Object Linking and Embedding

Object linking and embedding (OLE) applications manage compound documents pics/WIN3200090001.gif that is, documents made up of data from a variety of different applications. OLE provides services that make it easy for applications to call on other applications for data editing. For example, an OLE-aware word processor could embed a graph from a spreadsheet. The user could start the spreadsheet automatically from within the word processor by choosing the embedded chart for editing. The OLE libraries would take care of starting the spreadsheet and presenting the graph for editing. When the user quit the spreadsheet, the graph would be updated in the original word processor document. Contrast this with a DDE link involving a spreadsheet graph in a word processor document. With DDE, the user would have to explicitly start the spreadsheet and open the graph document in order to make changes. With OLE, the spreadsheet appears to be an extension of the word processor.

Like an application using DDE, an OLE-aware application can communicate with a wide variety of other Windows-based applications. Because the OLE protocol includes all necessary context information, the application will be able to hold OLE conversations with all other OLE-aware applications pics/WIN3200090001.gif even those that have yet to be written.

Key Point OLE supports compound documents and enables an application to include embedded or linked data that, when chosen, automatically starts another application for data editing. This enables the application to be extended by any other OLE-aware application.

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