stevens's Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment (see the Bibliography) so that students could compare Win32 and UNIX.

Organization

Chapters are organized topically so that the features required in even a single-process application are covered first, followed by process and thread management features. This organization allows the reader to advance logically from file systems to security, memory management, and file mapping, and then to processes, threads, synchronization, and other Win32 system services. This organization also allows the examples to evolve in a natural way, much as a developer might create a simple prototype and then add additional capability. The advanced features, such as asynchronous I/O, appear last.

Within each chapter, after introducing the functionality area, such as process management or memory-mapped files, we discuss important Win32 functions and their relationships in detail. Illustrative examples follow. Within the text, only essential parts of programs are listed; complete programs and the required include files, utility functions, and the like are in an appendix or on the disc provided with the book. Throughout, we identify those features supported only by Windows NT, as Windows 95 does not implement many advanced features. Each chapter suggests related additional reading and gives some exercises.

Chapter 1 is a high-level introduction to Windows NT and Windows 95, showing why you might need to learn about them. Chapter 2 compares UNIX, the C library, and Win32, with short file copy programs illustrating and contrasting each. Chapter 2 also introduces the Win32 programming style and conventions.

Chapters 3 and 4 deal with file systems, console I/O, and directory management. Unicode, the extended character set used by Windows NT, is also introduced here. Examples include sequential and direct file processing and a directory traversal program.

Chapter 5 introduces Win32's Structured Exception Handling (SEH) capability, which will be used extensively starting in Chapter 6. Many books defer SEH to later chapters, but by introducing it early, this book lets you use it throughout.

Chapter 6 treats Win32 memory management and shows how to use memory-mapped files.

Chapter 7 explains Windows NT security, showing, in an example, how to emulate UNIX-style file permissions. Security upgrades can then be applied to the examples as appropriate. Although security is used in the later chapters, feel free to skip this chapter if you are not interested in security.

Chapter 8 introduces Win32 processes and simple process synchronization along with file locking. Chapter 9 then shows how to use anonymous and named pipes for interprocess communication. Chapter 10 discusses threads, and Chapter 11 covers the various synchronization primitives: mutexes, semaphores, events, and critical sections.

Chapter 12 gives a brief introduction to some additional topics, including dynamic link libraries, and shows how to create in-process servers using DLLs. The Internet Server API (ISAPI) is used to illustrate these concepts.

Chapter 13 shows how to use overlapped I/O with events and completion routines. For file systems, this feature applies only to Windows NT, and you can achieve much the same thing with threads, so this chapter will be optional for some readers.

Chapter 14 concludes with a survey of two specialized topics: fibers and the registry. Beyond discussing these features, this chapter illustrates that readers now have the necessary information to learn other Win32 topics beyond the core system services.

There are three appendixes. Appendix A describes the programs on the disc and how to use them. Appendix B contains several tables that compare Win32 functions with their counterparts in UNIX and the Standard C library. Appendix C compares the performance of alternative implementations of some of the examples in the text so that you can gauge the trade-offs between Win32 features, both basic and advanced, and the C library.

UNIX and C Library Notes and Tables

Within the text at appropriate points, we contrast Win32 style and functionality with the comparable UNIX and ANSI Standard C library features. Tables listing the comparable functions are in Appendix B. This information is included because many readers are familiar with UNIX and are interested in the comparisons between the two systems. Readers without a UNIX background should feel free to skip these paragraphs. Such discussions are indented, in a smaller font, and labeled with a UNIX icon.

Examples

The examples are designed to do the following:
  • Illustrate common, representative, and useful applications of the Win32 functions.
  • Correspond to real programming situations encountered in program development, consulting, and teaching.
  • Emphasize how the functions actually behave and interact, which is not always as you might first expect after reading the documentation.
  • Grow and expand, adding new capability to a previous solution in an easy and natural manner and exploring alternative implementation techniques.
  • Frequently implement UNIX commands, such as ls, rm, and sort, showing the Win32 functions in a familiar context while creating a useful set of utilities. Different implementations of the same command will also give us an easy way to compare performance benefits available with advanced Win32 features. Appendix C contains the results of these performance tests.

Exercises at the end of each chapter suggest alternative designs, subjects for investigation, and additional functionality. Some exercises are easy, and a few are very challenging.

