5/23/08

Explain IPC - Interprocess communication.

The communications and data sharing between applications( different processes) are called as interprocess communications (IPC).
Some IPC allows the communications and data sharing among several specialized processes.
Other IPC communications and data sharing among computers on a network.

Applications can use IPC categorized as clients or servers. A client is an application or a process that requests a service from some other application or process.
A server is an application or a process that responds to a client request. Many applications act as both a client and a server, depending on the situation.
For example, a word processing application might act as a client in requesting a summary table of manufacturing costs from a spreadsheet application acting as a server. The spreadsheet application, in turn, might act as a client in requesting the latest inventory levels from an automated inventory control application.

an application can use several IPC mechanisms.

Based on applications running on other computers on a network,
or is it sufficient for the application to communicate only with applications on the local computer?

communicate with applications running on other computers that may be running under different operating systems (such as 16-bit Windows or UNIX)?
application have to choose the other application(s) with which the application communicates, or can the application implicitly find its cooperating partners?
application communicate with many different applications in a general way, such as allowing cut and paste operations with any other application, or should its communications requirements be limited to a restricted set of interactions with specific other applications?
Is performance a critical aspect of the application? All IPC mechanisms include some amount of overhead.
Should the application be a GUI application or a console application? Some IPC mechanisms require a GUI application.
The following IPC mechanisms are supported by Windows:

Clipboard
COM
Data Copy
DDE
File Mapping
Mailslots
Pipes
RPC
Windows Sockets

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