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The Lifetime of an ActiveX Control

Managing a custom ActiveX control's events and behavior is a bit more complex than for most other objects, such as standard controls and Forms or other types of ActiveX components.

This complexity is due to the fact that you must keep two levels of behavior in mind for your control rather than just knowing the usual runtime behavior. In other words, you must also manage the behavior and features of an ActiveX control when another programmer uses it at design time in an application.

Most of the increased complexity in a custom ActiveX control has to do with the management of the contents of its properties as the control moves from abstract definition to being an instantiated object in a VB project and from there to life in a running VB application.

Control Authors and Developers

In order for your ActiveX control to provide its services to end users, some intermediate programmer must put the control into his or her application. As the author of an ActiveX control, therefore, you must specify design-time features of your control as well as runtime features. The ultimate user of the runtime features is that archetypal, shadowy being we programmers have come to know, love, and fear as the end user.

The user of the design-time features will be another programmer. In this chapter we will call you, the programmer creating the ActiveX control, the ActiveX control author. In this chapter, we will refer to the programmer using the ActiveX control in an application as the developer.

IMPORTANT - Who Is the "User" of an ActiveX Control?: Much of the documentation on ActiveX custom controls employs the word "user" loosely, sometimes meaning the end user of the application where your control is sited and, at other times, meaning the developer who is programming with your control.


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