Adding Web browsing functionality to your applications
Did you know that Microsoft provides developers with an easy way to use Internet Explorer and its related components in their own applications? Don't reinvent the wheel, er...I mean the browser. For your next Internet-enabled program, take advantage of the Internet Explorer ActiveX Object Model.
In his book, SAMS Teach Yourself Visual C++ 6 in 21 Days, published by SAMS, Davis Chapman explains how to make Internet Explorer an integrated part of your next application.
The Internet Explorer ActiveX Model
When Microsoft came up with the idea of integrating ActiveX with its Web browser, Internet Explorer, it realized that it would need to reengineer Internet Explorer to support the use of ActiveX controls. Well, the developers looked at what they would need to do, and what was possible, and decided to make Internet Explorer a lot more than just a Web browser.
The first thing that Microsoft did was separate the Web browser from the ActiveX objects that perform all the work. As a result, it ended up with the Internet Explorer application, which is little more than an ActiveX document container, and the Internet Explorer HTML viewer control, which ran as an ActiveX document server inside the application. This meant that the Internet Explorer application could host more than just Web pages; it could also be used to host Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and any other ActiveX document that had an ActiveX document server installed on the same computer.
Within the HTML viewer component, Microsoft added the capability to host other controls, including scripting engines and ActiveX controls. This gave Microsoft the flexibility to add more scripting languages to Internet Explorer as they were requested and created. This also enabled Internet Explorer to host any ActiveX controls that developers might want to create.
In designing Internet Explorer this way, Microsoft not only gave itself a lot of flexibility for future expansion of the functionality supported by Internet Explorer, but it also made the entire workings of Internet Explorer available to any developer that wants to take advantage of it and integrate Internet Explorer into his or her applications.
This was first published in July 2000