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Remote Assistance

The Rendezvous API provides communication between an instant messaging (IM) application, such as Windows Live Messenger, and two-person interactive applications, such as Windows Remote Assistance. Windows Remote Assistance connects two computers so that one person can help troubleshoot or fix problems on the other person's computer. A remote assistance session begins after one person either offers or asks for assistance and the other person accepts.

The Rendezvous API consists of the Component Object Model (COM) interfaces IRendezvousApplication, IRendezvousSession and DRendezvousSessionEvents. A peer-to-peer application like Windows Remote Assistance implements the IRendezvousApplication interface. An IM application implements the IRendezvousSession and DRendezvousSessionEvents interface.

This topic contains the following sections:

Remote Assistance Rendezvous Objects Registration

Windows Remote Assistance implements two IRendezvousApplication based objects. This is because Windows Remote Assistance provides two different functionalities. These are "Offer Remote Assistance" and "Ask for Remote Assistance". In order for the IM application to locate and launch a Windows Remote Assistance object, Windows Remote Assistance writes information for its two Rendezvous objects to the windows registry. The registration information is as follows:

Offer Remote Assistance Key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
   SOFTWARE
      Microsoft
         RendezvousApps
            {703EA1A8-D73E-43e3-852C-EE85B5D872C2}
               Name = Offer RemoteAssistance
               Icon = 0x00000000 (0)
               RendezvousComponent = {49010C18-B110-421a-9047-ADCA421CBC40}
               Path = $(runtime.system32)\RAServer.exe
               URL = http://www.microsoft.com

Ask for Remote Assistance Key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
   SOFTWARE
      Microsoft
         RendezvousApps
            {56b994a7-380f-410b-9985-c809d78c1bdc}
               Name = Ask for RemoteAssistance
               Icon = 0x00000001 (1)
               RendezvousComponent = {C0B3C446-3032-4016-926F-9BAE48BEBFBE}
               Path = $(runtime.system32)\RAServer.exe
               URL = http://www.microsoft.com

The Name and Icon from the registration information is displayed in the IM UI.

Note  The IM application can display the small icon associated with a Remote Assistance functionality by passing the Icon and Path values to the ExtractIconEx function.

The RendezvousComponent value is the COM object GUID of the Windows Remote Assistance object implementing the IRendezvousApplication. This GUID is used in the CoCreateInstance call as explained below.

Launching the Windows Remote Assistance IRendezvousApplication Based Object

In response to the Windows Remote Assistance Rendezvous functionality, that is, "Ask for Remote Assistance" or "Offer Remote Assistance", selected by the user from the IM UI, the IM application looks up the corresponding RendezvousComponent GUID for launching the Windows Remote Assistance RendezvousApplication based COM object. The GUID is used during the CoCreateInstance call to create the IRendezvousApplication based COM object and obtain its interface pointer. The IM application then calls the SetRendezvousSession method of the Windows Remote Assistance COM object passing in the pointer to IM applications IRendezvousSession based COM object. This initiates the IM/Windows Remote Assistance interaction.

Implementing Rendezvous APIs for Instant Messaging Applications

For your IM application to integrate with Remote Assistance (that implements the IRendezvousApplication interface and supports the Rendezvous APIs), it must implement the IRendezvousSession interface and provide a connection point for DRendezvousSessionEvents interface.

Remote Assistance registers its IRendezvousApplication based COM objects into the registry. The IM application should use the RendezvousComponent GUID to make a CoCreateInstance call and launch the Remote Assistance object.

After the Remote Assistance object launches, the IM application should call its implementation of SetRendezvousSession to pass a pointer to the IM application's IRendezvousSession object to the Remote Assistance object.

The Remote Assistance object uses the IRendezvousSession object to communicate the RendezvousApplication specific data during the session, and also uses the DRendezvousSessionEvents connection point to subscribe to events associated with the session.

When Remote Assistance is finished using the messenger transport and ready to establish its own transport, it terminates the RendezvousSession by calling the Terminate method. In response to this, the IM application should release the pointer to the object it originally obtained via the CoCreateInstance call and close down the session.

Implementing Rendezvous APIs for Remote Assistance Applications

If you are writing your own peer-to-peer application based on the Rendezvous API, then you might want to implement the IRendezvousApplication COM interface. You also need to add the required registration information to the windows registry on both the local and the remote computers. IM applications that are Rendezvous API aware and implement the IRendezvousSession interface can then locate and launch your peer-to-peer COM object using the RendezvousComponent GUID. Windows Remote Assistance implements this interface and enables IM applications to integrate Remote Assistance.

As part of the IRendezvousApplication implementation, peer-to-peer applications implement the SetRendezvousSession method. The IM applications pass in their COM object implementing the IRendezvousSession and DRendezvousSessionEvents interface to the peer-to-peer application by calling this SetRendezvousSession method . When the IM provider application initiates a session, it calls the SetRendezvousSession method. This method passes a pointer to the provider's IRendezvousSession object, which is used to communicate between the two peer-to-peer applications as long as the session is valid. As part of the same object it also passes in a pointer to DRendezvousSessionEvents interface.

When your application receives the pointer to the IRendezvousSession object, it should call IRendezvousSession->AddRef to keep the session alive. Using the DRendezvousSessionEvents interface it should also establish a connection with the RendezvousSession event source object and subscribe to events associated with the IM session.

When your application finishes using the messenger transport and is ready to establish its own transport, it should call Terminate to notify the IM application that you are done using the Session. Your application should also disconnect itself from the event source. Corresponding to the initial IRendezvousSession->AddRef , it should call IRendezvousSession->Release. This helps the IM application clean up the IRendezvousSession COM object. The peer-to-peer application should take care of cleaning up the IRendezvousApplication based COM object.

