Although similarly titled to Wrox's Professional COM Applications with ATL , these are very different books. Grimes portrays this book as findings of his personal odyssey through ATL, showing us how to use it, why it is so, and how to extend it.
Grimes opens with a chapter on effective COM development, establishing various rules for industrial strength resource management. He follows this with a critique of the ATL architecture, aiming to "clear the forest" for the bewildered COM developer by breaking down the COM server development process into logical steps. Further chapters provide treatment of how ATL 3.0 incredibly simplifies COM development. Indeed, the ATL Object Wizard gets a chapter to itself. Grimes is not afraid to tackle the issues that the other (advanced) ATL/COM offering from Wrox avoids; debugging support, threading, marshalling and connection points all get treatment under the Grimes microscope. The last quarter of the book is a more familiar style tutorial taking the reader from adding windowing support to their component, including windows message handling, adding and exposing properties (hey you've got a control!) before eventually taking you to hybrid controls (DHTML front-end, ActiveX control).
The Author's attitude is a surprising element of this book; you actually get the feeling he wants to improve your ATL programming considerably. This positivity leeks through almost everywhere.
This book is something of a rarity; an advanced level book that really hits the heights it aims for. Any problems? The content initially has an unstructured feel to it, although this is because the book is a series of discussions and explorations rather than a step-by-step guide like most other software books. You'll either find it refreshing or annoying. At£54.99 it's worth borrowing before you buy.