Microsoft aims to spur HTML, ActiveX development
By Cara Cunningham
Posted at 11:13 AM PT, Jun 6, 1996
Microsoft Corp. the week of June 10 will release beta versions of two
software tools intended to ease ActiveX control integration and HTML
development for World Wide Web pages.
The company will release on its Web site ActiveX Control Pad, an authoring
tool to add ActiveX controls and scripting to a Web page, said Greg Leake,
product manager with Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.
The company will also release a beta version of HTML Layout Control, an
enhancement to Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3.0 browser that will give
developers greater control over where features appear in HTML documents, he
Both products will be commercially available later this summer.
These tools will allow HTML programmers to put together more advanced Web
pages without requiring additional knowledge or time commitments, said one
user of the beta software.
"Control Pad and Layout Control let someone familiar with HTML move up to the
next level rather easily, without these tools you have to jump from knowing
HTML to being a full-blown programmer," said Frank Sommer, vice president of
Videosoft Consulting Inc., in Berkeley, Calif.
ActiveX Control Pad reinforces Microsoft's ActiveX component technology as
one of the pillars in its Internet strategy, along with Internet Explorer,
"Developers and designers are asking for tools to help them create ActiveX
Web pages," he said. "This is the first tool that lets you go out and insert
ActiveX controls into a Web page. It makes the process of doing this super
The product automatically generates the HTML code needed to add an ActiveX
control to a page, which otherwise has to be done by hand-coding in a text
editor. The tool's Object Editor lets authors place controls directly in an
HTML document and visually set the properties of the controls.
A Script Wizard is also included so that developers can program interactivity
to be associated with a control. This can be done visually by choosing an
event for the object, such as a mouse click, from one list in the Script
Wizard and associating with an action, such as document open, from another
For greater control, developers can also define interactivity by programming
in either Microsoft's Visual Basic Script or Netscape Communications Corp.'s
The ActiveX Control Pad includes a library of ActiveX controls that can be
added into Web pages. The tool in beta and commercial form will be available
free of charge from Microsoft's Internet Developer's Tool Box at
Microsoft's HTML Layout Control, which will be integrated into ActiveX
Control Panel as well as into Internet Explorer 3.0, is an implementation of a
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) draft that extends the HTML cascading style
sheet specification, Leake said. For users, this means having more exact
placement of components on a Web page as well as more layout possibilities,
such as transparency and overlapping objects and frames.
The tool's two-dimensional layout capabilities let developers plot
ActiveX-compliant components on a Web page using X and Y coordinates, Leake
said, as well as the Z coordinate for overlapping. Pages built using this tool
will be viewable from any browser that works with ActiveX, he said.
Microsoft will update this tool as the W3C draft for two-dimensional HTML
layout evolves, Leake said, and will provide a migration tool if necessary
from the HTML Layout Control to the implementation of the finished
Microsoft is at _http://www.microsoft.com/_.