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Pluggable Protocols, ActiveX, and Browser Components

Friday, 21 April 2006 07:11
Extending the web browser is very powerful. The web browser is typically the #1 app, you're right there with the user. These plugins give you the opportunity to extend the browser in any way you like...full hardware control (in-process native code!) and tight integration with system/app events.

Plugins are some work to maintain, browser versions change and suddenly everyone can't use the ActiveX/plugin control anymore. There is also a certain security dance one must perform....sign please. Every release of IE seems to break the prior plugin model for some reason or another...


pluggable protocol handlers

MSDN Pluggable Protocols
Asynchronous Pluggable Protocol - Overviews and Tutorials
Registering an Application to a URL Protocol
CodeGuru: Asynchronous Pluggable Protocol Implementation with ATL
An Asynchronous Pluggable Protocol Handler for data: URLs
How To Handle POST Requests in a Pluggable Protocol Handler
Internet Protocols and the .NET Pluggable Protocol Model
Introducing Pluggable Protocols
A Simple protocol to view aspx pages without IIS implemented in C#

There are number of URL protocol schemes registered with the operating system by default. If you want to check out the protocols schemes, these can be found in the registry under the following key:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shell\URLProtocols]





Netscape plugin api

Netscape plugins are the most compatible mechanism for extending the browser. Many browsers support the netscape plugin api.
A brief history (wikipedia on NPAPI)
Qt-based LiveConnect Plugins for Netscape and Explorer



Firefox plugins

Creating a new protocol for Mozilla Firefox in C++
An OpenGL Sample as Firefox Plugin - The Code Project - OpenGL
A Firefox C++ component intercepting/operating HTML DOM - The Code Project - Libraries & Projects
Creating a New Protocol Handler - creating a mozilla netlib handler.


ActiveX - IE plugins

ActiveX is just COM extensions to IE. They allow you to extend the IE browser in any way you would like. Native code execution, full trust. Very powerful but also a bit scary. So deployment is a little problematic. It is also directly tied to IE. ActiveX is possible in other browsers of course, but they require special installations to work.

IE 8 is also changing the security model of ActiveX.
IEBlog : IE8 Security Part II: ActiveX Improvements
3D in your browser - Irrlicht and ActiveX | Copperbit


browser helper objects (BHO) - IE in-process COM objects


BHOs are just com objects that reside within IE's process space and live with the browser. IE toolbars and browser eventing are very nice.
Browser Helper Objects: The Browser the Way You Want It - great article on BHOs with ATL.
Building Browser Helper Objects with Visual Studio 2005
Franci Penov : IObjectWithBrowserSiteImpl - base template for IE BHO or toolbars
CodeProject: WTL Browser. - browser implemented using WTL.
CodeProject: Cookie Spy. - Creating a CookieSpy explorer bar with ATL.
CodeProject: Popup Blocker. - Version 3 of the BHO Popup Blocker written in ATL.

SpicIE - managed plugins for IE

SpicIE - Simple Plug-In Creator for Internet Explorer - Home - build plugins using managed code!
Love the Dot: spicIE: Writing IE 7 and IE 8 Plugins in Managed Code


.net managed shell extensions

EZShellExtensions.Net : Develop Shell Extensions in .Net Fast And Painlessly! - it does cost money however...

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Last Updated on Monday, 25 January 2010 06:13