ATL Control Containment FAQ

Which ATL Classes Facilitate ActiveX Control Containment?

ATL's control-hosting code doesn't require you to use any ATL classes; you can simply create an "AtlAxWin80" window and use the control-hosting API if necessary (for more information, see What Is the ATL Control-Hosting API. However, the following classes make the containment features easier to use.

Class Description
CAxWindow Wraps an "AtlAxWin80" window, providing methods for creating the window, creating a control and/or attaching a control to the window, and retrieving interface pointers on the host object.
CAxWindow2T Wraps an "AtlAxWinLic80" window, providing methods for creating the window, creating a control and/or attaching a licensed control to the window, and retrieving interface pointers on the host object.
CComCompositeControl Acts as a base class for ActiveX control classes based on a dialog resource. Such controls can contain other ActiveX controls.
CAxDialogImpl Acts as a base class for dialog classes based on a dialog resource. Such dialogs can contain ActiveX controls.
CWindow Provides a method, GetDlgControl, that will return an interface pointer on a control, given the ID of its host window. In addition, the Windows API wrappers exposed by CWindow generally make window management easier.

What Is the ATL Control-Hosting API?

ATL's control-hosting API is the set of functions that allows any window to act as an ActiveX control container. These functions can be statically or dynamically linked into your project since they are available as source code and exposed by ATL90.dll. The control-hosting functions are listed in the table below.

Function Description
AtlAxAttachControl Creates a host object, connects it to the supplied window, then attaches an existing control.
AtlAxCreateControl Creates a host object, connects it to the supplied window, then loads a control.
AtlAxCreateControlLic Creates a licensed ActiveX control, initializes it, and hosts it in the specified window, similar to AtlAxCreateControl.
AtlAxCreateControlEx Creates a host object, connects it to the supplied window, then loads a control (also allows event sinks to be set up).
AtlAxCreateControlLicEx Creates a licensed ActiveX control, initializes it, and hosts it in the specified window, similar to AtlAxCreateControlLic.
AtlAxCreateDialog Creates a modeless dialog box from a dialog resource and returns the window handle.
AtlAxDialogBox Creates a modal dialog box from a dialog resource.
AtlAxGetControl Returns the IUnknown interface pointer of the control hosted in a window.
AtlAxGetHost Returns the IUnknown interface pointer of the host object connected to a window.
AtlAxWinInit Initializes the control-hosting code.
AtlAxWinTerm Uninitializes the control-hosting code.

The HWND parameters in the first three functions must be an existing window of (almost) any type. If you call any of these three functions explicitly (typically, you won't have to), do not pass a handle to a window that's already acting as a host (if you do, the existing host object won't be freed).

The first seven functions call AtlAxWinInit implicitly.

Note

The control-hosting API forms the foundation of ATL's support for ActiveX control containment. However, there is usually little need to call these functions directly if you take advantage of or make full use of ATL's wrapper classes. For more information, see Which ATL Classes Facilitate ActiveX Control Containment.

What Is AtlAxWin100?

AtlAxWin100 is the name of a window class that helps provide ATL's control-hosting functionality. When you create an instance of this class, the window procedure will automatically use the control-hosting API to create a host object associated with the window and load it with the control that you specify as the title of the window.

When Do I Need to Call AtlAxWinInit?

AtlAxWinInit registers the "AtlAxWin80" window class (plus a couple of custom window messages) so this function must be called before you try to create a host window. However, you don't always need to call this function explicitly, since the hosting APIs (and the classes that use them) often call this function for you. There is no harm in calling this function more than once.

What Is a Host Object?

A host object is a COM object that represents the ActiveX control container supplied by ATL for a particular window. The host object subclasses the container window so that it can reflect messages to the control, it provides the necessary container interfaces to be used by the control, and it exposes the IAxWinHostWindow and IAxWinAmbientDispatch interfaces to allow you to configure the environment of the control.

