- The goals, challenges, and solutions
- Creating the extended WebBrowser component
- Using the component
.NET 2.0 has a new
WebBrowser control in the
System.Windows.Forms namespace. This control itself is very useful, but doesn't supply some events that might be needed in certain situations. This article explains how to extend the
WebBrowser control and add functionality for things like pop-up blocking, script error handling, and handling new windows in a tabbed browser environment.
For extending the
WebBrowser control, some features are not documented in the Help files of the .NET Framework. Not letting us be stopped by the "This method supports the .NET Framework infrastructure and is not intended to be used directly from your code." message, it is possible to create an object that implements
IWebBrowser2 and use all the functionality of the underlying browser. Besides this,
DWebBrowserEvents2 can be implemented for adding events to the control.
This article assumes that you have already some knowledge of the browser interfaces
DWebBrowserEvents2. Some knowledge about COM Interop and interfaces is also required.
2: The goals, challenges, and solutions
The goals of this component are:
- Handling script errors in a neat way
- Blocking unwanted pop-ups
- Enabling functionality for tabbed browsing or MDI browsing
- Making sure that a window is closed when it is closed by script
This section explains the problems associated with the goals and their solutions, in a short form. The next section goes more into the coding details.
Handling Script Errors
WebBrowser control has a
ScriptErrorsSuppressed property... Setting this property to
true does actually a bit more than it is supposed to. It not only disables the script error dialog, but also the dialog for logging on to a secure website with user certificates... What if we still want that functionality, or we would like to be notified when a script error has taken place, or we would like to know all the details about the script error?
The script error can be caught by the
HtmlWindow.Error event. This event fires whenever a script error occurs, with all the details. The challenge is that
HtmlWindow is to be accesed with the
HtmlDocument object, which is not always available.
HtmlDocument comes available as soon as the
Navigated event is fired. But what if the user refreshes the browser with F5? Sorry, the
Navigated event doesn't fire. After some testing, I found that the only reliable way was to use the
DownloadComplete event, which is not part of the default
- Create a
DownloadComplete fires, subscribe to the
- Use the error event for obtaining the script error information
- Set the
Handled property to
true to suppress the script error
Blocking unwanted pop-ups
Pop-ups are most of the time not very welcome, or could be inappropriate. To block these things, some additional information is needed.
NewWindow3 gives this information when the user uses Windows XP SP2, or Windows 2003 SP1 or better. If this event is not fired,
NewWindow2 takes its place. When
NewWindow3 is fired, you can check:
- If the user initiated the action that leads to the new window
- If the user holds the override key (the Ctrl Key)
- If it is a pop-up displayed because of a window that is closing
- The URL that is going to be opened
- And more...
NewWindow3 clearly is very interesting for this purpose. To use this event,
DWebBrowserEvents2 needs to be implemented.
- Create a new event and a new event arguments class
- Launch this event with the appropriate information
- After the event is fired, see if the navigation needs to be canceled
Enabling functionality for tabbed browsing or MDI browsing
Tabbed browsing seems to gain popularity these days. For Internet Explorer 7, this is one of the new features. The challenge in tabbed browsing is that you need to create a window when this is needed by scripts or links. Besides this, window name resolution should work over multiple windows or tabs. (For example:
<A href="http://SomeSite" target="SomeWindowName"/>) To achieve this, the automation object (called
ppDisp in the
NewWindowX event, and
Application in the
IWebBrowser2 interface) should be passed from the new browser back to the event. To get access to the
Application property, it is needed to get a reference to the underlying
- Store a reference to the
IWebBrowser2 interface object
- Create a property called
Application that exposes the
Application property of the interface
- Implement the
- Listen for
- Whenever an event is raised, create a new instance of the browser control
- Assign the event parameter
ppDisp to the
Application property of the new instance
Making sure that a window is closed when it is closed by script
When you invoke
window.close() in JScript, it looks like the
WebBrowser control hangs. Somehow, it can't be used for navigation, nor can it be used for anything else. It would be nice if we know when this happens. There are several events that fire when this happens, but none of the events gives us actually the information needed. Overriding
WndProc and seeing if the parent is notified that the browser is destroyed, is the only reliable solution. (If someone knows how to get
WindowClosing to work, it would be nice here!)
