ActiveX is a software framework created by Microsoft that adapts its earlier Component Object Model (COM) and Object Linking and Embedding (OLE).
Microsoft introduced ActiveX in 1996. In principle, ActiveX is not dependent on Microsoft Windows operating systems, but in practice most ActiveX controls only run on Windows.
ActiveX is still supported as of Windows 10, through Internet Explorer 11, while ActiveX is not supported in their default web browser Microsoft Edge (which has a different, incompatible extension system).
Formerly Object Linking and Embedding, ActiveX is one of the major technologies used in component-based software engineering. Compared with JavaBeans, ActiveX supports more programming languages, but JavaBeans supports more platforms. ActiveX is supported in many rapid application development technologies, such as Active Template Library, Delphi, JavaBeans, Microsoft Foundation Class Library, Qt, Visual Basic, Windows Forms and wxWidgets, to enable application developers to embed ActiveX controls into their products.
Many Microsoft Windows applications—including many of those from Microsoft itself, such as Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visual Studio, and Windows Media Player—use ActiveX controls to build their feature-set and also encapsulate their own functionality as ActiveX controls which can then be embedded into other applications. Internet Explorer also allows the embedding of ActiveX controls in web pages.
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