Looking to provide yet another alternative to the suddenly shackled Java, Microsoft is adding support for new "scriptlet" components into Internet Explorer 4.0. Scriptlets are COM-based scripts written in HTML and VBScript (or JavaScript) that are reusable, lightweight, and cross-platform.

"They will run anywhere IE is," said Microsoft product manager Tom Johnston. Anywhere IE 4.0 is , that is.

When IE 4.0 ships on September 30th, support for scriptlets will be included and the IE 4.0 SDK (due the same day) will include information for developers wishing to use the technologies. Visual InterDev 98--expected to be announced next week at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in San Diego--will also support scriptlet use and development.

Microsoft hopes to accelerate the use and acceptance of Dynamic HTML.

"This is only possible because we have the architecture and support standards \[such as HTML 4.0, W3C Document Object Model, and ECMA Scripting standard\], and the other guys aren't there," Johnston said.

Apparently, "the other guy" he refers to is Netscape Communications.

For more information about scriptlets, please visit the Scriptlets overview page