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Advice on how to obtain HTML from a specific instance of IE running on my desktop

Posted on 2009-07-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-17
I have a .NET 2.0 (C#) WinForms application running on windows desktop.  From this application, I need to access the HTML (as a string) in an instance of IE (V6/V7/V8?) also running on that desktop.  I have the window handle for the IE instance.

My question is - what is the best way to access (read-only) the HTML for the currently active page in IE (6/7/8?)?   I am aware of two methods:  

First would be to install the PIAREDIST.exe and use MSHTML.  This presents the problem of installing the PIAREDIST everywhere and i dont know if its supported in IE 7/Vista or IE 8?

Second would be to build an IE add-on.  This is more complicated for sure, but it may be more robust and better supported going forward.

Maybe there is another way?

I welcome all knowledgable advice on this.
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Question by:RXCTO
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Accepted Solution

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Bob Learned earned 500 total points
ID: 24785255
Try something like this:

Add a COM reference to 'Microsoft Internet Controls' to the project.
Add a .NET reference to Microsoft.mshtml to the project.

Example:
Dictionary<string, string> windowList = InternetExplorerWindows.GetWindows()

Key = "URL", and Value = "HTML"
// Add a COM reference to 'Microsoft Internet Controls' to the project. 
// Add a .NET reference to Microsoft.mshtml to the project. 
 
// NOTE: 
// Don't add an Imports mshtml if you want your Intellisense to work. 
 
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using SHDocVw;
 
public class InternetExplorerWindows
{
 
    public static Dictionary<string, string> GetWindows()
    {
        Dictionary<string, string> list = new Dictionary<string, string>();
        foreach (InternetExplorer window in new ShellWindows())
        {
 
            // Skip Windows Explorer instances, since the Document type is IShellFolderViewDual2. 
            if (window.Document is mshtml.HTMLDocument)
            {
                list.Add(window.LocationURL, ((mshtml.HTMLDocument)window.Document).body.innerHTML);
            }
        }
        return list;
    }
 
    public static Dictionary<string, string> GetIFrameHTML(string frameID)
    {
        Dictionary<string, string> list = new Dictionary<string, string>();
        foreach (InternetExplorer window in new ShellWindows())
        {
 
            // Skip Windows Explorer instances, since the Document type is IShellFolderViewDual2. 
            if (window.Document is mshtml.HTMLDocument)
            {
                mshtml.HTMLDocument doc = (mshtml.HTMLDocument)window.Document;
                if (doc.getElementById(frameID) != null)
                {
                    mshtml.HTMLIFrame frame = (mshtml.HTMLIFrame)doc.getElementById(frameID);
                    mshtml.HTMLWindow2 window2 = (mshtml.HTMLWindow2)frame.contentWindow;
                    mshtml.IHTMLDocument2 windowDocument = (mshtml.IHTMLDocument2)window2.document;
                    list.Add(window.LocationName, windowDocument.body.outerHTML);
                }
            }
        }
        return list;
    }
 
}

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