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Microsoft's ActiveX technology, recently announced and supported by Internet Explorer 3.0 (for Windows 95/NT) only, represents a huge advance in the capabilities of the Internet Explorer. ActiveX has relaxed the OLE control requirements to practically nothing. While previous OLE controls (such as the .OCX files shipped with Visual Basic) contained a lot of baggage inappropriate to use on the internet, new ActiveX controls (conforming to the re-designed control requirements specification) can be a lot more streamlined, facilitating the easy production of high quality dynamic content for HTML documents.

Internet Explorer 3.0 allows for the use of ActiveX controls, active scripts (such as Visual Basic Script) and active documents. (NOTE : The embedding mechanism, using the <OBJECT> element has been designed in coalition with the W3C, a technical report of which can be found at ActiveX can be used encapsulate practically any application or applet, for use within HTML documents, or any ActiveX control container (i.e. Visual Basic, MS Access, Visual C++ etc.)

The specific method of construction of ActiveX controls is outside the scope of this reference. Users interested in the use of ActiveX components are encouraged to visit the Microsoft Internet Explorer web site at, where the ActiveX SDK is available and Visual Basic programmers are encouraged to investigate the Visual Basic Control Creation Edition, which can create ActiveX controls. (Currently this is available in beta form as a free download, visit for more information).

Microsoft (and various other software companies) have made available a number of ActiveX controls, which can be readily downloaded and used within HTML documents. Also, the ActiveX development kit can be downloaded, this kit contains many ActiveX/ActiveX Script/Visual Basic Script examples as well as all the specifications necessary for ActiveX control authoring.

The Ncompass plug-in for Netscape allows embedded ActiveX controls to work within Netscape.

This HTML fragment uses the 'label' ActiveX control. NOTE : Netscape will not display these controls. For these to work, you require Internet Explorer 3 with the control installed.

<param name="angle" value="90">
<param name="alignment" value="2">
<param name="BackStyle" value="0">
<param name="caption" value="The HTML Reference">
<param name="FontName" value="Arial">
<param name="FontSize" value="24">
<param name="FontBold" value="1">
<param name="Forecolor" value="8421376">
<B>Welcome to the new Reference pages</B>

NOTE : Netscape will not display the label in the above example. As yet, Netscape doesn't support the <OBJECT> element.

file: /Techref/language/html/ib/Dynamic_Documents/activex.htm, 5KB, , updated: 2004/3/1 16:47, local time: 2024/7/23 22:25,

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