Re: Java and ActiveX

Subject: Re: Java and ActiveX
From: Bill Bledsoe <Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- CMS-STL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 1997 12:21:11 -0600

Whoa... got to get in on this one.

Comments (and I think they're pertinent) below:

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM wrote:
> This is more a technical issue than a techwriting issue; both of these
> technologies will be developed by programmers, not writers. Still, putting
> on my techie hat:

Well if we want to call ourselves "technical communicators" then we'd
better not be afraid to get a little technical from time to time. We're
in a real pickle here because of some of this "Technical Stuff" on our
External Web Site, that the Tech Pubs group owns. We're looked upon
here as the HTML/Web experts... and I think that's a growing trend in
Tech Pubs departments. So... don't apologize for being technically
oriented, or making a technically oriented comment. We're all heading
towards needing more technical skills. If you're out there trying to
buck this trend, you're in for a tough battle.

> Users of the Java Virtual Machine packaged with Microsoft
> Visual J++ can use and create COM and ActiveX objects using Java.
> Due to the fact that the MS verion of the Java VM contains Windows-specific
> extensions, I'd be hesitant about doing any cross-platform work with their
> development tools. You might have a hard time running the app or applet on
> other platforms.

There is an alternative... that the rest of the Planet (and originally
Microsoft as well) has approved as a standard, and is in place in many
implementations. It is CORBA

If you'd like to know more about CORBA and how it works, here's a few
useful url's for you: (a distributed technology developer, no plug...
just some good white papers) (they're one of the leading builders of "ORB's",
again not a plug) (another leading orb builder)

(loading flame thrower.... CMS'ers run for cover)
As Microsoft continues to try and garner as much of the "Web Market" as
they can, they are taking standards and ripping them to shreds with
proprietary technology and methods, that only provide benefit to
Microsoft. They are systematically destroying most of the HTML/Web
standards set forth... and if they are allowed to succeed, will ruin the
cross platform capabilities of web technology.

> As far as I know, the COM-enabled Java VM is implemented only on
> Windows 95 and Windows NT, but Eddon and Eddon point out
> that COM is a platform-independent architecture.
> The biggest problem with all object models is making them get along with
> other vendors' products. COM is no exception to this.

Vendors that follow the CORBA standard have very few problems with
this. That's the idea behind standards.

Here's another one for you. If you want to use the Java 1.1 language in
your online documents, don't look for MS Internet Exploder to support
that anytime soon. They've goofed up the Java Virtual Machine (the
client-side entity that makes all of your JavaScript "stuff" "happen" in
your web browser) so much by piling ActiveX stuff on it... that they
can't now even validate their underlying Java code. Bottom line,
Microsoft has succeeded in building their own, proprietary version of

Want to read more about Java, go to the Javasoft site and find out about
the 100% Pure Java initiative at

Before we dismiss this stuff as "too technical" and having little effect
on our jobs as writers, I remind you that presentation/delivery medium
have a lot to do with the success of our documents, whether online or
not. This troubling trend by Microsoft has really limited the options
of the online communicator... and it effects all of us who write for

By the way... I'm not a software engineer... heck I don't even have an
engineering degree! (Journalism if you're interested) But... in getting
to know my audiences... I've felt that it is important to understand
what's going on behind the scenes. Also, I'm not "afraid" of technology
either. If it can help me communicate with my audience, I'm going to
learn it! I'm not an "anti-Microsoft" biggot either. I sit here in
front of my Win95 workstation pecking this message out. I like the MS
Office Suite, and think Mac's have an uphill battle, but have
contributed a lot to our computing environment today. I just like
standards to be held up as standards...

enough ranting.
Bill Bledsoe
Senior Technical Writer - CMS
St. Louis, MO
Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- cms-stl -dot- com or intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- com
webmaster: St. Louis Chapter - STC <>

"The Internet is the first thing that
humanity has built that humanity doesn't
understand," Eric Schmidt, CTO Sun 10/18/96
PS: This is my opinon, not CMS' opinon. Got it?

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