Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Embeddable HTML Browser?

Reading through the thread on IE being a great/not great browser, someone mentioned that there are lots of simplistic lightweight controls that can render perfectly standards compliant HTML code. Well, i've had a look round, and I haven't found any yet, and to be honest i'd rather like one! For various reasons...

Has anyone got any leads on one? Maybe the person who posted that comment? Dennis? hehe...

Andrew Cherry
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Ok, after a trawl of Google et al. i've found one Java solution that fits the bill (subject to testing for rendering of complex html, etc.) But this isn't quite the deluge I was hoping for, and Java isn't either, really... Especially as the original thread was mainly pointing to IE as an ActiveX control... Anyone?

Andrew Cherry
Saturday, January 17, 2004

HTMLLite is an excellent Delphi component which parses and displays HTML.

MX
Saturday, January 17, 2004

I researched this extensively a year ago, for VB 6.

The only two options I came up with were the HTML Lite component and a VB control that was an HTML Label. The Delphi component seemed more ready to be a full blown browser.

BTW, do you need to embed the browser or do you just need a self-contained web broswer?

(If all you need is the latter, there is a program that will convert an HTML file to an exe with a web browser. Might be called WebEXE or something like that. Email me if you need to know more). I think it was like $50. Freeware version would work too, but included some ad at the bottom of every html page.

The real Entrepreneur
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Sadly, for what I have in mind, yes I need to embed a browser in an app i'm planning. And the java control that I tried just didn't cut it. It couldn't render serious stuff properly. It had some major glitches. I simply haven't seen any browser control which has the same rendering quality as either IE, or a Gecko derivative. Which doesn't surprise me at all considering how many developer hours have gone in to thoe two systems.

So I have to say, if you want to embed a browser in your app, then embedding one of the big two seems like the only option... Of course, if I decide to write my app in Java, i'll simply embed the Gecko engine. However, if I decide to write it in c#... Hmm, trickier!

Any more suggestions anyone?

Andrew Cherry
Saturday, January 17, 2004

I agree. I research this extensively about once a year to figure out what the best strategy is for CityDesk. The two best choices are Gecko and IE (MSHTML, specifically, not DHTMLED), with IE about a mile ahead of Gecko in quality of the editing experience unless you really, really need portability.

I have never seen any other component that withstands about 3 minutes of rigorous testing.

Joel Spolsky
Saturday, January 17, 2004

You can very easily do it using Gupta Team Developer.
www.guptaworldwide.com
Unfortunately, you need to buy their programto be able to do so. Their program competes with Visual basic and is extremely good, btw

An Indian
Saturday, January 17, 2004

In addition to IE and Gecko, I know of QHTM

http://www.gipsysoft.com/qhtm/

Conversely, I was thinking of using a good widget that uses RTF internally, and find some code that knows how to convert between RTF and HTML. At this point, I only wish for one that handles basic tables, clickable URLs, and hierarchization (H1, H2, etc.)

FredF
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Our product (build with VB6) we've been using Webster Pro -- see www.homepagesw.com for more deails.

Before settling on Webster, we also investigated html to rtf converters but couldn't find anything that could handle graphics / gif's / jpg's.

No problems with Webster Pro -- what i liked about it was that it runs on "freshly installed" Win95 PC's -- a prereq. in our case.

Thanks
Liam

Liam
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Thx for the link :-) Gee, that's a bit pricey for just an edit widget...

http://www.homepagesw.com/webster_dll_purchase.htm

FredF
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Gee -- greed kicking in big time!

I can't find my invoice right now -- but know it wasn't that price -- in June 2003 it was about a third of current listed price. I would not have bought it at current price. Between $300-500 is what I was willing to pay for it.....

Since this thread started I downloaded HTMLlite (for Delphi). It looks like a lot better deal than WebPro. HTMLlite is faster than WebPro -- although we havn't had any problems with WebPro so far (running on about 2,000 pc's).

Liam
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Correction to my previous posting -- we bought the OCX version to use with VB6 not the DLL. The OCX is priced at $500, unchanged from 6 months ago.

I guess the "greed kicking in" statement might be unfair-- it is simply supply & demand.

Liam

Liam
Sunday, January 18, 2004

For basic HTML, you can use the wxHTML component built into the wxWindows library.

For compatibility with CSS and other stuff, I'd probably use Gecko.

Using IE as an ActiveX is good, but I believe that Microsoft's license prevents you from making commercial applications using that without paying royalties to Redmond.

Justin
Sunday, January 18, 2004

>>For basic HTML, you can use the wxHTML component

Can it be accessed from other languages than C++? Does it just display HTML, or does it also support WYSIWYG editing?