You can use the host object to set the ambient properties of the container.

Can I Host More Than One Control in a Single Window?

It is not possible to host more than one control in a single ATL host window. Each host window is designed to hold exactly one control at a time (this allows for a simple mechanism for handling message reflection and per-control ambient properties). However, if you need the user to see multiple controls in a single window, it's a simple matter to create multiple host windows as children of that window.

Can I Reuse a Host Window?

It is not recommended that you reuse host windows. To ensure the robustness of your code, you should tie the lifetime of your host window to the lifetime of a single control.

When Do I Need to Call AtlAxWinTerm?

AtlAxWinTerm unregisters the "AtlAxWin80" window class. You should call this function (if you no longer need to create host windows) after all existing host windows have been destroyed. If you don't call this function, the window class will be unregistered automatically when the process terminates.

Hosting ActiveX Controls Using ATL AXHost

The sample in this section shows how to create AXHost and how to host an ActiveX control using various ATL functions. It also shows how to access the control and sink events (using IDispEventImpl) from the control that is hosted. The sample hosts the Calendar control in a main window or in a child window.

Notice the definition of the USE_METHOD symbol. You can change the value of this symbol to vary between 1 and 8. The value of the symbol determines how the control will be created:

  • For even-numbered values of USE_METHOD, the call to create the host subclasses a window and converts it into a control host. For odd-numbered values, the code creates a child window that acts as a host.

  • For values of USE_METHOD between 1 and 4, access to the control and sinking of events are accomplished in the call that also creates the host. Values between 5 and 8 query the host for interfaces and hook the sink.

Here's a summary:

USE_METHOD Host Control access and event sinking Function demonstrated
1 Child window One step CreateControlLicEx
2 Main window One step AtlAxCreateControlLicEx
3 Child window One step CreateControlEx
4 Main window One step AtlAxCreateControlEx
5 Child window Multiple steps CreateControlLic
6 Main window Multiple steps AtlAxCreateControlLic
7 Child window Multiple steps CreateControl
8 Main window Multiple steps AtlAxCreateControl
// Your project must be apartment threaded or the (AtlAx)CreateControl(Lic)(Ex)
// calls will fail.
#define _ATL_APARTMENT_THREADED
#include <atlbase.h>
#include <atlwin.h>
#include <atlhost.h>

// Value of g_UseMethod determines the function used to create the control.
int g_UseMethod = 0; // 1 to 8 are valid values
bool ValidateUseMethod() { return (1 <= g_UseMethod) && (g_UseMethod <= 8); }

#import "PROGID:MSCAL.Calendar.7" no_namespace, raw_interfaces_only

// Child window class that will be subclassed for hosting Active X control
class CChildWindow : public CWindowImpl<CChildWindow>
{
public:
   BEGIN_MSG_MAP(CChildWindow)
   END_MSG_MAP()
};

class CMainWindow : public CWindowImpl<CMainWindow, CWindow, CFrameWinTraits>,
   public IDispEventImpl<1, CMainWindow, &__uuidof(DCalendarEvents), &__uuidof(__MSACAL), 7, 0>
{
public :

   CChildWindow m_wndChild;
   CAxWindow2 m_axwnd;
   CWindow m_wndEdit;

   static ATL::CWndClassInfo& GetWndClassInfo()
   {
      static ATL::CWndClassInfo wc =
      {
         { 
            sizeof(WNDCLASSEX), 
            CS_HREDRAW | CS_VREDRAW | CS_DBLCLKS, 
            StartWindowProc,
            0, 0, NULL, NULL, NULL, 
            (HBRUSH)(COLOR_WINDOW + 1), 
            0, 
            _T("MainWindow"), 
            NULL 
         },
         NULL, NULL, IDC_ARROW, TRUE, 0, _T("")
      };
      return wc;
   }
   
