The Component Object Model (COM) is the underlying architecture that forms the foundation for higher-level software services, like those provided by OLE and ActiveX. COM objects include many of features of ActiveX that makes it easy to use, but does not include the extra overhead required by ActiveX.
COM objects are very useful for Internet/intranet applications. There are imaging COM Components available which include a BitmapDataPath feature, that allows images in any supported raster format to be read from any URL. In addition, PrintWhileLoad functions display image data as it is being received from the net, providing Internet programmers with the fastest way to display the image on the clients screen.
Low-overhead COM objects with minimal DLL dependencies can be easily used both client and server side.