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Determining if ActiveX Controls are Disabled

P: n/a
Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet Explorer
has completely disabled ActiveX controls?

Jason

Oct 12 '05 #1
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18 Replies


P: n/a

DartmanX wrote:
Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet Explorer
has completely disabled ActiveX controls?

Jason


Perhaps someone else knows of a simple way to detect if ActiveX is
disabled. It is true that IE browsers and close relatives such as MSN9,
MyIE2, and Avant can handle general ActiveX, if not disabled. However
several other browsers can use plugins to handle a very limited subset
of ActiveX(there are some hacks for general ActiveX on many browsers
which I would not use). For example recent Netscape browsers came with
ActiveX support for the WMP only. Also there are plugins that can be
downloaded for the same type of ActiveX support of the WMP for Mozilla
and Firefox. This should be kept in mind in any test designed to detect
full or partial ActiveX support.

Media pages often use ActiveX. In this case the standard way seems to
be to write a dual path for browsers that do and do not support ActiveX
rather than detecting ActiveX support. For example one can write an
ActiveX object for the WMP that allows many control parameters. One can
also include a second ordinary object(or embed if one does not care
about standards)that usually allows fewer controls. If the browsers
does not support ActiveX, the second path is automatically taken. That
is just the way an ActiveX object is designed to work. I have often
seen such an approach used for Real media and flash as well as for
Microsoft wmv and wma formats. ActiveX objects are very easy to spot.
They have a 32 digit hex ID that is unique for each device or program
to be controlled.

Oct 13 '05 #2

P: n/a
Well, the reason I ask the question is because what I am doing needs to
be able to determine if ActiveX is completely disabled on IE in order
to display a "Sorry, this function won't work" message.

Jason

Oct 13 '05 #3

P: n/a
DartmanX wrote:
Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet
Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?


Ask them?

Richard.
Oct 13 '05 #4

P: n/a

DartmanX wrote:
Well, the reason I ask the question is because what I am doing needs to
be able to determine if ActiveX is completely disabled on IE in order
to display a "Sorry, this function won't work" message.

Jason


I do not think that javascript is a good answer. Even if you can come
up with a script that can detect ActiveX support or not with 100%
accuracy, there is a problem. Many people who turn off ActiveX also
turn off javascript. For all such people, a script method is doomed to
failure. Thus, if the detection you wish is reasonable at all, it
likely needs to be done on the server using php script, Perl, or
something of the sort.

Oct 13 '05 #5

P: n/a
cw******@yahoo.com said the following on 10/12/2005 10:56 PM:
DartmanX wrote:
Well, the reason I ask the question is because what I am doing needs to
be able to determine if ActiveX is completely disabled on IE in order
to display a "Sorry, this function won't work" message.

Jason

I do not think that javascript is a good answer. Even if you can come
up with a script that can detect ActiveX support or not with 100%
accuracy, there is a problem. Many people who turn off ActiveX also
turn off javascript.


I have JS enabled, ActiveX disabled. I understand how my browser works,
how ActiveX works, and what kind of security holes I am opening/closing
by having it set that way.
For all such people, a script method is doomed to failure.
That is not true. JS/ActiveX is the best answer to answer a JS/ActiveX
question. You put the warning in the page and then have JS/ActiveX
remove it.

"Warning: I have no idea how to implement my page without JS and ActiveX
so if you see this then I failed in my objective of producing an
accessible webpage to all."

Then, you write an ActiveX object that would change that text. Pretty
simple stuff.

If the warning stays, then JS is disabled and the user is notified. If
JS/ActiveX is available, it removes the warning and JS/ActiveX enabled
users get the enhancement.
Thus, if the detection you wish is reasonable at all, it
likely needs to be done on the server using php script, Perl, or
something of the sort.


Huh? And how would the server attempt to determine that? It can't
possible determine it better than JS could attempt to determine it.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Oct 13 '05 #6

P: n/a

Randy Webb wrote:
cw******@yahoo.com said the following on 10/12/2005 10:56 PM:
DartmanX wrote:
Well, the reason I ask the question is because what I am doing needs to
be able to determine if ActiveX is completely disabled on IE in order
to display a "Sorry, this function won't work" message.

