Lately, I've had to give back what has to has come to be, for me at least, the ultimate guide to COM+ services and infrastructure. Interestingly enough, this book is not recent. It was actually published way back in 1999, and it's called "Understanding COM+". It was written by one of the funniest geeks I've come to appreciate deeply- David Platt (which, incidentally, you can hear in an audio interview along with Juval Lowy - it gets pretty funny).
The book was written when the term "COM+" was pretty much a newborn, in the days of COM and MTS, when VB developers ruled the world of Microsoft IT applications. I reread the book lately (since I had to give it up to the friend who lent it to me) and it's pretty much just as relevant today. It does not mention .NET at all (there was nothing of the sort back then) but it doesn't have to. The whole point is to understand what COM+ brings to the plate (in .NET it's called "Component Services" but it ties in to the same technology)
In that regard, all I can say is that this is a wonderful book for anyone who's ever wondered what all the hype was about COM+ ,and what's in this thing, really. Yes, it does distributed transactions, but what else does it do?
only a handful of developers that I know can name all the services that COM+ brings to the plate, and even less have used more than one of them. Nevertheless, I do believe that COM+ is one of the biggest underestimates by developers in recent years when it comes to development technologies. People just don't get what they get in the package, and that's a damn shame.
Especially now, when Indigo is up and about, almost. In my mind, it would be crucial to understand where COM+ ends and Indigo begins to reap the full benefits for distributed applications. Understanding MSMQ, Queued Components, Loosely coupled events and Interception is just as vital as it is to understand what web services are, what Service Orientation is, and what a ServiceContract is.
I think any developer who wants to understand the architectural and infrastructural challenges and changes Indigo brings, owes themselves a little trip to recent history and current events, to understand the infrastructure that already drives large parts of many applications, or, at least, should have been.
The writing is funny at times and the text is very informative, with great examples telling you the "Why", not only the "How". The text is a bit unique because it doesn't really tell you how to program against COM+ (there are some code samples, but they are not the point), but more like a functional spec telling you what COM+ is supposed to be to everyone who uses it, and how it gets about its business of adding all those services.
David has forgotten more about COM+ than most developers will ever know about it, and that was 6 years ago. One can only assume what he's going to forget about .NET 2.0 :)
Understanding COM+, by David S. Platt
On that note, I'd also recommend Transactional COM+ by Tim Ewald as a very good compliment to David's book.