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VBScript Active X Controls


Microsoft has made available many controls that you can use in your VBScript HTML pages. Keep in mind that for these controls to work, it's up to the client to install them on his or her machine.

These controls are freely distributable and can be made available to people interested in seeing and using your implementation of the object on their machines.

ActiveX File

An ActiveX file is the 32-bit cousin of the VBX control and used in both Visual Basic and VBScript. An ActiveX control is more advanced and flexible in that it implements OLE in-process servers as DLLs.
In other words, it supports some very useful OLE features, such as in-place activation, automation, and event notification.

Code Signing

Code signing lets the user know who produced the code and whether that code has changed since the control was signed. Users can set the level of security for the controls that are loaded into their browsers.
They can also accept all controls from a particular company, accept controls after a confirmation dialog, and accept or reject all controls to loaded onto their machines.

Because ActiveX controls are potentially such powerful components, you must consider some security issues.
You must also remember that an ActiveX control can do anything that could be done on a client machine.
Though the size of the ActiveX controls created with the Control Wizard is modest, for users to access this control in their own browsers, they need to have installed the MFC runtime library.

Besides, because ActiveX controls are designed to run on Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX computers eventually, Microsoft wrote a non-MFC specification so that ActiveX controls could be made smaller and more portable.

ActiveX Control Pad text editor

The ActiveX Control Pad text editor is the same tool you get with Windows Notepad. A significant difference is that the ActiveX Control Pad editor does not suffer from the 64KB file size limit that Notepad does.
Unfortunately, other than creating a skeleton HTML file by default when opening a new file, there aren't any added HTML helpers such as the ones found in commercial HTML tools.

The object editor makes it easy for you to insert ActiveX controls into your HTML pages. The most difficult thing about using ActiveX controls usually is getting the CLSID numbers right in your HTML code.

Besides, you usually need to look up and include the parameters of each control you put into your documents. The object editor automatically places the correct CLSID number into HTML and makes setting parameter values visual and straightforward.
ActiveX controls are programmed just like any other object on your Web page. You set the properties of the control, and then your script reacts to messages sent by the user interacting with the objects in the browser.

Because this is happening mostly on the client machine, the speed of the operation is limited only by your customer's hardware.

When you install an OCX file, registered with the operating system in a system database called the Registry.
When an OCX file is registered, its unique class ID number is placed in the system Registry. The CLSID number called from your HTML Web page instantiates the object on the page on the client machine.

Most ActiveX custom controls would have to be downloaded and installed on the user's machine before viewed in the user's browser.
ActiveX controls are automatically downloaded to the user's machine if the CODEBASE parameter of the <OBJECT> tag is specified.

Chart control

The Chart control works just like any chart you might use in Excel or Visual Basic. You provide a matrix of numeric values, and a chart is created that models those values.
Using the Chart control, you can provide your user with up-to-the-minute feedback regarding a set of numbers.

Popup Menu control

The Popup Menu control is used to create a popup menu when the user clicks a named control or image link with the mouse on a Web page.
This control is used mostly for navigational purposes. If you have a lot of links on a Web page that contains other important data, you can place those links in a popup, giving your page a cleaner look.

Preloader control

You can use the Preloader control to anticipate the desires of your users and to download what, presumably, will be the next page they want to see.
When they're ready to look at the page, it pops up instantly.

StockTicker control

The StockTicker control downloads information and displays it at preset intervals. The data files displayed can be in either text format or XRT format.
To create a file to be used by the StockTicker control in text format, place the letters XRT on the first line and then specify the data as name-tab-value-CR/LF lines.

Timer Control

You can use the Timer to control time-based events in your code. The timer is especially useful if you need to track a repetitive event.

If you do not have a timer to use in your pages, you have to use a loop in code, which bogs down your system.
Using controls that you purchase in your pages is not much different than using controls that are freely available.
You must make the control available to your user as an ActiveX control that loads itself, or you need to make sure that the control is registered on your user's machine. You also must adhere to the licensing requirements for the control.

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