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Learning About ActiveX

Compared to the other technologies covered in this chapter, ActiveX is generating the most interest lately. The term ActiveX is used to define a specific type of control. You learned earlier in this chapter about OLE controls. These OLE controls are used by persons building applications to provide features or functions. These controls are then, naturally, used by persons using the application. ActiveX is a new name for OLE controls. With the explosion of interest, use, and exploitation of the World Wide Web, software applications have evolved to take advantage of this interest. ActiveX is one of the first technologies to grow out of this evolution.ActiveX technologies are designed to help the Web provide interactive content, in effect, to activate Web pages. ActiveX technologies on the Web help provide interesting content, such as visual controls, multimedia content, security, and more.

Understanding ActiveX

ActiveX technologies are based on the COM standards, which claim OLE has a parent. ActiveX technologies are also platform-independent, even given the various clients accessing the Web, from DOS/Windows to UNIX to Macintosh. Components built against ActiveX technologies are specially prepared for distribution across the Internet. As such, they are typically smaller than comparable pre-ActiveX OLE components. Many ActiveX controls also will have bundled a specific code signature that identifies the control and the developer that provides it. This scheme helps prevent unwanted components to be downloaded from the Internet to a computer.


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