Object Linking and Embedding

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{system, computer, user}
{math, number, function}
{work, book, publish}
{language, word, form}
{company, market, business}

Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) is a technology developed by Microsoft that allows embedding and linking to documents and other objects. For developers, it brought OLE Control eXtension (OCX), a way to develop and use custom user interface elements. On a technical level, an OLE object is any object that implements the IOleObject interface, possibly along with a wide range of other interfaces, depending on the object's needs.



OLE allows an editor to "farm out" part of a document to another editor and then re-import it. For example, a desktop publishing system might send some text to a word processor or a picture to a bitmap editor using OLE. The main benefit of using OLE is to display visualizations of data from other programs that the host program is not normally able to generate itself (e.g. a pie-chart in a text document), as well as to create a master file. References to data in this file can be made and the master file can then have changed data which will then take effect in the referenced document. This is called "linking" (instead of "embedding").

Its primary use is for managing compound documents, but it is also used for transferring data between different applications using drag and drop and clipboard operations. The concept of "embedding" is also central to much use of multimedia in Web pages, which tend to embed video, animation (including Flash animations), and audio files within the hypertext markup language (such as HTML or XHTML) or other structural markup language used (such as XML or SGML) — possibly, but not necessarily, using a different embedding mechanism than OLE.

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