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ActiveX Controls as ActiveX Components

ActiveX controls are a special type of ActiveX component. Therefore, most of the ActiveX concepts discussed in Chapter 14, "Creating an Active Document," apply directly to the subject of ActiveX controls.

In particular, an ActiveX control has the following notable features of any ActiveX component class:

  • Programmer-definable properties

  • Programmer-definable methods

  • Programmer-definable events

Moreover, you can implement these custom-definable members of the ActiveX control class in the same way that you implement customized members of other ActiveX components. Of course there are special considerations for ActiveX control members (especially properties), and we discuss the specifics of ActiveX control members in the rest of this chapter.

Standalone (OCX) ActiveX Controls

Just as you can distribute stand-alone compiled ActiveX components in the form of DLL or EXE files, you can also distribute compiled ActiveX controls in separate OCX files to other programmers and end users. An OCX is another type of DLL that lives in a host application.

To create an OCX file implementing one or more custom controls, you create a special ActiveX control project containing the ActiveX components you wish to distribute. Each ActiveX component will be implemented with source code in its own file (extension .CTL). When you follow the steps to create an ActiveX control as described in the rest of this chapter, you then can compile the project into an OCX.

ActiveX Controls in Other Projects

An ActiveX control can also form part of another VB project. In that case, you would include the control's CTL file as part of a Standard EXE or ActiveX EXE or DLL project.

You might choose to implement an ActiveX control as part of another project when the control's function is so specialized that it would never be used outside its host application.

You might also keep an ActiveX control inside other projects to prevent other programmers from accessing it independently. You can also accomplish the goal of keeping your control proprietary, however, by using a licensing scheme described in "Licensing and Distributing Your ActiveX Control."

NOTE - Licensing Considerations for ActiveX Control Distribution : If you plan to distribute your OCX file commercially to end users or other programmers or if you plan to distribute the file to the public at large over the Internet, you must also take into account the special licensing and distribution considerations for ActiveX controls.


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