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Developing Java Beans by Robert Englander

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Chapter 11. ActiveX

JavaBeans is a powerful and flexible component architecture, but it’s not the only game in town. Microsoft’s ActiveX technology is widely used; in fact, it’s used on virtually every computer running Windows 95 or Windows NT. There’s really no point in engaging in a long-winded debate about whether one technology is better than the other. The reality of the situation is that ActiveX is here, it works, and it’s not going away. The best way to deal with this fact is to find a way to play in both worlds.

That’s where the ActiveX Bridge comes in. This technology is designed to bridge the gap between the two component architectures, essentially allowing Beans to act like ActiveX components. I’ll be talking much more about the ActiveX Bridge shortly. (Other bridges are planned to integrate Java Beans into other component architectures.)

ActiveX is really a term used to describe a wide range of technologies. We’ll look primarily at visible ActiveX controls, whose counterparts are visible Java Beans (those that are subclasses of java.awt.Component). There is certainly a relationship between nonvisible Beans and nonvisible ActiveX components, but we won’t be covering that aspect of the two technologies here.

Both of these technologies are based on the principles of component architectures that were described in the first chapter. Basically, Beans and ActiveX controls expose properties, methods, and events. The main difference is in the way these attributes are exposed. As ...

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