2.3.2 OLE Automation Protocol

The OLE Automation Protocol, specified in [MS-OAUT], allows applications, called automation clients, to create, activate, set properties, or call methods on automation objects that other applications share. Automation objects are objects that automation servers expose. Because automation objects are COM objects, they implement dual interfaces derived from IDispatch that allow automation controllers to invoke methods for which the method name, number, or parameter types cannot be determined at compile time. This is because the OLE Automation Protocol uses COM, specified in [MS-COM] to support marshaling of automation types and to support exposing COM components to automation clients through late binding. The OLE Automation Protocol also uses the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) Remote Protocol specified in [MS-DCOM], so the automation client and server can reside on different computers connected by a network. In addition, the OLE Automation Protocol specifies how an automation type browser can discover and interpret type information from a type description server.

The OLE Automation Protocol is useful for exposing application functionality to scripting languages and across a distributed environment. It allows exposed objects from many applications to be used in a single programming environment. It enables objects to be accessed from any scripting environment or programming tool that implements automation.