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ActiveX vs Java???

Posted on 1997-08-21
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Hi...
I wonder what are the main differents between ActiveX and Java? For example - can u run an ActiveX-application on a Netscape browser???
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Question by:thomasandersson
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icampbe1 earned 50 total points
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The main difference between ActiveX and Java is the philosophy that they subscribe to.  You see whenever some code goes into your machine from the net, there is a security risk.   ActiveX and Java deal with this risk in separate ways.

Java's philosophy is that it is OK to have a browser download or 'accept' a Java piece of code, because it can't do anything harmful on your machine.  It can do mostly screen stuff, it can't do file I/O etc.  So if you restrict the code's ability to do damage, it is safe to download.

ActiveX on the otherhand let the code have the full power of the machine without restrictions on what it can and cannot do.  The secutiry is obtained  by the fact that you get to decide who the 'trusted' sources are that you will accept a download from.  Every download comes with a certificate for your approval.  In theory, you can only get a certificate if you are a good guy.  Many subscribe to this philosophy and it seems to be working.

These are the main differences.

Ian C.

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by:thomasandersson
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Hi (again)...
But what about the techniqe behind Java and ActiveX? I know that Java uses an interpretator that translates the bytecode - but how does activeX work? And is activeX really platform-independence? Does activeX work on netscape? If it doesn't - what is the meaning to create a homepage with an ActiveX-application that only works on Internet Explorer?
I hope I can get some answers on these questions...
This is my first question here and I don't really know how much this question is worth... Hope that 55 points is enough!
//Thomas
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by:icampbe1
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You offer points based upon your need, and how you believe the answer contributed to your need.  You might also look at the time and care that the person gave to your answer.

You can view ActiveX as an OCX control.  It is binary code runing on your machine.  When the browser client requests and accepts an ActiveX control, a binary program (I'll use that word) is transferred into your machine and starts to execute.   There is no restriction placed upon it.  I designed an ActiveX control that was a complete form with quite a few other controls placed on it, like edit boxes and dropdown lists etc.

As you can see, there are two different 'camps' in this thinking.  You are right about IE vs Netscape.  Historically, only IE accepted AxtiveX.  Now, I believe the next release of Netscape will accept them as well (it may already in the current release, but I dont follow Netscape very closely).

People who designed web pages with ActiveX were making a 'leap of faith' decision that most people would be running IE.  Now, that decision is so important if Netscape handles ActiveX as well.  Of course, on an 'intranet', this was an easy decision to make.

Hope this helps,

Ian C.

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