Active X, also called Object Linking and Embedding, is a system developed by Microsoft that allows objects to be distributed. It also deals with protocols as well. An editor who is using Active X will be able to take a portion of a document, process it in a different editor, and then reimport it back. it is possible for pictures or text to be sent to image editing programs or word processors. One of the most powerful benefits of Active X is that it allows the size of the file to be reduced. In addition to this, a master file can be created. It is possible for the author to make references to the document in the master file, and any changes made may have an effect on the information contained original document.Another important use of Active X is handling compound documents. When information needs to be transformed between two documents, Active X is useful for this as well. It is excellent for drag and drop procedures. Those who use the Internet often are probably familiar with the use of Active X for websites. It is responsible for the practice of embedding, which allows multimedia to be presented from Web pages. Both audio and video files can be embedded in the page through the use of XHTML. Active X uses what is called a fat client structure, and with this method, the file that is embedded has to be presented on the computer that is actually be worked on. In other words, a document that is meant to be presented with a specific program must have that program present on the computer.
The very first version of Active X, also known as OLE, was introduced in 1990. It was a result of the advances made in dynamic data exchange. Microsoft had begun using DDE for older versions of Windows, but DDE was limited by the amount of information it could transfer between two programs. Once Active X was introduced, it was capable of holding connections between two documents much more effectively. In addition to this, documents could be embedded in one another as well. The OLE servers could connect to clients through a system that is called VTBLs, or virtual function tables. The VTBL has function pointers that allow it to connect with either the client and server. The libraries of both the client and servers could also communicate with each other.
As Active X became more advanced, it was used to work with software structures as well. The structure for Active X that was used for this purpose was known as COM, and would later be called DCOM. Once the Active X object has been placed on the clipboard, it will be present in the default Windows format, which could be a bitmap. Being in this default format allows the document to be embedded in other documents. While the word OLE was used to describe this system for a time, it was changed to Active X in 1996. It was at this time that ActiveX Controls was showcased for the first time. Active X is commonly used by website designers that want to place multimedia files within their web pages.