All examples have been debugged and tested under Windows NT and, where appropriate, under Windows 95. For Windows NT testing we used versions 3.51 and 4.0, and although the bulk of the development was performed on single-processor, Intel-based systems, the programs were also tested on multi-processor and Digital Alpha systems. The client/server applications have been tested using multiple clients simultaneously interacting with a server. Nonetheless, there is no guarantee or assurance of program correctness, completeness, or fitness for any purpose. Undoubtedly, even the simplest examples contain defects or will fail under some conditions; such is the fate of nearly all software. I will, however, gratefully appreciate any messages regarding program defects-and, better still, fixes.

Acknowledgments

Numerous people have provided assistance, advice, and encouragement. It is conventional to say that the book would not have been possible without them; in this case, that would be an understatement. The Addison Wesley Longman editors-Ben Ryan and Mike Hendrickson-have patiently steered the book through the many stages from first concept to publication, and Sarah Weaver has been an excellent and helpful project manager. Betsy Hardinger, the copy editor, made many improvements. Alan Feuer, the series editor, deserves special and immediate thanks and recognition. Not only has Alan provided the normal encouragement and prodding, but his suggestion to develop UNIX-like commands as sample programs greatly improved my first clumsy examples. Students in the Technology Exchange Company's course 835, Win32 System Programming, which is based on this book, have provided invaluable suggestions. Readers who have made useful comments or provided encouragement at various stages include, in alphabetical order, Maury Bach, Ed Dekker, Peggy Harris, Shirley Kaltenbach, Joe Newcomer, Ali Rafieymehr, Edward Schiebel, and Larry Schmuhl. Hein van den Heuvel and Marc Slater of Digital Equipment Corporation arranged access to the Alpha and SMP systems used for performance tests in Appendix C. Elissa Armour prepared the manuscript with patience, skill, and professionalism. Dominic Chan and Allan Deary of Peritus Software Services, Inc., have encouraged this effort and made computing resources available for developing both the text and the example programs. Most importantly, my wife Linda is the one whose support has really made this book possible. It's been a wonderful 30 years together, and we look forward to many, many more.

Johnson (John) M. Hart
jmhart@world.std.com



0201634651P04062001

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Windows NT and Windows 95 1
Ch. 2 Getting Started with Win32 9
Ch. 3 Using the Win32 File System and Character I/O 21
Ch. 4 Direct File Access and File Attributes 51
Ch. 5 Structured Exception Handling 69
Ch. 6 Memory Management and Memory-Mapped Files 91
Ch. 7 Security 121
Ch. 8 Process Management 143
Ch. 9 Interprocess Communication 179
Ch. 10 Threads and Scheduling 203
Ch. 11 Win32 Synchronization 223
Ch. 12 Dynamic Link Libraries, In-Process Servers, and the ISAPI 253
Ch. 13 Asynchronous Input/Output 267
Ch. 14 Other Topics: Fibers, the Registry, and Beyond 285
App. A Using the Sample Programs 301
App. B Win32, UNIX, and C Library Comparisons 317
App. C Performance Results 333
Bibliography 345
Index 349
Read More Show Less

Preface

This book shows how to use the Win32 Application Programming Interface (API), concentrating on the core system services, including the file system, process and thread management, interprocess communication, and synchronization. User interfaces, network programming, internals, and I/O drivers, although important and interesting topics, are outside the book's scope. The examples concentrate on scenarios that are likely to arise in practice, and, in many cases, the examples can be used as a base for real applications.

The Win32 API is supported by Microsoft's 32-bit operating systems: Windows NT and Windows 95. There is no doubt that Win32 is an important factor for application developers, in many cases replacing UNIX as the preferred API for application programs targeted at the desktop and client/server systems. Many observers predict that Win32 will become the dominant programming interface, whereas others feel that UNIX and Win32 will coexist and each will find its own niche.

Regardless of the outcome of the operating system wars, many experienced programmers will want to learn the Win32 API quickly, and this book is designed to help them.

