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Learning About OLE

The next technology to look at in this chapter is OLE (object linking and embedding). OLE came into the public eye early in the 1990s, and it represented an attractive alternative to DDE and cut-and-paste for multi-application-data integration. Applications were not immediately OLE-compliant. It was required then, as it is today, that OLE technology be built into a software application. OLE has certainly matured since its inception as a useful method to integrate data. As you will learn in this section, OLE has become an important standard and critical technology for most Windows software applications. You'll learn in this section about how OLE evolved during the 1990s and how the technology is used today.

In-Place Editing

One of the first implementations of OLE represented a significant improvement over both the DDE and cut-and-paste approaches to integrating multi-product data. This first application of OLE technology provided a method for documents and pieces of documents (known as objects) to communicate directly with the application used to create them, regardless of where the object was located. As an example of a practical use of this technology, a document developed in a word processing application could include a table. This table could have been created in a spreadsheet program. When the user needed to manipulate the format of the table or the data in it, he or she could double-click the table object as it rested in the word processing document and the spreadsheet application would start. This application of OLE was known as in-place editing. The application that hosts foreign application objects, such as the word processing program, is known as the Container object. Figure 27.1 shows an example of an embedded OLE object with an OLE container application.


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