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Using Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) from PowerBuilder - whether in OLE Automation or the use of ActiveX controls - has long been a source of frustration for many PowerBuilder developers.

There are several reasons for this:

  • There is a lack of a full understanding of OLE.
  • There is little documentation and practical examples of using OLE with PowerBuilder.
  • There are some limitations inherent in the method that PowerBuilder implements OLE.

This article is intended to address some of these issues by providing a primer on OLE, providing some practical examples of its use, and demonstrating some methods for addressing the limitations of PowerBuilder's implementation of OLE.

The first thing we need to do is cover some background information, beginning with some definitions of terms and then some explanation of how OLE works.