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Posted 20 Jun 2010
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Creating JavaScript arrays and other objects from C++

, 26 Jun 2010
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How to create JavasSript arrays and other objects from C++ code and pass them to the script.

Introduction

JavaScript has some built-in classes like Object, Array, and Date. It is often asked how to create instances of these classes from C++. Assuming you are familiar with COM, you should be able to understand this solution.

How does it work?

To create new instances, you would usually write JavaScript code like:

var o = new Array();

If you host JScript in a C++ application (by using the scripting host directly or by using the WebBrowser control to display a website with JavaScript code embedded), you can't simply call new from your C++ code. Also, there is no way to create an array via CoCreateInstance since you don't have a CLSID. Instead, you have to manually do what JScript does when you construct a new object.

The following happens when you use the new-operator in JScript:

  1. The object on which new is called will be asked for a property with the name of the class of which you want a new instance (e.g., "Array").
  2. The returned property is asked for an IDispatchEx interface.
  3. InvokeEx is called on the returned interface with a DISPID of 0 and the flag DISPATCH_CONSTRUCT. This will construct the instance and return the newly created object.

After these steps, you will have your Array.

Obtain the scripting object

There are usually two situations where you have to deal with JavaScript from your C++ application. One is that you host a WebBrowser control to display HTML pages, the second is that you use the JScript scripting host directly. In the second case, you will have some IActiveScript pointer somewhere. Just call GetScriptDispatch() on that interface to get the scripting object:

// pScriptEngine is of type IActiveScript
// SCRIPT_ITEMNAME is the name you specified in IActiveScript::AddNamedItem
//     can be NULL to retreive the the object containing all global members
CComPtr<IDispatch> pScriptDisp;
HRESULT hr = pScriptEngine->GetScriptDispatch(SCRIPT_ITEMNAME, &pScriptDisp);
if (FAILED(hr))
  return hr;
// pScriptDisp is now the scripting object

If you host a WebBrowser control, you will have a IWebBrowser2 pointer. Ask for the current IHTMLDocument2, ask this document for the parent window (IHTMLWindow2 interface). This will be the scripting object:

// spBrowser is of type IHTMLWindow2
CComPtr<IDispatch> spDoc;
hr = spBrowser->get_Document(&spDoc);
if (FAILED(hr))
  return hr;

CComQIPtr<IHTMLDocument2> spHTMLDoc(spDoc);
if (!spHTMLDoc)
  return E_NOINTERFACE;

CComPtr<IHTMLWindow2> spWindow;
hr = spHTMLDoc->get_parentWindow(&spWindow);
if (FAILED(hr))
  return hr;

CComQIPtr<IDispatch> pScriptDisp(spWindow);
if (!pScriptDisp)
  return E_NOINTERFACE;
// pScriptDisp should now be scripting object

Obtaining the object constructor

Using the new operator in JavaScript first asks for a property contained in the object on which new is called. So if you say new Array() inside the JavaScript of an HTML page, the window object is the one you ask for a property with the name "Array". Everything inside JavaScript is in fact a property of something. If you write the following Javascript code inside an HTML page:

function doSomething()
{
  // ...
}

you add a property of type function to your window object with the name of "doSomething".

If you then construct a new instance by saying var o = new doSomething();, you call this property in a "special way" which is different by then just saying var o = doSomething();. The latter will obtain the DISPID for doSomething and call Invoke on the window-object with this DISPID and the flag DISPATCH_METHOD. Use var o = new doSomething(); queries for a property named "doSomething" (which is also an object) and then calls InvokeEx on this object with the flag DISPATCH_CONSTRUCT. But first, let's get the property named "Array":

// get DISPID for "Array"
DISPID did = 0;
LPOLESTR lpNames[] = {L"Array"};
hr = pScriptDisp->GetIDsOfNames(IID_NULL, lpNames, 1, 
                     LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, &did);
if (FAILED(hr))
  return hr;

// invoke pScriptDisp with DISPATCH_PROPERTYGET for "Array"
CComVariant vtRet;
DISPPARAMS params = {0};
CComVariant vtResult;
hr = pScriptDisp->Invoke(did, IID_NULL, LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, 
                   DISPATCH_PROPERTYGET, &params
  , &vtResult, NULL, NULL);
if (FAILED(hr))
  return hr;
// vtResult should be of type VT_DISPATCH and contain the creator for Array

Now we have something like a creator for Array objects. The creator will query now for a new Array. This is done by first getting an IDispatchEx interface from the creator:

// get IDispatchEx on returned IDispatch
CComQIPtr<IDispatchEx> creator(vtResult.pdispVal);
if (!creator)
  return E_NOINTERFACE;

