I would like to create an application that kicks off the IE Browser at the desktop and fills in the URL for the browser. Where can I find information about doing this?
Lets focus on the windows environment since this is the only environment the Internet Explorer is available for.
The problem of launching the Internet Explorer from an application can be seen actually two fold, some users want to start Internet Explorer while other prefer their web browser, being Netscape, Motif or other. This does not simplify the problem. Normally the Windows operating system looks in the registry to find out what browser is the default browser for the user. This is the assignment of the htm or html extension as registered by the user during setup of the system or installing the web browser program. Microsoft did a good job in integrating the Web browser in the Windows environment, if you start the Internet Explorer application and fill in the Web address the Web page will show up, however it is not always easy to start the Internet Explorer from an application. Normally in all circumstances the environment variable PATH will show the path to the Windows directory and the simple command:
will bring up the Internet Explorer with the HAHT main site being displayed. It depends on the application how the command shell in Windows can be accessed, from a scripting language the command can normally be used right away, from a C or C++ environment you have to tell Windows to execute a function (WinExec with appropriate arguments would be sufficient), other programming languages have their own specifics but it goes beyond this answer to list them all.
The above solution provides a very simple and static way to start a program and the trick is more how to make this more flexibel and give an argument to the application to start. In a simple batch file this would be:
as line in the batch file and the file can than be called using the argument of the Web site to open.
From the default Windows environment it would be as easy as run: http://www.HAHT.com Windows file property key R and fill in this Web site. Other possibilities exist but all dependent on the environment/application where the Internet Explorer should be started from. Without more information this would be the two suggestions.
A good source for finding more information is: http://www.google.com, http://groups.google.com or www.searchSAP.com obviously.
Thanks go to Michiel Los, who's with HAHT Commerce Europe as Application Engineer for his input on this topic.
This was first published in July 2001