ActiveX Documents

ActiveX documents are COM components that must be hosted and activated within a document container. They provide the application functionality; they also provide the ability to persist and distribute copies of the data intrinsic to the application. These components can be used on HTML pages or as alternatives to HTML pages, and they can be deployed so that users can navigate transparently between ActiveX documents and other pages in the application or Web site.

The .NET Framework does not have a component type equivalent to ActiveX documents. Therefore, you must redesign and/or re-implement ActiveX documents by using a .NET Framework - based component.

The following list presents important ActiveX document features that you should consider when you upgrade to Visual Basic .NET:3

• Automatic downloading of components over the Internet. You can create a link to the ActiveX document so that the browser can find and download all components that are needed to run the component.

• Hyperlinking of objects. In a hyperlink-aware container, you can use the properties and methods of the Visual Basic Hyperlink object to jump to an URL or navigate through the history list.

• Interaction with the container window. You can use ActiveX documents to access additional pieces of the container window; for example, the component menus can be merged with the browser menus.

• Storing of data. When you deploy an ActiveX document in Internet Explorer, you can store data through the PropertyBag object.

You can use the upgrade wizard to partially upgrade ActiveX documents if you move the ActiveX document source code to another module type that the upgrade wizard supports. For example, you can copy the source code and the controls contained in the ActiveX document into a new Visual Basic 6.0 UserControl. A considerable portion of the UserControl source code will be automatically upgraded; however, all unsupported features in the original ActiveX document source code will not be upgraded and must be re-implemented.

You can re-implement ActiveX document components by using Visual Basic .NET UserControls or XML Web forms, which can be hosted in different types of containers. You will lose some of the original functionality unless you redesign and implement it in the new platform. You can implement most of this functionality by using the services provided by the .NET Framework, such as serialization interfaces and the ability to run at the server or at the client depending on your chosen design.

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