Sun recommends writing portable JavaBeans components, so that developers have the broadest range of platforms and devices on which to run their components. For developers interested in having their components interoperate with existing ActiveX components, Sun provides the JavaBeans Bridge for ActiveX. The Bridge provide users of legacy OLE/COM/ActiveX containers such as Word or Visual Basic with the ability to embed and use portable JavaBeans components in the same way they would previously embed and use platform-specific OLE/COM/ActiveX components.
Currently, ActiveX is essentially a Window/X86 platform specific architecture. Due to the platform specific nature of ActiveX, this inherently limits ActiveX control portability. ActiveX controls require platform specific calls that are unique to each environment, even if they are written in the Java programming language. To the extent that Microsoft does make ActiveX available on other PC or UNIX platforms, these controls, even if they are written in the Java programming language, will not be fully portable.
JavaBeans works with any network model (i.e., to communicate between components across the network), including CORBA, DCOM, etc. JavaBeans integrates well with CORBA IDL, which is an excellent solution for customers in a heterogeneous distributed computing environment with platform independent components. However, we recommend RMI for Java to Java inter-object communication.
Sun's JavaBeans Bridge for ActiveX is platform specific due to the platform specific nature of ActiveX. Currently, ActiveX is essentially a Window/X86 platform specific component architecture.
If Microsoft delivers ActiveX libraries and ActiveX applications on other platforms, Sun will evaluate customer demand and respond accordingly.
Sun's JavaBeans Bridge for ActiveX includes features that allow JavaBeans and ActiveX components to exchange information between components in both directions. This allows customers to embed JavaBeans components within existing ActiveX containers, such as Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Borland Delphi and Visual Basic applications, among others.
Sun has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure compatibility within each company's respective products.
The version of Visual Basic 5.0 that is included in the Microsoft Developers Studio service pack #2 has some enhancements above the other versions of VB 5.0 that the Bridge does not recognize. While we look into this issue, it is advisable to run your bridged Beans in VB 5.0 without the Microsoft Developers Studio service pack #2 installed.
The JavaBeans Bridge for ActiveX is currently part of the Java Plug-In. The ActiveX Bridge was discontinued with the J2SE 1.4.0 release.