Jason

I do not think that javascript is a good answer. Even if you can come
up with a script that can detect ActiveX support or not with 100%
accuracy, there is a problem. Many people who turn off ActiveX also
turn off javascript.


I have JS enabled, ActiveX disabled. I understand how my browser works,
how ActiveX works, and what kind of security holes I am opening/closing
by having it set that way.


For all such people, a script method is doomed to failure.


That is not true. JS/ActiveX is the best answer to answer a JS/ActiveX
question. You put the warning in the page and then have JS/ActiveX
remove it.

"Warning: I have no idea how to implement my page without JS and ActiveX
so if you see this then I failed in my objective of producing an
accessible webpage to all."

Then, you write an ActiveX object that would change that text. Pretty
simple stuff.

If the warning stays, then JS is disabled and the user is notified. If
JS/ActiveX is available, it removes the warning and JS/ActiveX enabled
users get the enhancement.
Thus, if the detection you wish is reasonable at all, it
likely needs to be done on the server using php script, Perl, or
something of the sort.


Huh? And how would the server attempt to determine that? It can't
possible determine it better than JS could attempt to determine it.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly


You do not need to use script at all in many cases - you just take
advantage of the AX object. As I mentioned in my first post, if you
use an AX object and AX is not supported, a second path will be taken
if it is included in the AX object. This second path can be a simple
paragraph that states anything you wish. See
http://www.cwdjr.info/souearly/AXtest.php . This includes an AX object
for the WMP with no other player path if AX is not installed or turned
off. Instead the second path is just a paragraph. Of course you must
have a WMP installed to view how the player works. If I view the page
on IE6 with ActiveX on, the player works. It also works on my Firefox
browser for which I have downloaded the AX plugin for the WMP only. The
player does not appear on my Mozilla, because I have not installed an
AX plugin for the WMP on it. Instead you get the warning that AX is not
installed or turned off. The same happens for the old Netscape 4.8 and
Amaya, which has no AX or javascript installed. The most recent Opera
is a special case. It plays the page as if it had AX installed. I
believe that Opera is using some trick to play media written with AX
support only, even though I doubt if Opera supports AX directly. I wish
someone from Opera would tell us exactly what is going on.

Oct 13 '05 #7

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cw******@yahoo.com said the following on 10/13/2005 12:30 AM:

<snip>


You do not need to use script at all in many cases - you just take
advantage of the AX object.
Huh? The post I quoted you say this:

<quote>
Thus, if the detection you wish is reasonable at all, it
likely needs to be done on the server using php script, Perl, or
something of the sort.
</quote>

And now you say to use AX to detect AX? (which is exactly what I said).
As I mentioned in my first post, if you use an AX object and AX is
not supported, a second path will be taken if it is included in the AX
object. This second path can be a simple paragraph that states anything
you wish.


Which is the same effect as I described.

AX itself determines whether it is available or not - not the server.

The server is very rarely (if ever) the best place to try to determine
if a client side technology is available or not.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Oct 13 '05 #8

P: n/a

Randy Webb wrote:
cw******@yahoo.com said the following on 10/13/2005 12:30 AM:

<snip>


You do not need to use script at all in many cases - you just take
advantage of the AX object.


Huh? The post I quoted you say this:

<quote>
Thus, if the detection you wish is reasonable at all, it
likely needs to be done on the server using php script, Perl, or
something of the sort.
</quote>

And now you say to use AX to detect AX? (which is exactly what I said).
As I mentioned in my first post, if you use an AX object and AX is
not supported, a second path will be taken if it is included in the AX
object. This second path can be a simple paragraph that states anything
you wish.


Which is the same effect as I described.

AX itself determines whether it is available or not - not the server.

The server is very rarely (if ever) the best place to try to determine
if a client side technology is available or not.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly


Perhaps you did not see my first post or it has not appeared on your
newsreader yet, so I will quote the part about a second path that I
mentioned there.

"Media pages often use ActiveX. In this case the standard way seems to
be to write a dual path for browsers that do and do not support ActiveX
rather than detecting ActiveX support. For example one can write an
ActiveX object for the WMP that allows many control parameters. One can
also include a second ordinary object(or embed if one does not care
about standards)that usually allows fewer controls. If the browsers
does not support ActiveX, the second path is automatically taken. That
is just the way an ActiveX object is designed to work."

