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What Is the Active Template Library?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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The Active Template Library (ATL) is a set of programming protocols that are used to develop code for certain server pages and software application components. ATL is used in a Microsoft® Windows® environment in conjunction with C++ programming. Common Object Model (COM) objects are built with the Active Template Library.

An ATL is basically a conglomerate of different tools that interact with web-based software and browsers. It allows web users to receive material, data and other software applications through a web browser. For example, when an Internet user pulls up a website and plays a movie through a web-based media player, this is an example of an ATL control in use.

Essentially, ATL is synonymous with the Java languages and their various applications. The Active Template Library used to be known as the ActiveX® Template Library. It was developed by the Microsoft® to be used primarily with its web browser, Internet Explorer®. Programmers use the library to write a component object model, which is like a script that runs from a server's main page.

The server is what web users actually gain access to when they pull up the object. The object's data is maintained and housed on the server's database. ATL controls do make those files vulnerable to cyber attacks and viruses, which is why there are constant security updates to both web browsers and server applications.

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Each script maintains its own web server page. The object that is launched will show up in HTML coding with an .asp suffix. This acronym stands for active server page. C++ programming can also be used to write the Active Template Library's script, which helps to decrease the amount of time it takes for the web user to gain access to the server page.

Web users interact with a variety of Active Template Library controls on a daily basis. The process has become so automated that many web users and Internet surfers do not even realize that they are dealing with an object that was written with ATL coding. Active control dialog boxes, instant message chat windows and embedded audio and video are some of the more common applications. Web browser controls are other examples of component object models that are built into web-based software.

Some web 2.0 user sites are built around the idea of component object models. Sites that allow users to create personalized media channels and upload videos are an example. These videos are stored in a central server where each user maintains a personalized server page.

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