If someone knows of a sample in VB, I'm interested :-)

FredF
Sunday, January 18, 2004

"...paying royalties to Redmond."

Can anyone confirm this with a link?  I read the whole IEAK license but I couldn't find anything. 

Maybe I don't read legalese good enough :(

Wayne
Sunday, January 18, 2004

I've used HTMLLite also in my applications as well.  It is very fast at rendering html and has good CSS support.  I highly recommend it.

http://www.pbear.com/

Smitty
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Well, to give a little more information, basically the embedded browser is to be used to give users previews of potentially complex HTML layouts produced by my software which are entirely based on standards compliant markup and CSS2.

So, it really seems that it has to be Gecko for me. The slight pain in the arse factor of working with it over IE is probably made up for in this case by the increased rendeting of standards based CSS. Although I suppose giving the user a more realistic view of the web is perhaps a good idea too!

Certainly using Gecko from Java looks relatively pain free from what i've seen, and there's a fairly good packaging of the Gecko engine as an ActiveX control that is a semi-official part of the Mozilla project anyway.

This can be found at http://www.iol.ie/~locka/mozilla/mozilla.htm for those who are interested. I haven't had time to test this a great deal, but for basic plug in and go functionality it seems quite reasonable, especially as it conforms to the IE ActiveX control interfaces - in theory you could just drop it in as a replacement (place your bets now...)

It's a shame that Opera don't produce a similar ActiveX component version of their rendering engine, they are rather targeted towards custom versions for vertical applications.

I wonder if Joel has considered the Gecko ActiveX control for CityDesk? I expect so, I would have thought it would be almost the perfect test - to create a CityDesk build with the swapped control and see if it fired up as intended with no obvious failures?

I wonder how long it is until someone decides to build a rendering engine in .NET managed code... A while I imagine although I wonder if something of a similar ilk might appear as some small part of Longhorn...

Interesting to see some of the things that people have pointed out - i'll give them a closer inspection perhaps!

Andrew Cherry
Sunday, January 18, 2004

I have recently been playing with MSHTML in order to embed and/or render HTML in my own Window. As I think this could be of general interest, I have put the sources and the exe on my website under the following URL:
http://www.adp-gmbh.ch/win/misc/mshtml/index.html

Disclaimer: This is somewhat experimental.

Rene Nyffenegger
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Andrew - it's possible to embed a native browser in a Window in Java. For an example of this being done with SWT, see the source code for Eclipse.

Of course, using JNI like this is a hack, and I'd love to see a better solution. Unfortunately though, until someone ports Gecko to Java, we're stuck with it.

burninator
Monday, January 19, 2004

"I wonder how long it is until someone decides to build a rendering engine in .NET managed code"

Wasn't this going to be delivered in Whidbey?

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, January 19, 2004

burninator - yeah, there are several ways of getting gecko within a java interface - probably the most elegant, at least in theory, is the WebClient subproject of the Mozilla Blackwood project: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/blackwood/webclient/

I can't vouch for feature completeness, as again I haven't tested this more than just a basic play around, but the fact that they are on to a v2.0 in progress implies that it at least does what it's supposed to do as regeards sticking a browser on a form.

As regards a .NET managed rendering engine in Whidbey... really? I must have missed that, I'll have to go and do a little research. It would be typical if so - the perfect solution, but not available until long after the completion date... doh!

Andrew Cherry
Monday, January 19, 2004

I'm also looking for a way to render HTML page within my VC++ generated application. What I need is a way to be display content in English, German, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc transparently on any language Windows boxes [i.e. any language content should be displayed on all other language machines]. Therefore, I thought of outputting my contents as HTML with the approp. character encoding specification.

I found just a couple of solutions:
- A Java solution available at www.webrenderer.com
- A C-based solution that embeds Internet Explorer as an OLE/COM object available by Jeff Glatt at http://www.codeproject.com/com/cwebpage.asp

I plan to experiment more with the second option and see how it turns out. If anyone has tried, let me know. If anyone else wishes to look at it, do so. I would update all regarding my experiment results.

Also, if anyone could suggest alternate mechanisms to solve the problem, I would appreciate it.

Akash Rai
Friday, February 06, 2004

dillo for windows is another heal:)
i know that is from sf.jp , u may give it search, goodluck

steven
Monday, March 01, 2004

This confirms that Longhorn will fix the problem...

http://longhorn.msdn.microsoft.com/lhsdk/ref/ns/system.windows.forms/c/webbrowser/webbrowser.aspx

Ken Ono
Friday, April 16, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home