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Related to ActiveX: ActiveX control


A type of COM component that can self-register, also known as an "ActiveX control". All COM objects implement the "IUnknown" interface but an ActiveX control usually also implements some of the standard interfaces for embedding, user interface, methods, properties, events, and persistence.

ActiveX controls were originally called "OLE Controls", and were required to provide all of these interfaces but that requirement was dropped, and the name changed, to make ActiveX controls lean enough to be downloaded as part of a web page.

Because ActiveX components can support the OLE embedding interfaces, they can be included in web pages. Because they are COM objects, they can be used from languages such as Visual Basic, Visual C++, Java, VBScript.

["Understanding ActiveX and OLE", David Chappell, MS Press, 1996].


A brand name from Microsoft that has been used very specifically and very broadly. Today, it refers generally to ActiveX controls. For a short time, it was used to brand Microsoft's entire COM object architecture. See ActiveX control, COM, ActiveX Server Component, OLE and COM automation.

To Learn More
David Chappell's book on ActiveX, OLE and COM provides an excellent, well-written reference on the many facets of this subject. (Microsoft Press, 1996, ISBN 1-57231-216-5)
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