FoxPro Programming
IE ActiveX going away?
Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. IE ActiveX going away?
  Jeff Pace
  All
  Nov 4, 2019 @ 12:55pm

Microsoft is finalizing the Chrome browser in Win10. They are saying that, going forward, IE will not be available on new machines. Is is safe to assume that the IE ActiveX control will also not be available?

This will be a big problem for us.

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: IE ActiveX going away?
  Jeff Pace
  Jeff Pace
  Nov 4, 2019 @ 02:37pm

To clarify:

IE11 will probably remain in the win10 code base for awhile to accomodate legacy intranets. However, that may be limited to Windows Server products. I quess the question is how many legacy applications rely on the web browser control for use on Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Enterprise. Ours certianly does.

We use the web browser control to embed Windows Media Player in our software, and it works well. So far, we have not been able to find a replacement.

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: IE ActiveX going away?
  Harvey Mushman
  Jeff Pace
  Nov 5, 2019 @ 09:24am

I was talking to Rick Strahl about this exact issue, IE11 going forward. He indicated that Edge is already an alternative solution. No clue what it's active-X footprint looks like but one can only assume it is similar to IE11 but improved.

If you do test Edge, please post back your findings.

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: IE ActiveX going away?
  Jeff Pace
  Harvey Mushman
  Nov 5, 2019 @ 11:42am

From what I have read, Edge and the new MS Chrome browser will not have an ActiveX component. The good news for now is that IE11 is built into the Win10 OS code base. The bad news is that they are threatening to remove it some time in the future.

The Web Browser control is supported by many programming languages and used for many different things on desktop apps. I can only imagine the outcry if MS removes it. At this time, I know of no alternative solutions for the desktop. Intranets, on the other hand, can always be modified or re-written to support new browsers.

I love and I hate Microsoft. They force (sometimes bully) developers into their way of thinking.

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: IE ActiveX going away?
  Rick Strahl
  Jeff Pace
  Nov 5, 2019 @ 08:43pm

IE 11 will go away as the standalone browser. Microsoft this week announced the Chromium based version of Edge (which I've been using for the last half a year or so) at Ignite, and it includes an Internet Explorer mode that can run all versions of IE internally. This means Microsoft will stop shipping Internet Explorer as a product in Windows 10 and instead rely on Edge to serve that purpose once it rolls it into the Operating System.

It doesn't mean that the IE engine goes away, because that's what they're using to render in IE mode in the new Edge. They basically swap out the browser engine using Chromium by default until you hit a site that has either an IE flag set in the headers or if explicitly requesting IE mode. I don't think this works yet in the current beta channel but it will soon. The new Edge is supposed to release to RTM in January, so we're not far off (it was announced about a year ago).

What all this means is that the ActiveX control will continue to be around - it isn't going away. All of IE is based on COM and those components are used all over Windows and Microsoft products. They can't kill it if they wanted to for breaking their own legacy products.

As to integrating the new shell - Microsoft showed a bunch of integration features for the new Chrome based browser, but it's only for C++ and .NET (and even the .NET stuff hasn't been released yet even in beta form). Chromium isn't COM based and the new API is completely different using a message based IPC style mechanism to pass message back and forth between browser and application. You basically have to proxy messages (via JSON) into the browser and then implement code on the other side to pick up those messages and do something with it. There's no direct COM based browser automation, and you sure can't pass FoxPro objects to the browser or DOM objects back from the browser.

This is a similar approach to other integrations like CEF which has .NET, ActiveX and a ton of other intergrations. I've played around with the ActiveX version of that some time ago but it was really unstable in FoxPro. I don't think there's going to be any hope of something like that running in FoxPro. The IE control is pretty wonky as it is if you're doing tight integration - anything else tends to just leak memory like crazy and eventually crash.

So - the good news is that IE ActiveX is likely to be around for a loooong time. The bad news is you can't easily do something more modern.

+++ Rick ---

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: IE ActiveX going away?
  Jeff Pace
  Rick Strahl
  Nov 6, 2019 @ 06:48am

Dude, I knew you would be the one to best explain this issue - that's why I posted it here. I really appreciate you taking the time to run it down.

Jeff

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