Using MFC to Host a WebBrowser Control

This tutorial explains how to use the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) to add a WebBrowser control to your C++ application. The article is divided into the following sections:

  • Requirements and Prerequisites
  • Implementation Steps
  • Optional Steps
    • Navigate to User-Specified Locations
    • Display Location Information
    • Use ExecWB to Add Print and Zoom Features
  • Related topics

Requirements and Prerequisites

To develop this application, you must have Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or later installed. This tutorial assumes that you are familiar with the Microsoft Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) and that you have an understanding of C/C++ programming, MFC, Microsoft ActiveX controls, and the Component Object Model (COM).

Implementation Steps

It's easy to create a WebBrowser control with Visual C++ because the IDE produces most of the code. The following steps guide you through the process.

  1. Choose an application type.

    Open Visual C++ and follow these steps:

    1. Choose New from the File menu.
    2. Select MFC AppWizard (exe).
    3. Enter the project name and select a location.
    4. Click OK.
    5. When the dialog box for Step 1 appears, select the application type that is appropriate for your application—single document, multiple document, or dialog-based. Select "Dialog-based" for this example.
    6. Click Next.
  2. Select application features and support.

    The dialog box for Step 2 asks you to select any features and support your application will need—an About box or automation support, for example. The WebBrowser control is an ActiveX control, so select ActiveX Controls. Click Next to go to the next step.

  3. Select the project style.

    The dialog box for Step 3 is used to define your project. You have only one project style option, Standard MFC. But you can indicate whether you want the IDE to generate comments in the source code, and you can specify how you want to use the MFC library. The default selections are appropriate for most applications. Click Next to go to the next step.

  4. Name the files and classes.

    The dialog box for Step 4 displays the names of all the files and classes that Visual C++ created. You can change these to more descriptive names or to names required by your specification. Click Finish.

  5. Add a WebBrowser control.

    You now have a skeleton application. Because this example uses a dialog-based application, a dialog box with OK and CANCEL buttons appears in the Dialog Editor. Follow these steps to add an ActiveX control to the dialog box.

    1. Right-click the Dialog Editor.
    2. Select Insert ActiveX Control from the menu.
    3. Select Microsoft Web Browser.
    4. Click OK.
    5. Position and size the WebBrowser control in the Dialog Editor.
    6. Delete the default OK and CANCEL buttons if your application does not require them.
  6. Add a WebBrowser class and a member variable.

    When you insert a WebBrowser control, an identifier for the control is automatically assigned, but you must provide a member variable to access the control. To add a variable:

    1. Right-click the WebBrowser control.

    2. Select ClassWizard.

    3. Click the Member Variables tab to display the control identifiers.

    4. Select IDC_EXPLORER1.

    5. Click Add Variable, and the following dialog box appears:

    6. Click OK to display a Confirm Classes dialog box.

    7. Click OK again to add a CWebBrowser2 class to your project.

    8. Enter a name for the control variable.

    You now have an application containing a browser. However, if you compile the code generated by Visual C++ and run the executable file, a browser does not appear.

  7. Display the WebBrowser control.

    To display the WebBrowser control, your application must navigate to a URL. The following example uses the IWebBrowser2::Navigate method to open the Microsoft home page in a WebBrowser control.

    //CWebBrowser2 m_browser - member variable
    m_browser.Navigate("", NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL);

Optional Steps

This section provides code for additional features you can add to your WebBrowser control.

  • Navigate to User-Specified Locations
  • Display Location Information
  • Use ExecWB to Add Print and Zoom Features

Most Web applications enable the user to browse to any location by typing a URL in a text box. After the user enters the URL, the data is retrieved and passed to the IWebBrowser2::Navigate method. Invoking IWebBrowser2::Navigate causes the browser to navigate to the location.

To add browsing capability to your application you must provide a text box for entering and retrieving data, such as an edit control. To add an edit control, open your application in the Dialog Editor and choose Edit Control from the Controls toolbar. This creates the control, but to access and use the control you must add a member variable. See Steps 5 and 6 in the previous list for information about how to do this.

The following example uses an edit control to retrieve a location and pass that location to the WebBrowser control.

//CWebBrowser2 m_browser - to access the WebBrowser control  
//CEdit m_edit - to access an edit control

CString string;

m_browser.Navigate(string, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL);

Display Location Information

It's not necessary to display the title and path of the current page, but this information can be helpful to users. Typically, location information is displayed near the top of a WebBrowser control in a text box.

The following browser window shows the title of the page and the URL displayed in an edit box.

If the current location is an HTML page on the World Wide Web, you can use the IWebBrowser2::get_LocationName and IWebBrowser2::get_LocationURL methods to retrieve the title of the current page and full path of the folder or file. If you want this information displayed continuously, add the following code to the initialization process. If you want it displayed only when an event occurs, add the code to an event handler. The following example uses IWebBrowser2::get_LocationName and IWebBrowser2::get_LocationURL to retrieve location information and display it in an edit box.

//CWebBrowser2 m_browser - to access the WebBrowser control  
//CEdit m_edit - to access the edit control

CString string1, string2;

    string1 = m_browser.GetLocationName();
    string2 = m_browser.GetLocationURL();
    string1 = string1 +",  " + string2;

Use ExecWB to Add Print and Zoom Features

The WebBrowser control does not support a print or zoom method, but you can add these features to your application with the IWebBrowser2::ExecWB method. The following example shows how to do this.

//CWebBrowser2 m_browser - to access the WebBrowser control  

//This code snippet prints the contents of the WebBrowser control 
//after displaying a print dialog box.

    m_browser.ExecWB(OLECMDID_PRINT, 0, NULL, NULL);

//This snippet changes the font size of the contents of the 
//WebBrowser control. You can pass in a size between 0 and 5. 
//Zero is the smallest.

    VARIANT vFontSize;

    m_browser.ExecWB(OLECMDID_ZOOM, 0, &vFontSize, NULL);       


Handling Events in Visual Basic Applications

Reusing the WebBrowser Control