CIW Course, Objects Plugins and Viewers for HTML pagesThis article constitutes section 1, part B, chapter 8 of the CIW Website design manager course and briefly covers: objects, plug-ins and viewers.

Active Content and Scripting

In order to make a Web page more than a simple static entity for reading and reference, programming languages have evolved which support a more interactive user experience.

Languages including: PHP, C, C++, Java, JavaScript, ActiveX and Visual Basic Script (VBScript) are used to provide the flexibility needed to provide the interaction required. In fact, this page uses PHP to select the banner at the top of the page from a database.


Objects enable Web authors to include numerous multimedia effects, also called active content, on their sites. The objects can play sounds, show video clips and animation sequences, or demonstrate ideas in 3-D virtual reality simulations. These multimedia capabilities can greatly enhance a site’s educational value.

Active objects can present a security problem. It is possible for these objects to be programmed to behave in a malicious manner. It is important that you are aware of this, slight, possibility, and that you know how to configure your browser to disable Java and/or ActiveX content should you choose to do so.


Plug-ins are applications that provide integration of the multimedia format with your browser. We tend to associate such plug-ins solely with interactive content such as: RealNetworks RealPlayer, Macromedia Shockwave and Flash, Apple Quicktime and Windows Media Player, but Adobe Acrobat is also a plug-in and allows the display of PDF documents in your browser window.

Plug-ins at work

When installing a plug-in, the application configures itself via registry entries for the browser(s) on your system and for the file types it will support. When your browser encounters a file associated with a given plug-in, it knows to activate the application.

A plug-in generally operates in one of three modes within the browser:

  • Full-screen: In this mode, a plug-in will completely fill the browser window’s inner frame.
  • Embedded: In this mode, the multimedia appears as part of a larger document, where the media or media player is visible as a rectangular sub-part of a page.
  • Hidden: In this mode, the plug-in is not visible in the browser, it runs in the
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