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Chapter 5. Web Integration and the Activ... > Customizing the Active Desktop

Customizing the Active Desktop

A big part of this Web integration technology is, of course, the Active Desktop. As with the Web view for folders, Microsoft has again incorporated standard Internet technologies to come up with a completely new desktop paradigm. The Active Desktop actually consists of three layers:

Icon layer: This is the “top” layer and it displays the standard desktop icons (My Computer, My Documents, and so on) and whatever shortcuts you've added to the desktop. This is, in other words, the desktop you came to know and (possibly) love in Windows 95.

HTML desktop background layer: This layer sits underneath the icon layer, so in that sense it's a lot like desktop wallpaper. This is wallpaper on steroids, however, because this layer is really an HTML document. That's right: your desktop is now a Web page and can display all Web page content, including images, links, applets, and more. As you'll learn a bit later (see “Changing the HTML Desktop Wallpaper”), you can specify any local or intranet-based HTML document as your HTML desktop background.

Desktop items layer: This layer sits between the icon layer and the desktop background layer. Its purpose is to act as a container for the various desktop items you can plop onto the desktop. These items include other Web pages, Java applets, ActiveX controls, and images. Because these items aren't embedded within a Web page, they can be sized and moved on the desktop to achieve the look you want. See “Adding Desktop Items,” later in this section.


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