   BEGIN_MSG_MAP(CMainWindow)
      MESSAGE_HANDLER(WM_CREATE, OnCreate)
      MESSAGE_HANDLER(WM_DESTROY, OnDestroy)
   END_MSG_MAP()

   BEGIN_SINK_MAP(CMainWindow)
      SINK_ENTRY_EX(1, __uuidof(DCalendarEvents), DISPID_CLICK, OnClick)
   END_SINK_MAP()

   // Helper to display events
   void DisplayNotification(TCHAR* pszMessage)
   {
      CWindow wnd;
      wnd.Attach(GetDlgItem(2));
      
      wnd.SendMessage(EM_SETSEL, (WPARAM)-1, -1);
      wnd.SendMessage(EM_REPLACESEL, 0, (LPARAM)pszMessage);
   }
   
   // Event Handler for Click
   STDMETHOD(OnClick)()
   {
      DisplayNotification(_T("OnClick\r\n"));
      return S_OK;
   }

   LRESULT OnCreate(UINT, WPARAM, LPARAM, BOOL&)
   {
      HRESULT hr = E_INVALIDARG;

      _pAtlModule->Lock();

      RECT rect;
      GetClientRect(&rect);
      
      RECT rect2;
      rect2 = rect;
      
      rect2.bottom -=200;
      
      // if g_UseMethod is odd then create AxHost directly as the child of the main window
      if (g_UseMethod & 0x1) 
      {
         m_axwnd.Create(m_hWnd, rect2, NULL, WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_BORDER, 0, 1);
      }
      // if g_UseMethod is even then the AtlAx version is invoked.
      else
      {
         // Create a child window.
         // AtlAx functions will subclass this window.
         m_wndChild.Create(m_hWnd, rect2, NULL, WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_BORDER, 0, 1);
         // Attach the child window to the CAxWindow so we can access the 
         // host that subclasses the child window.
         m_axwnd.Attach(m_wndChild);
      }

      if (m_axwnd.m_hWnd != NULL)
      {
         CComPtr<IUnknown> spControl;

         // The calls to (AtlAx)CreateControl(Lic)(Ex) do the following:
         // Create Calendar control. (Passing in NULL for license key. 
         //   Pass in valid license key to the Lic functions if the 
         //   control requires one.)
         // Get the IUnknown pointer for the control.
         // Sink events from the control.
         
         // The AtlAx versions subclass the hWnd that is passed in to them 
         //   to implement the host functionality.

         // The first 4 calls accomplish it in one call.
         // The last 4 calls accomplish it using multiple steps.

         switch (g_UseMethod)
         {
            case 1:
            {
               hr = m_axwnd.CreateControlLicEx(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7"), 
                  NULL, 
                  NULL, 
                  &spControl, 
                  __uuidof(DCalendarEvents), 
                  (IUnknown*)(IDispEventImpl<1, CMainWindow, 
                     &__uuidof(DCalendarEvents), &__uuidof(__MSACAL), 7, 0>*)this
               );
               break;
            }
            case 2:
            {
               hr = AtlAxCreateControlLicEx(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7"), 
                  m_wndChild.m_hWnd, 
                  NULL, 
                  NULL, 
                  &spControl, 
                  __uuidof(DCalendarEvents), 
                  (IUnknown*)(IDispEventImpl<1, CMainWindow, 
                     &__uuidof(DCalendarEvents), &__uuidof(__MSACAL), 7, 0>*)this, 
                  NULL
               );
               break;
            }
            case 3:
            {
               hr = m_axwnd.CreateControlEx(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7"), 
                  NULL, 
                  NULL, 
                  &spControl, 
                  __uuidof(DCalendarEvents), 
                  (IUnknown*)(IDispEventImpl<1, CMainWindow, 
                     &__uuidof(DCalendarEvents), &__uuidof(__MSACAL), 7, 0>*)this
               );
               break;
            }
            case 4:
            {
               hr = AtlAxCreateControlEx(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7"), 
                  m_wndChild.m_hWnd, 
                  NULL, 
                  NULL, 
                  &spControl, 
                  __uuidof(DCalendarEvents), 
                  (IUnknown*)(IDispEventImpl<1, CMainWindow, 
                     &__uuidof(DCalendarEvents), &__uuidof(__MSACAL), 7, 0>*)this
               );
               break;
            }
            // The following calls create the control, obtain an interface to 
            // the control, and set up the sink in multiple steps.
            case 5:
            {
               hr = m_axwnd.CreateControlLic(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7")
               );
               break;
            }
            case 6:
            {
               hr = AtlAxCreateControlLic(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7"), 
                  m_wndChild.m_hWnd, 
                  NULL, 
                  NULL
               );
               break;
            }
            case 7:
            {
               hr = m_axwnd.CreateControl(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7")
               );
               break;
            }
            case 8:
            {
               hr = AtlAxCreateControl(
                  OLESTR("MSCAL.Calendar.7"), 
                  m_wndChild.m_hWnd , 
                  NULL, 
                  NULL
               );
               break;
            }
         }

