C# – Creating Toolbars, Buttons and Menus for Internet Explorer
This is a cross
copy of my original blog:
Recently I was looking for documentation to be able to create components for IE, traditional things like toolbars, buttons and menus.
In the beginning I was excited, but once I caught the appropriate documentation I found something that could be unfortunate, to create this kind of components for IE I had to make use of COM technology, so I had two possible ways:
Program this Add-ons using C++
- Program the Add-ons using C# but using COM interoperability
But then came the great disappointment. Whatever the choice, programming using COM technology seemed inevitable. Bad news.
Not that COM is an impossible subject, what happens is that I believe one has to assess these two aspects:
- Effort / Benefit proportion: How long will I spend creating the solution and How much should I charge?
- Maintenance time, How much time must I invest in supporting the solution once it is delivered?
In my case if I don’t use COM but use a managed component, both aspects above would be playing for me. However, I think it is clear for any .NET developer, that if I use COM both aspects above would be playing against me.
I was set to find across the internet some product that would allow me create Add-ons for IE using managed components, the pleasant surprise was when I found one called “Add-In Express for IE” I stopped for a while to review what kind of things can I can do using this Tool and I realized that the tool was exactly I was looking for, the solution to my problems.
What does “Add-In Express for IE”?
A few paragraphs back I mentioned two important aspects where clearly I specified that cost/benefit is something very important to take in account.
I want to invite you to review some articles that show How to create Add-ons for IE using COM:
Creating Add-ons for Internet Explorer: Toolbar Buttons
Creating Custom Explorer Bars, Tool Bands, and Desk Bands
Summarize the most troublesome and annoying issues to just to create a button and a toolbar:
- Create and modify registry keys
- I must write code using some ‘Service Providers’
- I must use in my code some things to ‘Query Interfaces’
Yes, this is what I asked too, Why I must concerned about all those items if I just want to create two of the most common and simple things in Windows UI development?
For sure there exist some heavy reasons to do that, but neither me nor my client are interested in those heavy reasons.
“Add-In Express for IE” has rich functionality, very interesting and very useful, but for now I will sum up all in one:
- You can create a complete solution just coding what you really need.
mean, if I want just to create a button in a toolbar, all I have to do in my
code is to handle the click event over the button, nothing else. I don’t need to take care of registry keys, service providers or query interfaces of I don’t know…what… Simply I code what I need, everything else is done by Add-In Express for me.
“Add-In Express for IE” is one of those tools that make you give thanks to God ( whatever your God ) for having found it, with this tool you can create solutions in a very fast way concentrating in What you need but not on How you do it.
Among other things that makes this too pay off, you can find:
- Creating an IE Add-on in a record time
- Version neutrality
- Support for 32 and 64 bit Add-ons
- Ease to test your solution in IE without necessity to go into details of the full installation process of your Add-on
- Simplicity of creating a solution installer, it is done automatically.
In my next article I would expose the ease of create a solution, I mean we’ll come into the tech! Meanwhile I invite you to check these illustrative videos available in the Add-In express site:
I hope this article make your life easy