Active Platform

Definition of Active Platform in the Network Encyclopedia.

What is Active Platform?

Active Platform was a set of Microsoft technologies for developing applications for the Internet. Applications developed using Active Platform technologies can be accessed and run from any client platform independent of the operating system, as long as a standard Web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer is installed on the client.

Active Platform
Active Platform

Active Platform was an umbrella term for three key Microsoft technologies:

Active Desktop:

Integrates the Microsoft Windows desktop with the Internet, providing a seamless connection between local and remote applications and resources. Active Desktop is a core technology of Internet Explorer.

Active Server:

The Active Platform component of Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) version 5 or later. Using Active Server technologies, core Windows NT services can be extended to the Internet using applications developed with Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) technologies

Microsoft ActiveX:

A component software technology based on the Component Object Model (COM). ActiveX allows distributed Web-based applications to be developed in any programming language and then run from within an ActiveX-enabled browser such as Internet Explorer.


ActiveX became strongly criticized for security problems, and Microsoft later abandoned further development in favor of the .NET Framework. ActiveDesktop was never widely used and disappeared in newer versions of Windows, the concept only later being readopted in the Windows Sidebar, which was added as a response to the Dashboard feature in Apple’s OS X. ActiveServer was later harmonized with the .NET platform and a revamped version of ASP became known as ASP.NET.


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