Saturday, January 17, 2009


Who Uses ActiveX Controls These Days?

For my birthday, my parents sent me one of those e-cards on the web. When I went to retrieve it, the site told me "We're sorry - this feature is not compatible with Macs."

Of course, this is because this site ("My Fun Cards") uses ActiveX controls for its animated cards.


Ten years ago, ActiveX controls sometimes made sense. But these days, with widespread support for Java, Flash, Silverlight and other web technologies, why the hell would anybody be deploying ActiveX controls? They're not cross-platform, they are insecure, they require users to manipulate their browser settings and click "OK" when asked whether to install a control, etc. They are just bad, bad, bad.

This is not, of course, my parents' fault. The people at My Fun Cards are just a few years behind everybody else.

I don't know why, but at work when I run a junit unit test and want to view the results (which junit conveniently dumps in an html file), IE wants my permission to allow this page to use ActiveX. I have no clue why, because I've looked at these things in past jobs with Linux+Firefox and not noticed any difference.
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