ActiveX is a selection of strategic programming technologies and object-oriented tools. It was developed by Microsoft for Windows platforms. ActiveX works using the Component Object Model (COM) technology. It provides the means to initiate many online features such as participating in message boards and interacting with a variety of online media.
COM enables developers to make software components that execute a specific function or set of functions. The developed software can be composed of one or more components which will allow the intended tasks to be executed. It also permits interaction among several applications.
ActiveX is a component that can run anywhere in the ActiveX environment, known as the ActiveX control. It is a self-sufficient component made of small program building blocks. Several MS Windows applications use ActiveX controls so that a particular program function can be embedded into other applications. MS Visual Studio, MS Office, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player are among the applications that use the ActiveX control.
One of the major advantages of ActiveX control is that it can be used by many programs. Internet Explorer, for instance, allows the ActiveX controls to be embedded inside Web pages. ActiveX control can be made using PowerBuilder or scripting tools, like VBScript, or one of the many development tools or languages, including Visual Basic and C++.
Through ActiveX, Internet Explorer can load QuickTime, Flash, Windows Media Player, and other applications that read files embedded in Web pages. You activate ActiveX controls whenever you download an item, as you do with a .WMV file, to display in the IE browser window.
You can run Active X on your personal computer using Windows as its Operating System. Files with OCX suffix are one of the indications that you have ActiveX on your computer. OCX stands for Object Linking and Embedding control. Microsoft developed the technology on object linking and embedding to support compound documents like the Windows desktop.
ActiveX works with Windows Systems since it was developed by Microsoft. Presently, ActiveX controls run in Windows NT/2000/95/98 and MacIntosh. Plans are underway to enable it to support UNIX soon. Although it was developed by Microsoft, it can also run in other Operating Systems like Linux.
Active X is Microsoft’s response to Sun Microsystems’s Java Technology. Its controls more or less correspond with a Java applet.