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Python Programming On Win32 by Mark Hammond, Andy Robinson

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Named Pipes

We ought to quickly mention named pipes again. These are a Microsoft technology similar to sockets and have been part of Windows NT since its inception. As with sockets and serial ports, you read and write to named pipes. You open them by passing a suitable network path to CreateFile of the form \\mymachine\pipe\mypipe. Named pipes function over whatever network protocol NT is using; it might be TCP/IP, IPX, or NetBEUI. On Windows, they operate slightly faster than sockets and can also be secured. They are extensively used by Microsoft’s networking APIs and back office products.

About the only reason to use named pipes is for their integrated security. Named pipes are fully securable by Windows NT, and you can rely on Windows reporting a valid and authenticated user at the other end of the pipe. For most communications applications that don’t have a high requirement for security, sockets are often simpler to use, and have the added advantage of being cross-platform.

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