The Netbios Function and IPC

The Win32 API provides the Netbios function to process low-level network control functions. This capability is provided primarily for applications written using the IBM NetBIOS system that must be ported to Windows. It is highly recommended that a developer writing a new application use the other IPC mechanisms described in this topic rather than the low-level Netbios function. The IPC mechanisms provided in the Win32 API encapsulate and hide an enormous amount of raw NetBIOS functionality that the developer would otherwise have to implement.

Consider, for example, the following list of NetBIOS actions that would be necessary to emulate a Win32-based mailslot:

On the server end

  • Add the name to the local table.

  • Listen for the session connection.

  • Read the data upon connection.

  • Append the data to the message queue.

  • Close the session.

  • Listen for another session connection.

  • Allow the queued messages to be retrieved.

On the client side

  • Open the session.

  • Write the data.

  • Close the session.

Key Point The Netbios function is provided only for porting an existing application written using the IBM NetBIOS system or for those applications that need specialized access to low-level network functionality. For most applications, it is better to use the higher-level IPC mechanisms available in the Win32 API.

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