In this chapter, I have discussed applications of Microsoft's COM technology, covering automation, documents, controls, and more. You've seen how Delphi makes the development of Automation servers and clients and ActiveX controls, reasonably simple. Delphi even enables you to wrap components around Automation servers, such as Word and Excel. I've also introduced elements of COM+ and discussed briefly the use of ActiveForms inside a browser. I've stated this is not a good approach to Internet web programming—a topic discussed later in the book.
As I mentioned earlier, if COM has a key role in Windows 2000/XP, future versions of Microsoft's operating systems will downplay its role to push the .NET infrastructure (including SOAP and XML). But you'll have to wait until Chapter 23 for a complete discussion of Delphi SOAP support.