I just detailed this and gave a working example for a paragraph as a
second path on the post you quoted. Of course if you view many pages
with AX objects, you will find all sorts of html used as a second path
if AX is not installed or turned off, so this is nothing new at all.

In case anyone wonders, the php include in the example page has nothing
to do with the AX object. It just writes and serves the page as proper
xhtml 1.1 served as application/xhtml+hml for browsers that will accept
this mime type. For outmoded browsers, such as the IE6, that will not
accept this mime type, the page is rewritten as html 4.01 strict, and a
comment is added to the source code telling what was done. You can see
this by viewing on the IE6 and checking the source code.

For the record, there are, or were, very complicated scripts for
detecting if a WMP, for example, is installed, what version it is, and
if there is AX support for it. This is/was somewhere on the vast
Microsoft sites. The best I remember, it used 2 javascripts(or perhap
Microsoft Jscripts?) and 1 vb script. Because of the vb script, this
method would not work on many other non-Microsoft browsers.

Oct 13 '05 #9

P: n/a
Richard Cornford wrote:
DartmanX wrote:
Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet
Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?


Ask them?

Even if it is enabled, Javascript is a silly way to try and find out.
What if Javascript is disabled?
Oct 14 '05 #10

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It's a given with this particular application (not the world at large,
but this application) that it won't run with javascript disabled. The
users are aware of this fact.

Oct 14 '05 #11

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The Magpie said the following on 10/14/2005 10:54 AM:
Richard Cornford wrote:
DartmanX wrote:
Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet
Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?

Ask them?

Even if it is enabled, Javascript is a silly way to try and find out.
What if Javascript is disabled?


Who said anything, in that reply, about Javascript?

--
Randy
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Oct 14 '05 #12

P: n/a
DartmanX said the following on 10/14/2005 6:25 PM:
It's a given with this particular application (not the world at large,
but this application) that it won't run with javascript disabled. The
users are aware of this fact.


Then make your users aware of the fact that it requires ActiveX as well.
Then you have no problem trying to determine if it is disabled or not.

Please quote what you are replying to.

If you want to post a followup via groups.google.com, don't use the
"Reply" link at the bottom of the article. Click on "show options" at
the top of the article, then click on the "Reply" at the bottom of the
article headers.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Answer:It destroys the order of the conversation
Question: Why?
Answer: Top-Posting.
Question: Whats the most annoying thing on Usenet?
Oct 14 '05 #13

P: n/a
Randy Webb wrote:
The Magpie said the following on 10/14/2005 10:54 AM:
Richard Cornford wrote:
DartmanX wrote:

Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet
Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?

Ask them?

Even if it is enabled, Javascript is a silly way to try and find out.
What if Javascript is disabled?


Who said anything, in that reply, about Javascript?

Given this is a Javascript newsgroup, that should be taken as read.
Oct 15 '05 #14

P: n/a
The Magpie said the following on 10/15/2005 8:52 AM:
Randy Webb wrote:
The Magpie said the following on 10/14/2005 10:54 AM:
Richard Cornford wrote:

DartmanX wrote:

> Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet
> Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?
Ask them?

Even if it is enabled, Javascript is a silly way to try and find out.
What if Javascript is disabled?

Who said anything, in that reply, about Javascript?

Given this is a Javascript newsgroup, that should be taken as read.


So everything you read in this newsgroup you assume is a Javascript
question? Thats a flawed line of reasoning.

The answer to my question is: Nobody.

But, JS is the *only* mechanism that can *reliably* determine if it is
/enabled/. Nothing can determine, reliably, if it is /disabled/.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javascript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Oct 15 '05 #15

P: n/a
The Magpie wrote:
Randy Webb wrote:
The Magpie said the following on 10/14/2005 10:54 AM:
Richard Cornford wrote:
DartmanX wrote:
> Is there a simple way to determine if someone using
> Internet Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?

Ask them?

Even if it is enabled, Javascript is a silly way to try
and find out. What if Javascript is disabled?


Who said anything, in that reply, about Javascript?

Given this is a Javascript newsgroup, that should be taken
as read.