The first objectives are to explain what Win32 is, show how to use it in realistic situations, and do so as quickly as possible without burdening the reader with unnecessary detail. The book is, therefore, not comprehensive, but it does explain the central features of the most important functions and shows how to use them in realistic programming situations. Equipped with this knowledge, the reader will be able to use the comprehensive Microsoft reference documentation to explore details,advanced options, and the more obscure functions as requirements or interests dictate. I have found the Win32 API easy to learn using this approach, and I have greatly enjoyed developing Win32 programs despite occasional frustration. This enthusiasm will show through at times, as it should. This does not mean that I feel that Win32 is necessarily better in any sense, but it certainly has many attractive features.

Most Win32 books are designed for Windows 3.1 programmers and often concentrate on the user interface. These books spend a great deal of time explaining how processes, virtual memory, interprocess communication, and preemptive scheduling work. A programmer experienced in UNIX, VAX VMS, IBM MVS, or another high-end operating system-that is, nearly anything other than the Windows 3.1 Win16 API-will be familiar with these concepts and will be impatient to find out how they are implemented in Win32. Most Win32 books also spend a great deal of space on user interface programming. This book avoids the user interface, beyond discussing simple character-based console I/O, in the interest of concentrating on core features.

Audience

  • Anyone who has experience programming in UNIX or in an operating system other than Windows 3.1 and who wants to learn about Win32 quickly.
  • Programmers and software engineers who must port existing applications, often in UNIX, to Win32 for operation under Windows NT or Windows 95. This book contains many comparisons between Win32, UNIX, and standard C library functions and programming models. All common UNIX functionality, including process management, synchronization, file systems, and interprocess communication, is covered in Win32 terms.
  • Programmers who are developing servers or other systems in which management of resources such as processes and threads is of primary importance and in which the user interface is of secondary importance.
  • Readers starting new projects who are not constrained by the need to port existing code. Many aspects of program design and implementation are covered, and Win32 functions are used to create useful applications and to solve common programming problems.
  • Computer science students at the upperclass undergraduate or beginning graduate level in courses covering systems programming or application development. This book would be a useful complementary text to a book such as W. Richard Stevens's Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment (see the Bibliography) so that students could compare Win32 and UNIX.

Organization

Chapters are organized topically so that the features required in even a single-process application are covered first, followed by process and thread management features. This organization allows the reader to advance logically from file systems to security, memory management, and file mapping, and then to processes, threads, synchronization, and other Win32 system services. This organization also allows the examples to evolve in a natural way, much as a developer might create a simple prototype and then add additional capability. The advanced features, such as asynchronous I/O, appear last.

Within each chapter, after introducing the functionality area, such as process management or memory-mapped files, we discuss important Win32 functions and their relationships in detail. Illustrative examples follow. Within the text, only essential parts of programs are listed; complete programs and the required include files, utility functions, and the like are in an appendix or on the disc provided with the book. Throughout, we identify those features supported only by Windows NT, as Windows 95 does not implement many advanced features. Each chapter suggests related additional reading and gives some exercises.

Chapter 1 is a high-level introduction to Windows NT and Windows 95, showing why you might need to learn about them. Chapter 2 compares UNIX, the C library, and Win32, with short file copy programs illustrating and contrasting each. Chapter 2 also introduces the Win32 programming style and conventions.

Chapters 3 and 4 deal with file systems, console I/O, and directory management. Unicode, the extended character set used by Windows NT, is also introduced here. Examples include sequential and direct file processing and a directory traversal program.

Chapter 5 introduces Win32's Structured Exception Handling (SEH) capability, which will be used extensively starting in Chapter 6. Many books defer SEH to later chapters, but by introducing it early, this book lets you use it throughout.

Chapter 6 treats Win32 memory management and shows how to use memory-mapped files.

Chapter 7 explains Windows NT security, showing, in an example, how to emulate UNIX-style file permissions. Security upgrades can then be applied to the examples as appropriate. Although security is used in the later chapters, feel free to skip this chapter if you are not interested in security.

Chapter 8 introduces Win32 processes and simple process synchronization along with file locking. Chapter 9 then shows how to use anonymous and named pipes for interprocess communication. Chapter 10 discusses threads, and Chapter 11 covers the various synchronization primitives: mutexes, semaphores, events, and critical sections.

