Mozilla ActiveX Control

I was a little surprised how “popular” my XUL/E post became. The demo viewer page alone has over double the hits of the second place page. In that post, I demonstrated how Mozilla’s rendering engine (Gecko) could be embedded in Internet Explorer and used to display rich XUL applications and advanced SVG and canvas graphics. Of course, XUL/E is a play on Microsoft’s brand-new-fantastic-sliced-bread WPF/E technology and Mozilla is not mounting a XUL/E initiative (but I can dare to dream).

However, the Mozilla ActiveX control is real and is a quick and easy way to embed a Mozilla web browser not only in Internet Explorer, but any development environment that supports ActiveX controls, including .NET WinForms. Adam Lock’s pages have a lot of information on the control. If you want a current build of the control, download XULRunner, as the control is distributed in that package.

In the comments of my XUL/E post, some asked about using the control as an alternative to Adobe’s SVG ActiveX control. This is certainly possible, but not ideal in it’s current form. However, some small changes could make it much more feasible. One change would be making the control a default viewer for the SVG MIME type. Doing so would allow the control to automatically display SVG whenever IE navigated (directly or by <A> link) to an SVG resource.

I already have a patch to do that exact thing for the XUL MIME type.

2 Comments

  1. thirdhand said,

    January 23, 2007 @ 7:09 pm

    Like i said, that’s cool. :)

    How about making it a default viewer for the application/xhtml+xml MIME type? Then we could forget about the lack of standards support in IE. Imagine that – modern websites using CSS2/3, SVG, MathML… running natively in modern browser engines (Gecko, Opera, WebKit/KHTML) and inside the Gecko ActiveX control in IE.

    There might be some practical problems with this (I haven’t tried the ActiveX control yet), but one can dream (like you said)… ;)

  2. stelt said,

    February 1, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

    Use IEAK and run your own version of IE ?

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