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From MSDN Jan 2001...

ActiveX provides a standard mechanism to extend any programming language, including Java. ActiveX extends the capabilities of the Java language by allowing Java developers to integrate their applets with the richness of ActiveX. ActiveX ties Java applets together with objects created in other languages, so Java programmers can link to ActiveX controls directly from their Java programs. By the same token, objects written in other programming languages from multiple vendors can link to Java applets. ActiveX is the glue that ties them all together, delivering the most powerful Web technologies in an open, integrated platform. By providing a common way to extend and link programming languages including Java, ActiveX maximizes developers' resources for interactive Web development.

ActiveX is a Microsoft COM based technology. Usually, the COM objects are written in C++ or VisualBasic?, and thus run as native code. This has made them unsafe (as they aren't sandboxed), so Microsoft decided to use DigitalSignature""s to provide authentication.


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