Chapter 12 gives a brief introduction to some additional topics, including dynamic link libraries, and shows how to create in-process servers using DLLs. The Internet Server API (ISAPI) is used to illustrate these concepts.

Chapter 13 shows how to use overlapped I/O with events and completion routines. For file systems, this feature applies only to Windows NT, and you can achieve much the same thing with threads, so this chapter will be optional for some readers.

Chapter 14 concludes with a survey of two specialized topics: fibers and the registry. Beyond discussing these features, this chapter illustrates that readers now have the necessary information to learn other Win32 topics beyond the core system services.

There are three appendixes. Appendix A describes the programs on the disc and how to use them. Appendix B contains several tables that compare Win32 functions with their counterparts in UNIX and the Standard C library. Appendix C compares the performance of alternative implementations of some of the examples in the text so that you can gauge the trade-offs between Win32 features, both basic and advanced, and the C library.

UNIX and C Library Notes and Tables

Within the text at appropriate points, we contrast Win32 style and functionality with the comparable UNIX and ANSI Standard C library features. Tables listing the comparable functions are in Appendix B. This information is included because many readers are familiar with UNIX and are interested in the comparisons between the two systems. Readers without a UNIX background should feel free to skip these paragraphs. Such discussions are indented, in a smaller font, and labeled with a UNIX icon.

Examples

The examples are designed to do the following:
  • Illustrate common, representative, and useful applications of the Win32 functions.
  • Correspond to real programming situations encountered in program development, consulting, and teaching.
  • Emphasize how the functions actually behave and interact, which is not always as you might first expect after reading the documentation.
  • Grow and expand, adding new capability to a previous solution in an easy and natural manner and exploring alternative implementation techniques.
  • Frequently implement UNIX commands, such as ls, rm, and sort, showing the Win32 functions in a familiar context while creating a useful set of utilities. Different implementations of the same command will also give us an easy way to compare performance benefits available with advanced Win32 features. Appendix C contains the results of these performance tests.

Exercises at the end of each chapter suggest alternative designs, subjects for investigation, and additional functionality. Some exercises are easy, and a few are very challenging.

All examples have been debugged and tested under Windows NT and, where appropriate, under Windows 95. For Windows NT testing we used versions 3.51 and 4.0, and although the bulk of the development was performed on single-processor, Intel-based systems, the programs were also tested on multi-processor and Digital Alpha systems. The client/server applications have been tested using multiple clients simultaneously interacting with a server. Nonetheless, there is no guarantee or assurance of program correctness, completeness, or fitness for any purpose. Undoubtedly, even the simplest examples contain defects or will fail under some conditions; such is the fate of nearly all software. I will, however, gratefully appreciate any messages regarding program defects-and, better still, fixes.

Acknowledgments

Numerous people have provided assistance, advice, and encouragement. It is conventional to say that the book would not have been possible without them; in this case, that would be an understatement. The Addison Wesley Longman editors-Ben Ryan and Mike Hendrickson-have patiently steered the book through the many stages from first concept to publication, and Sarah Weaver has been an excellent and helpful project manager. Betsy Hardinger, the copy editor, made many improvements. Alan Feuer, the series editor, deserves special and immediate thanks and recognition. Not only has Alan provided the normal encouragement and prodding, but his suggestion to develop UNIX-like commands as sample programs greatly improved my first clumsy examples. Students in the Technology Exchange Company's course 835, Win32 System Programming, which is based on this book, have provided invaluable suggestions. Readers who have made useful comments or provided encouragement at various stages include, in alphabetical order, Maury Bach, Ed Dekker, Peggy Harris, Shirley Kaltenbach, Joe Newcomer, Ali Rafieymehr, Edward Schiebel, and Larry Schmuhl. Hein van den Heuvel and Marc Slater of Digital Equipment Corporation arranged access to the Alpha and SMP systems used for performance tests in Appendix C. Elissa Armour prepared the manuscript with patience, skill, and professionalism. Dominic Chan and Allan Deary of Peritus Software Services, Inc., have encouraged this effort and made computing resources available for developing both the text and the example programs. Most importantly, my wife Linda is the one whose support has really made this book possible. It's been a wonderful 30 years together, and we look forward to many, many more.

Johnson (John) M. Hart
jmhart@world.std.com



Read More Show Less

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