         // have to obtain an interface to the control and set up the sink
         if (g_UseMethod > 4)
         {
            if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
            {
               hr = m_axwnd.QueryControl(&spControl);
               if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
               {
                  // Sink events form the control
                  DispEventAdvise(spControl, &__uuidof(DCalendarEvents));
               }
            }
         }

         if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
         {
            // Use the returned IUnknown pointer.
            CComPtr<ICalendar> spCalendar;
            hr = spControl.QueryInterface(&spCalendar);
            if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
            {
               spCalendar->put_ShowDateSelectors(VARIANT_FALSE);
            }
         }
      }

      rect2 = rect;
      rect2.top = rect.bottom - 200 + 1;
      m_wndEdit.Create(_T("Edit"), m_hWnd, rect2, NULL, WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | 
         WS_BORDER | ES_AUTOHSCROLL | ES_AUTOVSCROLL | ES_MULTILINE, 0, 2);
      return 0;
   }

   LRESULT OnDestroy(UINT, WPARAM, LPARAM, BOOL&)
   {
      _pAtlModule->Unlock();
      return 0;
   }
};

class CHostActiveXModule : public CAtlExeModuleT<CHostActiveXModule>
{
public :

   CMainWindow m_wndMain;

   // Create the Main window
   HRESULT PreMessageLoop(int nCmdShow)
   {
      HRESULT hr = CAtlExeModuleT<CHostActiveXModule>::PreMessageLoop(nCmdShow);
      if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
      {
         AtlAxWinInit();
         hr = S_OK;
         RECT rc;
         rc.top = rc.left = 100;
         rc.bottom = rc.right = 500;
         m_wndMain.Create(NULL, rc, _T("Host Calendar") );
         m_wndMain.ShowWindow(nCmdShow);         
      }
      return hr;
   }

   // Clean up. App is exiting.
   HRESULT PostMessageLoop()
   {
      AtlAxWinTerm();
      return CAtlExeModuleT<CHostActiveXModule>::PostMessageLoop();
   }
};

CHostActiveXModule _AtlModule;

int APIENTRY _tWinMain(HINSTANCE hInstance,
                     HINSTANCE hPrevInstance,
                     LPTSTR    lpCmdLine,
                     int       nCmdShow)
{
    UNREFERENCED_PARAMETER(hInstance);
   UNREFERENCED_PARAMETER(hPrevInstance);
    
   g_UseMethod = _ttoi(lpCmdLine);

   if (ValidateUseMethod())
   {
      return _AtlModule.WinMain(nCmdShow);
   }
   else
   {
      return E_INVALIDARG;   
   }
}

See also

Control Containment FAQ
AtlAxCreateControl
AtlAxCreateControlEx
AtlAxCreateControlLic
AtlAxCreateControlLicEx
CAxWindow2T Class
IAxWinHostWindowLic Interface