Steps in the IM/Request Remote Assistance Interaction

The following graphic shows the sequence of steps in the interaction between an IM application and a Remote Assistance application (RA).

 

Steps in the IM/Request Remote Assistance Interaction

Steps in the IM/Request Remote Assistance Interaction

 

  1. IM looks up Request RA registration info from the Windows Registry and populates the "Name" in its UI.
  2. From the IM UI, IM Buddy A (RA Novice) sends "Request RemoteAssistance" invitation to the IM buddy B (RA Expert).
  3. IM Buddy B (in this case, RA Expert) accepts the invitation.
  4. IM sends ACK to IM Buddy A (that is, RA Novice).
  5. IM A creates IRendezvousSession based COM object.
  6. IM A creates IRendezvousApplication based Request RemoteAssistance COM object using its RendezvousComponent GUID {C0B3C446-3032-4016-926F-9BAE48BEBFBE}.
  7. IM A calls SetRendezvousSession method of the Remote Assistance COM object passing in the pointer to the object that implements IRendezvousSession and DRendezvousSessionEvents interfaces.
  8. IM B creates IRendezvousSession based COM object.
  9. IM B creates IRendezvousApplication based Request RemoteAssistance COM object using its RendezvousComponent GUID {C0B3C446-3032-4016-926F-9BAE48BEBFBE}.
  10. IM B calls SetRendezvousSession method of the Remote Assistance COM object passing in the pointer to the object that implements IRendezvousSession and DRendezvousSessionEventsinterfaces.
  11. RA application (A) implements Event Object to sink DRendezvousSessionEvents generated by the IM application. In the SetRendezvousSession method, using the DRendezvousSessionEvents object, RA establishes a connection between the RendezvousSessionEvent Source and the Request RA Event object (Event Sink).
  12. RA (A) queries for the IRendezvousSession messenger interface. Does an IUnknown::AddRef on the IRendezvousSession object pointer. IM application releases the IRendezvousSession pointer at the end of the SetRendezvousSession method.
  13. RA (A) Calls the Flags method of IRendezvousSession to check whether it is RSF_INVITER or RSF_INVITEE. In the Request RA scenario, RSF_INVITER is RA Novice (IM A), RSF_INVITEE is RA Expert (IM B).
  14. RA (A) calls the RemoteUser. This is for RA Expert to get the RA Novice name and vice versa.
  15. RA application (B) implements Event Object to sink DRendezvousSessionEvents generated by the IM application. In the SetRendezvousSession method, using the DRendezvousSessionEvents object, RA establishes a connection between the RendezvousSessionEvent Source and the Request RA Event object (Event Sink).
  16. RA (B) queries for the IRendezvousSession messenger interface and does an AddRef on the IRendezvousSession object pointer. IM application releases the IRendezvousSession pointer at the end of the SetRendezvousSession method.
  17. RA (B) calls the Flags method of IRendezvousSession to check whether it is RSF_INVITER or RSF_INVITEE. In the Request RA scenario, RSF_INVITER is RA Novice (IM A), RSF_INVITEE is RA Expert (IM B).
  18. RA (B) calls the RemoteUser. This is for RA Expert to get the RA Novice name and vice-versa.
  19. RA (A) receives a state change event RSS_CONNECTED. This signals RA that the two RA RendezvousApplication objects are connected and data can be sent/received now.
  20. RA (B) receives a state change event RSS_CONNECTED. This signals RA that the two RA RendezvousApplication objects are connected and data can be sent/received now.
  21. RA request application (A) calls the SendContextData method to send RA specific data to the remote RA request application (B).
  22. RA specific data goes to the IM layer.
  23. RA data is sent over IM transport layer.
  24. RA data is received by IM (B).
  25. RA (B) receives data via DISPID_EVENT_ON_CONTEXT_DATA. RA specific data is sent and received between A and B over the IM RendezvousSession.
  26. When the RA protocol completes, RA (A) calls Terminate method.
  27. TerminateSession message reaches IM(A) layer.
  28. TerminateSession message sent to remote IM (B) over IM transport.
  29. RA (A) receives the OnStateChanged event with RSS_CANCELED state.
  30. RA (A) disconnects from the event source.
  31. RA (A) also calls IRendezvousSession->Release. RA RendezvousApplication COM object's refcount goes to 0 and it automatically terminates.
  32. TerminateSession message received by IM(B) layer.
  33. RA (B) receives the OnStateChanged event with RSS_CANCELED state.
  34. RA (B) disconnects from the event source.
  35. RA (A) also calls IRendezvousSession->Release. RA RendezvousApplication COM object's reference count goes to 0 and it automatically terminates.

Steps in the IM/Offer Remote Assistance Interaction

  1. IM looks up Offer RA registration info from the windows registry and populates the "Name" in its UI.
  2. From the IM UI, IM Buddy B (RA Expert) sends "Offer RemoteAssistance" invitation to the IM buddy A (RA Novice).
  3. IM Buddy A (RA Novice) accepts the invitation.
  4. IM sends ACK to IM Buddy B (RA Expert).
  5. IM B creates IRendezvousSession based COM object.
  6. IM B creates IRendezvousApplication based Offer RemoteAssistance COM object using its RendezvousComponent GUID {49010C18-B110-421a-9047-ADCA421CBC40}.

After this the sequence of steps is similar to those listed in the Steps in the IM/Request Remote Assistance Interaction section.

Related Topics

Remote Assistance Sample Code

 

 

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Build date: 6/30/2010

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