ACE (the ADAPTIVE Communication Environment) is a powerful C++ toolkit that helps you develop portable, high-performance applications, especially networked and/or multithreaded applications, more easily and more quickly with more flexibility and fewer errors. And, because of ACE's design and frameworks, you can do all this with much less code than with other development approaches. We've been using ACE for years and have found it exceedingly helpful and well worth any price. What's better is that it's available for free! The historical price many developers have paid to use ACE is a steep learning curve. It's a big toolkit with a large set of capabilities. Until recently, the best documentation has been the source code, which is, of course, freely available, and a set of academic papers born of the research that produced ACE, approachable only by advanced professionals and upper-level students. This barrier to learning has kept ACE's power and easy-to-use elegance one of the best-kept secrets in software development. That's why we're very excited to write this book! It flattens out ACE's learning curve, bringing ACE's power, elegance, and capabilities to all.
This book teaches you about ACE: a bit of its history and approach to development, how it's organized, how to begin using it, and also how to use some of its more advanced capabilities. We teach you how to do things the ACE way in this book, but we could not possibly fit in a complete reference. Use this book to get started with ACE and to begin using it in your work. If you've been using ACE for a while, there are probably descriptions of some capabilities you haven't seen before, so the book is useful for experienced ACE users as well.
Who Should Read This Book
This book is meant to serve as both an introductory guide for ACE beginners and a quickly accessible review for experienced ACE users. If you are an ACE beginner, we recommend starting at the beginning and proceeding through the chapters in order. If you are experienced and know what you want to read about, you can quickly find that part of the book and do not need to read the previous sections.
This book is written for C++ programmers who have been exposed to some of the more advanced C++ features, such as virtual inheritance and class templates. You should also have been exposed to basic operating system facilities you plan to use in your work. For example, if you plan to write programs that use TCP/IP sockets, you should at least be familiar with the general way sockets are created, connections are established, and data is transferred.
This book is also an excellent source of material for those who teach others: in either a commercial or an academic setting. ACE is an excellent example of how to design object-oriented software and use C++ to design and write high-performance, easily maintained software systems.