Microsoft has posted on its Web site free downloadable versions of the ActiveX developers' kit and an alpha of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0.
The new version of Explorer -- available at http://www.microsoft.com/ie/appdev/default1.htm -- features keyboard shortcuts so that users can interact with Web pages and click on all hyperlinks without using a mouse. It also performs downloads in separate windows, letting the user continue to browse during the download.
Explorer 3.0 also speeds the browsing process by letting users scroll up and down a page while it's still downloading its text and graphics. The browser also displays text first, letting the user read while graphics are downloaded.
The product uses a persistent page cache that allows the user to set the cache to occur between sessions and work with the cached materials off-line.
Version 3.0 supports HTTP Keep-Alive, a protocol enhancement supported on some Web servers that allows Explorer to maintain an open connection to a Web server for multiple downloads.
Explorer 3.0 can embed ActiveX objects in Web pages, enabling interactive programs to be presented alongside text and images.
Those objects in Web pages can be programmed to communicate with each other and with Explorer via a scripting language based on Visual Basic.
Microsoft can be reached on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com.