Microsoft?s ActiveX has no future as a significant Web development tool, believe three-quarters of Web masters.
In a poll conducted by US online service C-Net, 72 per cent of about 5,000 respondents believe that ActiveX has ?no future as a Web development tool?. Although those questioned included Internet end users, the majority were Web developers, Web masters and other specialists.
The problems with ActiveX appear to be poor security, slowness and lack of openness, according to this survey. Many respondents believe ActiveX was doomed all along by its dependence on Windows, which limits functionality for developers as well as cross-platform support. ?How typical of Microsoft, to completely miss the point of Java - platform independence,? said Web master Andre Ferrer.
Microsoft?s official line yesterday was that ?ActiveX has a role on our overall strategy for Web development? but that ?the whole picture and our strategy has become more complex since we launched ActiveX? in 1996. But it is noticeable that all Microsoft?s recent distributed computing announcements have centred on components and the Common Object Model (Com) rather than ActiveX.
In fact Com, which is the underlying model beneath ActiveX, may be its saviour. Even if ActiveX loses its brand awareness and becomes subsumed into a more general Microsoft range, it will still be part of Com, claim some supporters. They also believe that Com is easier to understand than Java and puts less stress on the network, because components need to be downloaded only once.
Of the 28 per cent of respondents who backed ActiveX?s future, most pointed to the advantages of Com, its support for multiple programming languages, and the money Microsoft can pump into its development. It is also less vulnerable to the politics of standards bodies, believe some.
Some claim ActiveX, while unsuitable to many commercial Web tasks, is ideal for Intranet applications, but one respondent, Mike Kirby, responded: ?ActiveX was never a viable option to Internet Web developers - but even in the controlled environment of the Intranet, ActiveX missed the point.?
Another Web master, Stan Krute, spoke for many when he summed up: ?Too complex. Too bloated. Too slow. It dies.?
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