Oh no it shouldn't. Understanding a technology is as much about knowing
when it should or should not be used as knowing how it can be used and
where it could and could not be used. The best possible advice a
javascript group can give to many questions about the possibility of
using javascript for some tasks is that it is an inappropriate
technology for the task and so should not be used. In such circumstances
anyone presenting a javascript hack that might be effective in 80% of
circumstances is manifestly doing the questioner a disservice, and
giving _bad_ advice, and certainly whenever an alternative technology
could give 100% reliability.

There is certainly no inherent dependency on javascript in asking the
user a question:-

<form action="someServerScritp" method="POST">
<div>
Have you completely disabled ActiveX controls in this browser?
<input type="submit" value="Yes" name="Response">
<input type="submit" value="No" name="Response">
</div>
</form>

If you combine 'all answers must be exclusively javascript approaches'
and "what if javascript is disabled?", then all answers must become "No
you cannot do this" (because all exclusively javascript approaches must
fail utterly whenever javascript is not executed). In practice
javascript should be designed to be integrated with the technologies
that represent the rest of the system, and informed design decisions are
capable of identifying the best approach to be taken, which may not
involve javascript at all, or may involve javascript in a non-critical
way.

Richard.

Oct 16 '05 #16

P: n/a

cw******@yahoo.com wrote:
For the record, there are, or were, very complicated scripts for
detecting if a WMP, for example, is installed, what version it is, and
if there is AX support for it. This is/was somewhere on the vast
Microsoft sites. The best I remember, it used 2 javascripts(or perhap
Microsoft Jscripts?) and 1 vb script. Because of the vb script, this
method would not work on many other non-Microsoft browsers.


I did find a script that at one time was available at Netscape. The
link I had is gone, and I do not know if they deleted the script or
moved it. However I find that I made a copy of the script without the
discussion and still have it. It detects if the WMP is installed, if
ActiveX is supported, etc. I could have made a minor change in the
code, but the script is mainly that of Netscape. It likely is rather
out of date now, and I believe I remember that some of the tests may
now fail on some recent browsers. Thus I do not think you should use it
without testing on many browsers and bringing the code up to date. I
have found that I usually can get around testing for AX by providing an
alternative path in the AX object as described in previous posts. Thus
I had all but forgotten about this script. Since this is not my script,
the complaint department is at Netscape :-).

See the source code at http://www.cwdjr.net/wmp/NN_IE_WMP_Sniff.html .

Oct 16 '05 #17

P: n/a
JRS: In article <di*******************@news.demon.co.uk>, dated Thu, 13
Oct 2005 02:15:02, seen in news:comp.lang.javascript, Richard Cornford
<Ri*****@litotes.demon.co.uk> posted :
DartmanX wrote:
Is there a simple way to determine if someone using Internet
Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?


Ask them?


They may not know who to ask.

The word "has", in that context, can refer either to a past action of
the IE user (which they may or may not remember) or just to a present
state of the IE (whoever caused it).

The following can discriminate between working and not working
*javascript*; it should not be placed in script.htm or noscript.htm :

<META HTTP-EQUIV="REFRESH" CONTENT="1; URL=noscript.htm">

<script>
window.location.href="script.htm"
</script>
Javascript is not working

You may or may not be able to do something similar in ActiveX.

--
John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ?@merlyn.demon.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 IE 4
<URL:http://www.jibbering.com/faq/> JL/RC: FAQ of news:comp.lang.javascript
<URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/js-index.htm> jscr maths, dates, sources.
<URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> TP/BP/Delphi/jscr/&c, FAQ items, links.
Oct 16 '05 #18

P: n/a
Richard Cornford wrote:
The Magpie wrote:
Randy Webb wrote:
The Magpie said the following on 10/14/2005 10:54 AM:

Richard Cornford wrote:

>DartmanX wrote:
>
>>Is there a simple way to determine if someone using
>>Internet Explorer has completely disabled ActiveX controls?

>Ask them?
>
Even if it is enabled, Javascript is a silly way to try
and find out. What if Javascript is disabled?

Who said anything, in that reply, about Javascript?
Given this is a Javascript newsgroup, that should be taken
as read.


Oh no it shouldn't.


I disagree, but that is almost totally irrelevant.
[snip]The best possible advice a
javascript group can give to many questions about the possibility of
using javascript for some tasks is that it is an inappropriate
technology for the task and so should not be used.


Which is what I actually did.
Oct 17 '05 #19

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