HTML 4 For Dummies - Bonus Chapters



ActiveX is a programming technique, standards, and environment for creating interactive Internet and intranet-based Web applications. With ActiveX, adding multimedia effects, interactive objects, and sophisticated high-impact applications is within the grasp of any webmaster. ActiveX is, in theory, platform-independent; however, in practice, it only functions within the Windows operating systems. Future plans for ActiveX include porting this technology to the Macintosh OS and other non-Microsoft systems.

Microsoft developed ActiveX as a way to extend the power of the BackOffice products to the world of the Internet/intranet. They have created a system that enables cross-platform software interoperability across a network.

Creating your own ActiveX applications is as easy as writing any other program, but it does require solid programming knowledge and experience. You can use almost any of the popular programming languages to create ActiveX applications. But, if your are not a programmer, you can easily license prebuilt applications from vendors to distribute over your own site.

A lot of technobabble and programming-speak is associated with ActiveX. You can get tools to help you create your own ActiveX controls, but even they require that you have a solid understanding of programming. So, we’re gonna skip the fine detailed techno explanation of ActiveX (other than what we’ve already said), and let you explore the depths of this nifty technology on your own.

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You can learn about ActiveX in the following ways:

ActiveX’s Web site:

ActiveX’s mailing lists:

  • To subscribe: Send an e-mail message to with a blank subject line and a message body of “subscribe ActiveXControls and your name,” “subscribe ActiveXScript your name,” or “subscribe ActiveXSearch your name.”

  • To unsubscribe: Send an e-mail message to with a blank subject line and a message body of “signoff ActiveXControls,” “signoff ActiveXScript,” or “signoff ActiveXSearch” respectively.

You can also peruse the archives of these lists by visiting:

You can also participate in ActiveX Newsgroups hosted on the public news server “”:

  • microsoft.public.activex.* (more than 30 subgroups)

To see some great examples of ActiveX in action, visit one of these sites:

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Revised -- January 16, 1998