ActiveX is a set of technologies from Microsoft that focuses on integrating and unifying the methods of representing and processing information from computer networks, built in accordance with the web architecture. The main idea of ActiveX technology consists of the identical means of accessing information from the network, in which web technology was selected as the basis for unifying these means of access.
According to the ActiveX philosophy, the web browser should become an integral part of the operating system. Moreover, the methods of obtaining access to any information from the computer, from the local server, from the local network or to the Internet, should be absolutely identical and transparent to the user.
ActiveX offers not only the possibility of developing and executing mobile programs but also implements a number of alternative possibilities, making it possible, for example, to call functions for viewing and editing Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents directly from the browser desktop.
ActiveX supports the following types of mobile programs, programs that can be attached to web documents and transmitted to workstations for execution:
– ActiveX controls;
– Java applets;
ActiveX controls are actually executable programs that can be loaded from the server for execution at the workstation level. Like Java applets, they are not included directly in the web document but exist in separate files.
ActiveX controls differ from Java applets as follows:
– ActiveX controls contain executable code that depends on the hardware platform and operating system, while Java applets consist of machine-independent code;
– ActiveX units loaded at the client level remain in the client system, while Java applets must be loaded at each request;
– Because ActiveX controls do not work the same as Java applets, under the control of a security manager, they can gain access to the client workstation files and perform typical functions for conventional applications.
– Creating high-quality multimedia effects;
– Open and edit electronic documents by calling the applications that support the Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) standard. An example may be editing Microsoft Office documents directly in the browser;
– Access to the operating system, in order to optimize the execution parameters of the programs obtained from the server.