• ActiveX controls are small program building blocks that can serve to create distributed applications that work over the internet through web browsers.
• An ActiveX control can be automatically downloaded and executed by a web browser. ActiveX is not a programming language, but rather a set of rules for how applications should share information. Programmers can develop ActiveX controls in a variety of languages including C, C++, visual basic, and java.
• Examples include customized applications for gathering data, viewing certain kinds of files, and displaying animation.
• An ActiveX control is similar to a Java applet. Unlike Java applets, however, ActiveX controls have full access to the Windows operating system. This gives them much more power than Java applets, but with this power comes a certain risk that the applet may damage software or data on your machine.
• To control this risk, Microsoft developed a registration system so that browsers can identify and authenticate an ActiveX control before downloading it.
• Another difference between Java applets and ActiveX controls is that Java applets can be written to run on all platforms, whereas ActiveX controls are currently limited to Windows environments.