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Firefox and ActiveX

February 9th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

I had a small amount of time at work today, and I was wondering about whether anybody had managed to create a method for ActiveX controls to work in Mozilla Firefox.

I’m fully aware that ActiveX is a Microsoft proprietary system, and many people think that Firefox should never support such a system, but some people do find uses in the technology for things like custom applications and Intranet pages.

Anyway, I pretty much stumbled across this page in the first few seconds of looking for an answer, and the Google search on that page seems to provide a good set of links.

This page seems to provide a good answer for the problem. It appears that I’m not the only person to ask this question, and some people have made some good headway into solving the problem. For starters they have identified 3 different uses of ActiveX technology and the way that it can interact with Firefox or Mozilla.

  1. Mozilla ActiveX Control
    Embed the Mozilla browser engine (Gecko) into any ActiveX application. This control implements the same APIs as the Internet Explorer control making porting of existing applications reasonably straightforward.
  2. ActiveX Control For Plug-ins
    Embed plug-ins in any ActiveX application. This control can host most Netscape Plug-in API (LiveConnect) plug-ins, allowing them to use them in your existing ActiveX applications, including Internet Explorer.
  3. Plug-in For ActiveX controls
    Embed ActiveX controls in any NP API application. This plug-in hosts ActiveX controls allowing them to be used in browser such as Netscape 4.x/6.x, Mozilla and Opera.

I must admit that I am most interested by point 1 – they have packaged the Gecko engine as an ActiveX control, in the same way that Internet Explorer is also packaged as an ActiveX control, so that it can be used in custom applications. They have even gone as far as duplicating the APIs and interfaces to the controls, so that the amount of code changes needed are absolutely minimal. Well done peeps!

Whilst I was looking for stuff on Firefox and ActiveX controls, I also came across this page, which lists a load of different tips and tweaks for Firefox. I’m gonna have to spend a bit of time working through them all just to see what is fully there, but the all read like good little tips to bear in mind!

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