Microsoft Announces Utilities for Advanced Web Page Development

HTML Layout Control and ActiveX Control Pad Facilitate Creation of Interactive Web Content for Users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0

REDMOND, Wash., June 10, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of beta versions of the Microsoft®
HTML Layout Control and the ActiveX
Control Pad, complementary products that facilitate the development of leading-edge, ActiveX-based Web content. ActiveX is an umbrella term for Microsoft technologies that enable developers to create interactive content for the World Wide Web. Support for ActiveX technologies and HTML standards are key features of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, released last week in beta form.

The HTML Layout Control, available for download at no charge from Microsoft’s Web site provides frame-based layout for Web pages. It is based on the draft Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) specification recently published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The ActiveX Control Pad, also available for download at no charge from Microsoft’s Web site is an authoring utility that simplifies the addition of ActiveX Controls as well as scripts written in the Visual Basic®
programming system, Scripting Edition , or JavaScript
to HTML pages using a simple point-and-click process. Together, these utilities will enable Web developers to create a new generation of exciting, interactive Web pages for users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and other ActiveX-enabled browsers.

HTML Layout Control Provides Greater Design Precision for Web Page Designers

Until recently, Web page designers have been limited in their ability to control the placement of features in Web pages and thus create sophisticated user interfaces for their Web sites. For example, the current HTML standard does not provide Web page designers with precise, 2-D coordinate control over individual objects placed on a page, nor does it provide the ability to overlap objects and frames to facilitate the creation of more sophisticated pages with interactive designs.

The HTML Layout Control is a preliminary implementation of the draft specification published by the W3C ( for 2-D-style layout extensions to the HTML CSS standard. Microsoft has been working closely with the W3C on standards for 2-D, frame-based layout capabilities, including exact x and y coordinate placement, and on creating pages with overlapped (z-ordered) objects.

“We are delighted to be working with Microsoft on extending the W3C Cascading Style Sheet mechanism to support 2-D layout,”
said David Raggett, lead architect for HTML at W3C.
“The separation of document structure and layout style will be critical to fulfilling the potential of the Web when sites are rendering to graphic displays, PDAs or paper. The HTML Layout Control is a valuable first step toward this goal. We look forward to continued collaboration with W3C members in this regard.”

Web page developers can immediately implement 2-D support with the HTML Layout Control in Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and other browsers supporting ActiveX Controls. Over time, 2-D-style layout capabilities based on the final W3C specification will be natively supported in other Microsoft authoring tools and will become a standard feature of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

ActiveX Control Pad Provides Integration of Controls, Script and HTML

ActiveX Controls are language-independent and can be created using programming languages such as C++, future versions of Visual Basic, or Java. More than 1000 ActiveX Controls are available today from a wide variety of software vendors. Using the ActiveX Control Pad, Web developers can easily incorporate ActiveX Controls and scripting logic into HTML documents using a simple point-and-click process.

“We’re responding to developers who have told us they need tools to take advantage of ActiveX,”
said Bob Muglia, vice president, developer tools division, at Microsoft.
“The ActiveX Control Pad does exactly that. With the integration of ActiveX Controls, HTML and Visual Basic Script, developers can create interactive Web sites that make the Web come alive for users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0.”

The ActiveX Control Pad consists of the following components:

  • A text editor for editing HTML document source code

  • An object editor for placing ActiveX Controls directly into an HTML document, and for visually setting properties on ActiveX Controls

  • A Script Wizard for adding Visual Basic Script or JavaScript-compatible scripting to HTML documents

  • A palette of ActiveX Controls that can be incorporated into Web pages

The development process is expedited by the Script Wizard, which guides developers through the process of creating scripts that integrate the behavior of multiple controls and add programming logic to respond to users’ actions. For example, using the Script Wizard, a developer can add code that triggers the playing of a video clip when a user clicks a
button embedded on a Web page. The ActiveX Control Pad also provides a WYSIWYG page editor for creating rich, 2-D layouts within a Web page in conjunction with the Microsoft HTML Layout Control.

Licensing Information

In addition to posting downloadable beta copies of the ActiveX Control Pad and HTML Layout Control, Microsoft plans to make the final releases of both technologies available to users and developers free of charge in the third quarter of this year. In addition, the HTML Layout Control will be shipped with Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 (both in later beta versions of the product and in the released version).

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, ActiveX and Visual Basic are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

JavaScript is a trademark of Sun Microsystems Inc.

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