The IDispatchEx interface extends IDispatch and supports objects that can be dynamically expanded with new properties. This is exactly the way our new property doSomething is added to the window, by using its IDispatchEx interface. (See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/sky96ah7%28VS.85%29.aspx for details about IDispatchEx.) Here we only need the InvokeEx method, which is:

HRESULT InvokeEx(
   DISPID id,
   LCID lcid,
   WORD wFlags,
   DISPARAMS *pdp,
   VARIANT *pVarRes, 
   EXCEPINFO *pei, 
   IServiceProvider *pspCaller 
);

Using id = DISPID_VALUE and wFlags = DISPATCH_CONSTRUCT does the constructor magic:

// creator is of type IDispatchEx
DISPPARAMS params = {0};
CComVariant vtResult;
HRESULT hr = creator->InvokeEx(DISPID_VALUE, LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, DISPATCH_CONSTRUCT
  , &params, &vtResult, NULL, NULL);
// vtResult should contain the newly created object

If everything went well, you have the newly created object now, whether it is a built-in-object or some object you defined in JavaScript. Yes, of course, you can also construct objects you defined in your JS-code.

function MyObject()
{
  this.foo = "bar";
}

by asking for a property named "MyObject". And that's more ore less all.

Oh, yes, you might want to pass some parameters to your constructor. Use the DISPPARAMS parameter in the InvokeEx call to pass arguments. Remember that the parameters have to be given in right-to-left-order, so the first parameter that arrives at the constructor is the last one in DISPPARAMS::rgvarg.

Adding values

If you created a new Object or Array, you may want to add values to the new object. This is also done via the IDispatchEx interface using GetDispID and InvokeEx. First, we need the DISPID for the name (or the index in case of an array) of the property to be added. IDispatchEx offers the method GetDispID for this:

HRESULT GetDispID(
   BSTR bstrName,
   DWORD grfdex,
   DISPID *pid
);

This property doesn't exist yet. To create it, pass the flag fdexNameEnsure in grfdex that will ensure that a property with the name bstrName will be created if it does not exist already. Initially, this new property will be a VARIANT of type VT_EMPTY. After you have the new DISPID, all you have to do is call InvokeEx with DISPATCH_PROPERTYPUT to add the value:

// theObject is of type IDispatchEx and is the js-Array
DISPID did = 0;
hr = theObject->GetDispID(CComBSTR(L"0"), fdexNameEnsure, &did);
if (FAILED(hr))
  return hr;
CComVariant data(_T("bar"));
DISPID namedArgs[] = {DISPID_PROPERTYPUT};
DISPPARAMS params = {&data, namedArgs, 1, 1};
hr = theObject->InvokeEx(did, LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, DISPATCH_PROPERTYPUT, &params,
  NULL, NULL, NULL);

As you can see, the rgdispidNamedArgs member of DISPPARAMS is used here; otherwise, the call will fail with DISP_E_PARAMNOTOPTIONAL.

Putting it all together, our PutJsArray looks like the following now. I use a CAtlArray<CComVariant> which is typedef'ed to CAtlVariantArray to pass the values and a JS-function named lpsName that is called to pass the newly created array to JavaScript.

HRESULT CJsArrayView::PutJsArray(LPOLESTR lpsName, CAtlVariantArray& data)
{
  // get script dispatch
  CComPtr<IDispatch> scriptDispatch;
  HRESULT hr = GetScriptDispatch(&scriptDispatch);
  if (FAILED(hr))
    return hr;
  ATLASSERT(scriptDispatch);

  // get DISPID for "Array"
  DISPID did = 0;
  LPOLESTR lpNames[] = {L"Array"};
  hr = scriptDispatch->GetIDsOfNames(IID_NULL, lpNames, 1, 
                       LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, &did);
  if (FAILED(hr))
    return hr;

  // invoke scriptdispatch with DISPATCH_PROPERTYGET for "Array"
  CComVariant vtRet;
  DISPPARAMS params = {0};
  CComVariant vtResult;
  hr = scriptDispatch->Invoke(did, IID_NULL, LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, 
          DISPATCH_PROPERTYGET, &params, &vtResult, NULL, NULL);
  if (FAILED(hr))
    return hr;
  // check result: should be a VT_DISPATCH
  if ((VT_DISPATCH != vtResult.vt) || (NULL == vtResult.pdispVal))
    return DISP_E_TYPEMISMATCH;

  // get IDispatchEx on returned IDispatch
  CComQIPtr<IDispatchEx> prototype(vtResult.pdispVal);
  if (!prototype)
    return E_NOINTERFACE;

  // call InvokeEx with DISPID_VALUE
  // and DISPATCH_CONSTRUCT to construct new array
  vtResult.Clear();
  hr = prototype->InvokeEx(DISPID_VALUE, LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, 
             DISPATCH_CONSTRUCT, &params, &vtResult, NULL, NULL);
  if (FAILED(hr))
    return hr;

