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The COM Specification and the ActiveX Standard

Microsoft now uses the term ActiveX as the name for its standard for enabling objects to be instantiated and communicate with each other in a Windows environment. ActiveX is an extension of the older OLE standard. The main difference between ActiveX and OLE standards is that Microsoft markets ActiveX as a technology for providing Internet-enabled, docucentric computing solutions.

You will still see the term OLE used in Microsoft documentation and in the names of many of its internal object types and events. This is because the OLE standard is still one part of ActiveX, the part that provides object linking and embedding. In fact, OLE stands for "object linking and embedding."

ActiveX and OLE, in turn, are based on a more generalized standard or specification known as the Component Object Model, or COM. The COM specification lays out the general blueprint for any object standard and defines how separate object components can communicate with and manipulate each other.


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