embedded systems – Flash programmers asking for COM ports

I work an embedded development job that sees me having to setup programming methods for hourly production line workers.

On the current project I am unable to use our PE Micro Multi link Universal. While finding a solution I noticed that there were two methods that I could find.

The first method I see is companys offering a hardware device that does the programming. It may or may not have a PC component.

The second method I have seen are software only solutions. On each of these they want you to select a COM port to communicate with the device.

So my question is regarding this second method and how it works? Most of the hardware programmers I have used do not come up as a com port. The one programmer that does come up as a com port uses a USB to serial cord to plug into a jtagice mkii. I am pretty sure that these software only solutions are for older chips prior to jtag implementation/adoption. I also assume that to use these software solutions the correct lines would of had to be routed out of the chip. As is I have a 10 pin jtag connection.