  // vtresult should contain the new array now.
  if ((VT_DISPATCH != vtResult.vt) || (NULL == vtResult.pdispVal))
    return DISP_E_TYPEMISMATCH;

  // get IDispatchEx on returned IDispatch
  CComQIPtr<IDispatchEx> theObject(vtResult.pdispVal);
  if (!theObject)
    return E_NOINTERFACE;

  // add values by invoking InvokeEx
  CString sName;
  for(size_t n = 0; n < data.GetCount(); n++)
  {
    sName.Format(_T("%i"), n);
    hr = theObject->GetDispID(CComBSTR(sName), fdexNameEnsure, &did);
    if (FAILED(hr))
      break;
    DISPID namedArgs[] = {DISPID_PROPERTYPUT};
    DISPPARAMS p = {&data[n], namedArgs, 1, 1};
    hr = theObject->InvokeEx(did, LOCALE_USER_DEFAULT, 
                DISPATCH_PROPERTYPUT, &p, NULL, NULL, NULL);
    if (FAILED(hr))
      break;
  }

  // now call the js-function in lpsName with the array as parameter
  params.cArgs = 1;
  params.rgvarg = &vtResult;

  hr = CallJs(scriptDispatch, lpsName, &params);

  return hr;
}

The sample code

The Zip contains a sample project based on WTL and ATL. All the important code is contained in the view class CJsArrayView. It can easily be changed to MFC, or for usage with either MFC or ATL, or adapted to create other objects than Array or Object.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

imagiro
Software Developer
Germany Germany
Born in 1968 I do programming since over 25 years now. I started with Basic on a ZX81 and with hacking hexcodes in a Microprofessor before I switched to C++ and other languages.

Since more than 10 years I work as a professional software developer, currently for Salsitasoft in Prague.

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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionThanks a lot ! Pin
PlutusLEE23-Feb-18 22:54
memberPlutusLEE23-Feb-18 22:54 
QuestionMulti-dimensional arrays Pin
hyzerfool15-Dec-14 8:51
memberhyzerfool15-Dec-14 8:51 
QuestionTrying to use your code, but get DISP_E_UNKNOWNNAME Pin
pyva.net6-Feb-12 22:36
memberpyva.net6-Feb-12 22:36 
AnswerRe: Trying to use your code, but get DISP_E_UNKNOWNNAME Pin
imagiro7-Feb-12 7:12
memberimagiro7-Feb-12 7:12 
GeneralOk, solved the problem! Pin
pyva.net7-Feb-12 22:52
memberpyva.net7-Feb-12 22:52 
GeneralStunning! Problem not solved (for me) Pin
Elmue19-Feb-14 20:34
memberElmue19-Feb-14 20:34 
GeneralRe: Stunning! Problem not solved (for me) Pin
afirst20-Oct-15 17:45
memberafirst20-Oct-15 17:45 
GeneralPutting a VT_DISPATCH into the array PinPopular
Member 62577428-Feb-11 1:10
memberMember 62577428-Feb-11 1:10 
GeneralRe: Putting a VT_DISPATCH into the array Pin
imagiro14-Mar-11 8:38
memberimagiro14-Mar-11 8:38 
GeneralRe: Putting a VT_DISPATCH into the array Pin
dc_20006-May-14 0:16
memberdc_20006-May-14 0:16 
GeneralCall JS function with single argument (string type) Pin
Ful4-Aug-10 13:22
memberFul4-Aug-10 13:22 
GeneralRe: Call JS function with single argument (string type) Pin
imagiro5-Aug-10 11:25
memberimagiro5-Aug-10 11:25 
QuestionThe same for Mozilla plugin ? Pin
Alkalinou7-Jul-10 2:09
memberAlkalinou7-Jul-10 2:09 
AnswerRe: The same for Mozilla plugin ? [modified] Pin
imagiro8-Jul-10 9:03
memberimagiro8-Jul-10 9:03 
GeneralDefinitely looks like looking into Pin
JohnWallis4221-Jun-10 4:49
memberJohnWallis4221-Jun-10 4:49 
GeneralRe: Definitely looks like looking into Pin
imagiro21-Jun-10 4:56
memberimagiro21-Jun-10 4:56 
GeneralRe: Definitely looks like looking into Pin
JohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:01
memberJohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:01 
GeneralRe: Definitely looks like looking into Pin
JohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:07
memberJohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:07 
GeneralRe: Definitely looks like looking into Pin
imagiro21-Jun-10 5:09
memberimagiro21-Jun-10 5:09 
GeneralRe: Definitely looks like looking into Pin
JohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:17
memberJohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:17 
GeneralRe: Definitely looks like looking into Pin
JohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:24
memberJohnWallis4221-Jun-10 5:24 

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