- Check for the message
- Check for the parameter
- If this is the case, fire a new event (this event is called
Quit, in the example)
3: Creating the extended WebBrowser component
From the last section, we have seen that all of this basically comes down to two things:
- Implement an object of type
IWebBrowser2, for obtaining the
Application property of the browser
DWebBrowserEvents2 for firing events
WebBrowser control has two methods that are undocumented:
DetachInterfaces(). These methods need to be used when you want to obtain a reference to the
Next, we can add the
This property can be used for creating a new window, and redirecting the browser to this new window, when a new window event is fired.
The following events are implemented in this sample:
NewWindow3 (for blocking pop-ups and creating new windows)
DownloadComplete (for handling script errors)
BeforeNavigate2 (if you want to see where you're going before even starting to get there)
To neatly implement
DWebBrowserEvents2, it is best to create a privately nested class in the component. This way, all the events that are needed are on one place and easy to find. When we instantiate this class, we provide a reference to the caller, whose methods can be invoked for raising the events we need.
Events are not attached at component construction, but a bit later. There are two methods here that provide this and can be overridden. These are
DetachSink(). When adding this all up, we get something like this (note that some code has been cut for readability):
4: Using the component
In the last section, we created a new component. Now, it's time to use the new events and get the maximum functionality out of the browser. For each of the goals, the details are explained here.
Handling the script errors
In the sample application, there is a tool window that simply shows a list of errors that occured, with their details. A single-instance class holds the script errors' information and notifies the subscribers when this information has been changed. For handling these script errors, the
BrowserControl first attaches to the
DownloadComplete event, and next subscribes to the
HtmlWindow.Error event. When this event is fired, we register the script error and set the
Handled property to
public partial class BrowserControl : UserControl
_browser = new ExtendedWebBrowser();
_browser.Dock = DockStyle.Fill;
void _browser_DownloadComplete(object sender, EventArgs e)
if (this.WebBrowser.Document != null)
void Window_Error(object sender, HtmlElementErrorEventArgs e)
e.Handled = true;
Blocking unwanted pop-ups, and enabling functionality for tabbed browsing or MDI browsing
Handling pop-ups should be user configurable. For the purpose of demonstration, I've implemented four levels, ranging from blocking nothing to blocking every new window. This code is part of the
BrowserControl, and shows how to do this. After the new window is allowed, the example shows how to let the new browser participate in the window name resolution.
void _browser_StartNewWindow(object sender,
MainForm mf = GetMainFormFromControl(sender as Control);
if (mf == null)
bool allowPopup = (e.NavigationContext == UrlContext.None)
|| ((e.NavigationContext &
UrlContext.OverrideKey) == UrlContext.OverrideKey);
allowPopup = true;
if (this.WebBrowser.EncryptionLevel !=
allowPopup = true;
goto case PopupBlockerFilterLevel.Medium;
if ((e.NavigationContext & UrlContext.UserFirstInited)
== UrlContext.UserFirstInited &&
(e.NavigationContext & UrlContext.UserInited)
allowPopup = true;
if (!((e.NavigationContext &
UrlContext.HtmlDialog) == UrlContext.HtmlDialog))
ExtendedWebBrowser ewb = mf.WindowManager.New(false);
e.AutomationObject = ewb.Application;
e.Cancel = true;
The reason the event is called
StartNewWindow is that the code design guidelines do not allow an event to begin with "Before" or "After". "
NewWindowing" doesn't have the same kind of ring to it :)
Using the Quit event
Quit event is fired, it's simply a matter of finding the right window or tab to close, and
Dispose the instance.
WebBrowser control is a good control for enabling web content in Windows applications. The additions in this article can be used to overcome the obstacles that developers face when they have no control over what web pages or other content the user might visit with their application. Hopefully, the next version of the .NET Framework will give us a little extra.
The sample application and source
The sample application is not a flashy UI, but it does demonstrate everything about this article. The code is commented, and hopefully gives enough information for helping you put your own solution together.
I would like to thank the following persons that made part of this article possible:
- The technique for
DWebBrowserEvents2 was in the bug list of Microsoft .NET 2.0. This has been used with modification.
- The technique for
WndProc was told by someone called "JoeBlow" on the MSDN forums, who had it derived from the MSKB article #253219.
This is my first article on The Code Project. Please excuse me for my English. Thanks for reading! If you can add anything or have suggestions or tips, please post a message below.
This code is copyrighted by The Wheel Automatisering in The Netherlands. Some rights are reserved.
The code in this license may be used for any purpose, just let your users know where it came from, and share derived code under the same license as this one. Don't blame me if something goes wrong. More information can be found here.
If you wish to use and/or publish this in commercial closed-source applications, you have my consent. You may use this code under your own license when you do so.
- 27th of March 2006: First post of this article.